That these are all lies (except that part about the neighborhood kid) is not even my point. My point is this: Hardly anything makes Lary mad anymore. I've known him 11 years, and the few times he got angry I really relish in my memory, like when I showed up at his house unannounced and he shot at me.
He discounts my version, saying that if he had shot at me I'd be dead, and that he purposefully aimed for the flower bed 4 feet to my left. But you can't deny that he was mad! And all because of his precious windows. But if he didn't live in a decrepit stone castle with no doorbell I wouldn't have had to throw dirt clods at his windows to alert him to my presence. And is it my fault his property is littered with little bricks disguised as dirt clods? I say no.
But lately Lary has been so damn serene. It's maddening. In my slander campaign I suggest we all gather the villagers, grab some torches and banish him to the bell tower. But more than one person has pointed out that Lary pretty much already lives in a bell tower. Besides, they like Lary this way. At his last cocktail party he made martinis with Russian blood orange-flavored vodka. We all sat around the fountain in his courtyard under the red-pepper pin lights and sipped those martinis as if we were civilized.
This is not what I signed up for. Civilization. You don't make differences in the world when you're content with your life, do you? I remember when I was in college I applied to the Peace Corps because I wanted to spend a year in a mud hut plucking ticks out of my armpits in between making meaningful contributions to the world with acts like, I don't know, outfitting all the tribal toilets with herbal-scented urinal cakes or something. But they rejected me because I guess I
didn't seem earnest enough. That part about introducing "The Jerry Springer Show" to remote cultures was just a joke, I tell you.
Anyway, it just goes to show that the gift of anger is wasted on the young. It's too unfocused. It just encompasses everything, like I used to be angry at oppressive regimes. I still don't think they're a good idea, but at least I'm not storming around impotently pontificating with my friends over the injustice in the world. Instead I expend my anger productively, like when I silently fume at dormant bank tellers who take phone calls in the middle of my transactions when, excuse me, all I did was take the trouble to actually be there in person. But they are oppressing me, you see? They hate their jobs and have no control over their lives and as an antidote they decide to control mine for the next 10 minutes. Get it? So there I am, a hostage! And that ANGERS me. So when she finally gets off the phone I get to tell her, "Are you sure you wouldn't be better suited for a job as a crack whore?"
I didn't actually say those exact words -- I
didn't actually say anything -- but I was thinking them and I bet she could tell. You see how it behooves us to focus our anger like that? She probably felt really bad about what I was thinking and later left her job to pursue her dream to open a mail-order gift basket business or something. Right there I've improved the world a little. So when I see Lary all serene lately I feel it's my duty to stoke the little flame of fury in his soul so he doesn't just curl up in a big ball of bliss and die with a smile on his face. It's my duty as his friend. He would do the same for me.
In fact, when I was pregnant with Mae and in danger of being permanently happy, he suggested I sniff paint fumes so she could be born with all the organs on the outside of her body. "That way we could sell her for parts," he said. That really pissed me off, and the energy from that anger was expended in all kind of productive ways, like decorating the nursery with my velvet-art collection. So, presently, I can see that peace is looming in Lary's life, so the least I could do as his good friend is get back to spreading that rumor about how he keeps murdered hookers in his basement.
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