Sam's Humor

These essays were written in 1995 and are still funny to this day. Enjoy them! Don't steal them!

Monday, December 05, 2005

But Mom said!

by Sam Palahnuk

Every family has a black sheep. In my family the black sheep is my brother Danny (I’ve changed his name to protect him even though he’s clearly not innocent.)

Danny was the typical bad apple sibling: he dropped out of school, he started driving before he had a license, he got parking tickets and didn’t pay them, he was having sex with beautiful promiscuous teenage babes -- in other words he did all the things the rest of us only wished we could do.

Like many juvenile delinquents, when Danny grew up he chose a career in sales. He became a successful ad salesman for a local newspaper. He soon got into expensive cars, cheap women, and also, sadly, street drugs. It appears he was snorting the money faster than he could earn it, and he was eventually forced to “disappear.”

I lost touch with Danny. The last I’d heard he had blown town under an assumed name. Honesty, I didn’t miss him much. Yes, he exposed me to many temptations, but inside I knew that my wholesome, honest, and mind-numbingly boring life was somehow “better” than his perverse, luxurious, sex-filled, fun life.

Many years passed. I became involved in a wolf sanctuary in the Seattle area called Wolf Haven. I begin flying up and volunteering my time. I still fly up a few times each year and help out feeding and caring for the magnificent wolves housed there. I had flown up, and I had just checked into my hotel when the phone rang. Yes, you guessed it, it was my brother Danny.

I had vague memories of having heard that my brother was in the Seattle area -- I think I heard it mentioned on “America’s Most Wanted”, but I’m not sure. I certainly wasn’t planning on contacting him, it had been after-all ten years since I’d heard from him. He asked if he could drive down to visit me. I welcomed the visit.

About two hours later he arrives.

Danny: “Hey, this is a lot further than you lead me to believe!”
Sam thinks: “What, no hello? No hug? Besides, I never told you how far it was. Wasn’t this trip your idea?
Danny: “This is a lot further than you said and I don’t have enough gas money to get home. I need $5 for gas to get home.”
Sam thinks: “What the hell, he’s my brother, I haven’t seen him in 10 years...”
Sam: -- hands over the $5 --

He spread a book and a binder out on the table. He showed me the book, it was one of those popular self help books. He opened the binder and it had dozens of hand written pages, the pages looked like they were straight out of Madonna’s literary masterpiece “Sex.” He explained that he had done all of the exercises in the book and now he had turned his life around.

He proceeded to tell me that he, for the first time, had a purpose in life. His new purpose was to revolutionize pubic education. “Our children are our future” he proclaimed, “and they are worth any investment necessary of our time and money.” When I heard the word “money” I instinctively clutched my wallet.

Danny: “So I’ve decided to revolutionalize public education.”
Sam: “Great. Good luck, that’s a big job.”
Danny: “And all I need to do it is $10,000.”
Sam: “Boy, that’s a lot of money. Good luck finding it”
Danny: “Just $10,000 -- for the children.”
Sam: “Yup.”
Danny: silence
Sam: silence
Danny: “Would you give me $10,000?”
Sam: “No.”
Danny: “But don’t you care about children? Our future?”
Sam: “Look. I don’t have $10,000. I don’t have enough credit to borrow $10,000. If I did have $10,000 I certainly wouldn’t give it to you! Have you ever heard of the “school board” or the “PTA?” There are all sort of organizations in place to accommodate change -- if you want to change the schools that’s how you should approach it!”
Danny: “Does this mean I don’t get the $10,000?”
Sam: “Right.”
Danny: “But Mom says you make a lot of money!”
Sam: “I do make a lot of money, and I spend a lot of money. There’s none left at the end of the month -- none for me and certainly not $10,000 for you to throw away on ‘changing the schools.’”

He then walked out the door. No hug. No “good-bye.” I haven’t seen him since.

Sometimes I look back and think optimistically that he really wanted to effect some sort of positive change. Sadly, though, its pretty clear to me that he just wanted $10,000 for himself. I’ve heard that when people get hooked on drugs they’ll do anything to get the money -- perhaps even trying to leverage an almost non-existent relationship with a brother.

Now, years later, I understand why my wholesome, honest, and mind-numbingly boring life is better than his.

Word Count: 847

Copyright 1995 Sam Palahnuk
Do not duplicate or distribute without written permission of the author.


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