When I was 14 I was what some would consider a victim, though I beg to differ, in an incestuous yet consensual affair with my cousin who is 9 years older than me. If anyone was a victim, it was most certainly him because, while he was apparently drunk on the perfume of my blossoming young womanhood and found my shy smile and weird essays to be beguiling, I was a sweet cup of Pennyroyal Tea, even then.
My cousin lived on the east coast but would make frequent trips to La Luz to visit our aunt and uncle. Coincidentally I would go to La Luz to visit him. We got along famously in those days. He treated me like an adult, let me smoke his Camel Lights, took me on weird adventures and turned me on to cool authors like Jack Kerouac. When we were apart he would write long, spontaneous letters on paper bags and the backs of receipts, sometimes he would just send pages from his journal. I thought he was really cool. Let’s talk about Jack Kerouac.
Jack Kerouac was a literary iconoclast, the voice of the beat generation. His unedited, drug addled, rambling nonsense inspired generations of young free thinkers to travel the country by rail car composing handwritten novels on rolls of commercial grade paper toweling. Let’s face it; Kerouac is crooked and writes like a lunatic but when I was 14 now, let me tell ya, I thought he was really onto something. This explains a lot.
My cousin attended Oberlin College. Yes, the world renowned, ivy league, outrageously expensive, Oberlin College and his trip was funded entirely by the mommy and daddy scholarship. I, by comparison, learned most of what I needed to know in community college and I paid for that shit myself while working full time.
This little fling went on for a year or so and I became very adept at exploiting every type of family trust that there is. Of course everyone could see we were buddies but no one suspected anything unholy was occurring because we were related after all. Eventually though, like so many well intentioned, yet perverse, endeavors this too came to an end. My cousin decided to spend 6 months studying in London so off he goes. He still keeps in touch but not as much and obviously we’re not seeing each other. Upon returning from his 6 month fuck around hiatus, no sorry, studying – he was studying, he meets an Indian woman named Amrita. She was pure evil incarnate but as he seems to be turned on by that he went ahead and knocked her up and then they got married. Now granted, I had a boyfriend too but, making no attempt to hide my hypocrisy, I didn’t much see the humor in that.
So you might assume that the recently wed to the devil, new father, and recent graduate from Oberlin College would have some motivation to take care of his family and get something fancy, like a job. Just a job – any job…pumping gas is a job. You would assume wrong. Nope, he is not any kind of provider, or man of the house, by any stretch of the imagination. To the contrary I think he would sleep in his car most nights during the summer. It doesn’t take Amrita long to start loathing him but they carry on in mutual contempt for like 6 years until one day when I was 19 and living in Boulder City, my cousin, in an inconceivable act of fucktardation tells her about us, like everything about us, and seals his fate in my eyes forever. Amrita calls my aunt and fills her in. My aunt, who was living with my mother at the time, in turn calls me and says that if I don’t tell my mom then she will. I am shocked. This shit had been over nearly 5 years and now he throws me under the bus and leaves me there to manage the fall out between my mother and her sister whose son would be the cousin in question and all the while he is sleeping in his god damned 1982 Volkswagen Scirocco in motherfucking Bonanza, AR where he just can’t be bothered to answer his phone that his parents still pay for. I had to fly back home to straighten this shit out and that included sending my mom to a psychic medium to convince her that I was not molested in the traditional sense of the word. Not much of an option for my mom, really. She could either let her mommy hormones override reason and think of me as a victimized little girl OR she could sack up and admit that she may have hatched a demon spawn who was the mastermind behind the aforementioned “situation.” In any case, hell hath no fury like a betrayed Scorpio, and I spent the next ten years repaying him in spades for that indiscretion.
Jack Kerouac wasn’t much of a family man either. Child rearin’ wasn’t his thing and his resume had some unaccounted for time on it. He was a free spirit; traveling constantly, never putting down stakes, always doing exactly what he wanted to do, exactly when he wanted to do it. If there was something Kerouac had a handle on, it was discretionary time and he took full advantage of his days with no regard whatsoever for what the future may hold as a consequence of his cavalier lifestyle, or so it would seem. As it turned out Kerouac didn’t need to figure out how to deal with middle age because the booze got the best of him resulting in his demise at the age of 47. Somehow though, in the midst of all this free-wheelin’ jazz lifestyle he managed to publish a shit load of books that did, in fact, provide him with income and transform him into an American legend. Someway, somehow, ole’ Jack found the discipline to write books and get them published even while being incessantly intoxicated.
My cousin didn’t have a job when I was 14; he was divorced, still unemployed, and sleeping in his car when I was 19, and now I’m pretty sure he lives in a 5th wheel trailer that has been colonized by feral cats and is parked on some generous friend’s land in Bonanza. Employment comes in the way of handyman type jobs that pop up about once every three months. His parents still pay his phone bill just so he will have a phone and I bet they’d like a refund of their investment in his ivy league education. I think he does a little organic farming if you know what I mean, and you know what? It is the do-nothing drug.
I’m not gonna judge him. If he wants to piss his life away living like a middle class bum, then be it far from me to say otherwise. What I will say, however, is that he might coulda clued his parents in to his intentions before they invested a healthy six figures in his schooling and I think he should stop imposing his lifestyle on the heartstrings of people whom he knows won’t let him starve. I’ve got no explanation for the spectacular failure to launch that was my first lover but all I’m sayin’ is; even Kerouac could publish a book.