Monday, March 1, 2010

The Same River Twice (9-53)

This story so far is pretty entertaining. It has a lot of serious parts, some disturbing parts, but its also got some comedy mixed in. The prologue just seems to be some descriptive imagery, or maybe just some of the author's thoughts and outlook on life. I'm not too sure about what it has to do with the story, but maybe it will become clearer later on. The first and third chapters are about a man living in Iowa who is trying to marry a woman named Rita. He eventually "tricks" her into marrying him as he calls it, asking her at a moment when she is weak. She agrees and they get married and life goes on. Eventually she wants to start having children, but he is scared for some reason. He doesn't want to have them yet and denies her for a while. Later he finally sees that if he is not willing to have children with her, he will have to let her go. Apparently he doesn't want to do that so he agrees to start trying to have a kid with her. Then he describes several ways he tried to become familiar with conception, and I thought it was pretty funny that a grown man could be so clueless to how it all worked. I guess he didn't have sex ed in school. Eventually Rita does get pregnant, and so the story skips ahead to a few months into the pregnancy. The part that we read ends with him struggling with this enormous fear of fatherhood, and fighting the urge to run from it all.

The second story is the more entertaining of the two, in my opinion. It is about a teenager who grew up in a tiny town in the mountains of Kentucky. He drops out of high school, I think, and tries to join the army. But the army rejects him because he has too much albumin in his urine. I wasn't sure what albumin was so I looked it up. Albumin is a type of water soluble protein. When they test for albumin levels, they are testing for liver disease among other things, but albumin in his urine meant he had a kidney disease because his kidneys could not stop the albumin from leaking into his urine from his blood. So he couldn't get into any branch of the military and he was later rejected from the peace corps, the park rangers, and he couldn't be a fireman or a policeman. So his last resort was college. I thought this was funny because it is the exact opposite of what would happen today. Most of the people I know that went into the military were using it as a last resort after they had already failed at college. I would think college would be the first choice these days, and the rest of the stuff he tried would come after. He couldn't stomach college either though, and quit after 2 years. So he decided to run off to New York to become an actor, where long story short, he struggled to adapt and fit in until he met this girl named Jahi from Brooklyn who was basically crazy and did pretty much whatever she wanted. They had some adventures together, both sexual and not, and through her he realized that he wanted more to be a writer or a painter instead of an actor. Then there was this incident when they went horseback riding. He was so happy that he was finally doing something he was used to that he coerced his horse into a full run. Apparently a kid tried to do the same thing, or maybe the kid's horse got spooked and the kid ended up falling off and smacking his head against a streetlight. It didn't say whether or not he died, but I get the feeling he did. Apparently the guy couldn't handle that so he left Jahi and never saw her again. He left New York shortly after because he broke his leg playing football with some random guys, and just like that the New York adventure was over as quickly as it began.

He went back home and as soon as his leg healed he was off again, moving from place to place until he eventually settled for a while in Minneapolis. He lived with a chippewa named Marduk and two twin brothers from Ecuador named Luis and Javier. With the twins, he became involved in a life of organized crime, though it was mostly small time stuff. He lives this life out for a while until Javier and Luis try to get him to marry their cousin. So naturally he fixes the two twins up with some hookers, fixes Marduk up with the twin's aunt who was an Ecuadorian hooker, goes and has sex with the cousin and then leaves town forever. And that's where the story ends.

The guy from Kentucky seems to have a thing for Daniel Boone. He constantly compares himself to him throughout the Minneapolis part of his story. My thoughts about this story were pretty simple really. The life of a nomad would suck. And I would never want it like the guy from Kentucky had it. There were several parts that I found slightly disturbing, yet awkwardly funny from this story, such as the seductive transvestite on page 26 and his first night with Jahi on pages 28 and 29. The funniest part was all the guy's obsessions with Marduk's "lingam" as they called it from page 46 to 48. That's pretty sad that the only woman he could get with was a old Ecuadorian hooker because she was the only woman who wasn't scared of the thing. That's a curse more than it is a gift I think. I am a little confused because I know this book is supposed to be a memoir, so I figured it would all be one continuous story. Instead there are two different stories going on about two seemingly different people. I suppose they could be the same person in the end, but it doesn't really seem like they are. But the guy from the first story doesn't talk about his past too much, so maybe they are the same guy. I'm looking forward to finding out. This seems like a decent read.

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