21
Dec
11

what to expect when you’re expectorating

My son, sit down and let me talk to you; there are certain moments in a father and son’s journey that must be acknowledged, and the son becoming a man is one of them. Seeing you in the bloom of your youth, I’m reminded of -and perhaps even a little wistful for- my own younger days. I had an apartment with a couple of guys, and a pretty sweet job doing construction. Whether we were watching football on television or having the girls from across the hall over for an orgy, we ate pizza, pounded beers and smoked dank every night. Every now and then we’d overdo it, then have to take of the next day off work so we could get rid of the shakes with a couple of seven a.m. brewcephuses. Sometimes, the sanitation workers would see me rushing to get the trash out before their truck arrived, and this happened often enough that they even gave a name, “el retrasado,” to the celebration dance I would do when I accomplished this task in time. Those were exciting times for me and my roommates. As young Amish men on Rumspringa, our wild behavior was fueled by a keen though unspoken awareness that we were unlikely to ever employ that kind of irresponsible decision-making again. It occurs to me presently that those days were long ago, as shown by the fact that my eldest son is now preparing to embark upon his own time living away from home.

You may have experienced some curiosity about the outside world while growing up in our cloistered community. Your time outside will likely raise more questions on this subject than it answers, but that is the price of wisdom. When a man chooses a path, he isn’t just picking one destiny, he is forsaking all other possible destinies. Do not, however, feel envious of those many paths not chosen, for just as you might later wonder what might have been if you had accepted that offer to become a roadie for Cypress Hill, you will also come across unfortunate souls who through tragic circumstance, never had the freedom to know of alternatives. I’m proud of the man you’re becoming, and this time in the world will do you good. As you already know, life here is perhaps uniquely demanding and requires a serious commitment. Knowing what else is out there will help you decide whether to choose baptism and accept these demands for the rest of your life, and I trust that whatever you decide, you will do so with your eyes fully open.

Hold out your hand, Othniel; I want to give you something that served me well on my Rumspringa. It’s my old pager. Be careful who you give the number to, however, as not everyone you will encounter has had the same upbringing as you. Remember that learning to co-exist with others will prove invaluable long into your life, and those skills will never be tested more than they will among the English. Know when it is necessary to tuck your chain in and hide your Walkman, but remember that misunderstandings can also be avoided with diplomacy. Extend a measure of patience and mercy even to those who would drink up all the Hennessy you got on yo shelf. Surround yourself with the kinds of friends who you can trust to tell you if you’re being wack, for if your ass is a busta, 213 will regulate.

It’s a different world than where you come from, and you should get out there and experience all it has to offer by sowing your wild oats. Though the high-waisted jean shorts and Cross Colours short sleeved hoodies favored by modern women are not always ideal for corporal evaluation, they do leave a bit less to the imagination that the ankle-length solemn dresses you’re used to around here. You’ll soon learn that the world is full of girls that you will be proud to address as “mah tenderoni,” but don’t forget that sometimes what you’re looking for was here all along. Yes, I’ve seen the way you look at Stoltzfus’ girl Hannah. Indeed she comes from hearty stock; not even the most modest attire could conceal the fact that with her sturdy haunches, she looks like one of those rap guys’ girlfriends. Very well, then; your satchel is packed and you are ready to depart. I will see you upon your return, should you choose it, and I will be glad to put you back to work. Having your own bathroom for the first time will no doubt prevent your butter churning muscles from losing too much of their strength.

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