(This essay originally appeared in Whale Magazine. It was intended to be a series, but that didn’t come to fruition. This is the first essay in the series. Others were written and will appear here soon. – Ed.)
I could start this at my birth, but that isn’t where it really begins. So I’ll give you the short version of the early history, leaving out just enough so you can’t pretend later that you’re Freud and make an Oedipal complex where none exists, okay?
My parents got divorced when I was six, and it didn’t bother me. Honestly, there was no confusion about what was happening. It just didn’t make a whole lot of difference – my mother was going to live somewhere else, and I would see her on the weekends. No biggie. She cried, but we didn’t. It’s not that we didn’t care, it’s just that, for me at least, it was a change in living arrangements, and not really the end of anything. My mom ended up working at some English pub not far from where I was growing up, and my dad would drop me off there on Friday nights. These days, it might be considered odd, but back then no one really thought it was strange (and if they did, they never said anything to me about it). I really loved that place. I got to know all the strange and lovable characters there, and I learned a lot. I learned how to work, I learned how to throw darts, and I learned how it is that drunkards live. Not a bad education for a seven year old.
The rest of the next six years, well, I’m pretty sure they were standard issue years. You know what I mean, the kind of years where your dad marries some crazy woman who takes the house away – twice – and your brother decides to become a career alcoholic party animal who never gets his life together.
Yeah, I’d say it was a normal childhood.