When I was young I learned about life from watching television. I thought when I grew up I would have an affair with my secretary. This is the grown-up thing to do. So much a part of socially accepted society, it becomes a popular in-joke around the office and at home. Almost always this results in a positive audience response.
I assume this situation is because something is lacking at home. Though on the surface it is hard to say what. It is a loving family, though my children don’t respect me, always trying to get the last word; and my wife seems to like nothing better than to milk any minor conflict for comedic purposes. Whenever I hurt myself, falling over an ottoman or walking into a glass door, people laugh. I smile to hide my hurt. Embarrassed and ashamed.
My affair becomes a running gag. This is why I keep bringing it up, and when I do people take a drink. A matter of small talk which comes up again and again. But I blame this on the fact that it is socially acceptable to say any outrageous thing these days, as long as the audience approves, and thus this behavior is reinforced through a complex social conditioning. This is why my kids crack wise. This is why no one respects me. This is why I am a laughing stock. Held up to ridicule. Robbed of my dignity.
And even my secretary. Always pestering me about my wife. When will I leave her? Don’t I know my wife doesn’t respect me? My children mock me behind my back, and worse? But now she sounds just like my wife.
And even my wife. Always pestering me about my secretary. When will I leave her? Don’t I know my secretary doesn’t respect me? My subordinates mock me behind my back, and worse? But now she sounds just like my secretary. Like bringing work home with you. So tiring.
And maybe it’s because we have separate beds. I never understood this. At night I read the latest issue of Playboy while she studies up on witchcraft and we make smalltalk about the Mars probe. That’s as intimate as we get. And I feel lucky when I can get it.
My secretary I never get out of her nightgown. And it is often the same one. There is no color to it, maybe it is different, but I only experience color in my dreams. Like anyone.
My best friend is named Harry and he is a pilot. He attracts women like a magnet. I go out drinking with him and he always makes me look weak. It’s like he has this whole other existence which I suspect is better than mine and in which I am a bit player. Someone they laugh about while in the cockpit.
It’s that laughter which rings in my ears. I know they are laughing at me. The situations I get into and fail to get into. Even the circumstance. The situational setup. Existence itself. A misunderstanding. An artifice.
After a few years, things will become routine. One can get used to anything. They say I am behind the times. A social artifact. Little do they know I always was. I know what I am. A social artifact. This is when Harry invites me to a beach to “Jump the shark.” There is a falling off of quality after that. The end will finally come, long after I long for it. I will be cancelled. People will say, is that still a thing? No. Please, change the channel. I beg you.