my non-ambitious ambition
my father had little sayings which he mostly shared
during dinner sessions; food made him think of
"succeed or suck eggs. . ."
"the early bird gets the worm. . ."
"early to bed and early to rise makes a man (etc.). . ."
"anybody who wants to can make it in America. . ."
"God takes care of those who (etc.). . ."
I had no particular idea who he was talking
to, and personally I thought him a
crazed and stupid brute
but my mother always interspersed these
sessions with: "Henry, listen to your
at that age I didn't have any other
but as the food went down with the
the appetite and the digestion went
along with them.
it seemed to me that I had never met
another person on earth
as discouraging to my happiness
as my father.
and it appeared that I had
the same effect upon
"You are a bum," he told me, "and you'll
always be a bum!"
and I thought, if being a bum is to be the
opposite of what this son-of-a-bitch
is, then that's what I'm going to
and it's too bad he's been dead
for now he can't see
how beautifully I've succeeded