Archive for June, 2010

Trolling Griffith: A Children’s Book About Polygamy

June 1, 2010

The first of a series – newspaper articles designed to test my hometown’s old-fashioned thinking and quickness to anger. There’s a recurring joke among the young, and the Italians who drop by Griffith to visit their relatives. No one has told the city it’s no longer 1952. Let’s experiment with this.

Expect a bitter, tear-soaked Letters Page flamewar about whether you pour milk before or after the coffee soon.

Below is my most acclaimed, recurring drunken conversation. Explained sober, it loses passion and becomes politically correct. So I wrote this what-if hung over on a friend’s floor.

I wanted to see what happens when meaningful, fumbling alco-talk about polygamy appears in a newspaper. In children’s book format.

"Curse you, Matthews."

This is John. He loves his parents, because they look after him. They love John, just because they can.

Along comes Trevor. He is John’s brother. When they grew up, they stopped fighting. They love each other.

Laura is beside Trevor. She is his wife, and she loves Trevor in grown-up ways. She and John love each other this way too. It’s a secret. Trevor would feel upset if he knew, so Laura hates herself.

Many grown-ups feel this way because they’re afraid. They believe that if someone they care about loves someone else, they will be forgotten. But real love never runs out. So many grown-ups have this fear, they all think only one adult can show them adult love.

When someone is scared of something that’s not there, it’s called a phobia.

Grown-ups only forget adult feelings when they stop hurting. When someone enjoys being hurt in certain ways, it’s called masochism. Everyone who’s been in love is a masochist. It feels wonderful.

My future murderers, watching over the street as if it were still an orange grove.

Grown-ups make such big words because they think too much, and scare themselves. One day, Laura crashed her car. The worst feelings came before she hit a big tree. She learned that we can only be afraid of something that’s not happening to us right now.

Both Trevor and John were very worried. They visited her in hospital. The worst feelings came before they saw her hurt. They learned that we can only be afraid of things we can’t control.

Trevor and Laura knew now, if they tried to control each other and hide secrets, they would always be afraid.

Laura told Trevor about her and John. He wasn’t too hurt. A whole race used to share wives between brothers. They were called Huns.

Now they’re all allowed to love each other, though Laura always sleeps beside Trevor. They don’t want too many friends around, so they can care for all of them. Many people live this way. Many are afraid of it too.

Who do you care about?