Friday, May 11, 2007


(PICTURE: The author finally finds a room somewhere with one enormous chair and no worries about cold night air.)

All I want is a room somewhere,

Far away from the cold night air,

With one enormous chair,

Aow, wouldn't it be loverly?

Those lyrics from My Fair Lady hit my ambitions as a youth on the nose. They are an amazingly accurate description of the lowest class English. My family, having come to the US illegally from Birmingham England, is perfectly described in those lyrics. But we had a lot of company in America. The rednecks, so accurately portrayed by Jeff Foxworthy, come from the same roots, as do the hill billies of Al Capp. Perhaps half the population of the US comes from lower class English stock.

I can relate to Foxworthy’s one liners about his relatives. Almost all my relatives have abandoned cars in front of their houses. My brother, for years, kept a used commode on the porch alongside his front door. My relatives think there are only two kinds of wine: sweet and sour. When a kid visits they only want to know one thing: does he get up early in the morning? Early rising kids are pariahs.

So when I was a kid it was in my blood to only want a room somewhere with one enormous chair. The only problem was I would have to work for that room and chair. And so I did. My basic ambition actually never changed but there was one problem I hadn’t counted on. I had a low threshold of boredom. That has plagued me throughout my life.

I’ll tell how I coped later.


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