The Graduate Returns (Chapter 1, part 1)

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Rule #1: 

 The Graduate must always preserve the relationships that have nurtured his or her development.


Rule #1a: 

Oh, and always leave the monkey at college. Never bring the monkey home.


Rule #1b: 

"Every man is the artisan of his own fortune." Appius Claudius Caecus


*


I took the minor in Classics to piss off the old man: Virgil, Homer, Aeschylus, four semesters of Latin—all for him.


He's a scrawny bitch in his late fifties. He's bitter as hell, but he has money and likes to remind me. He's all about me going into business so I can make a pile of money and someday rule the world like he runs his law firm; decorum, kingliness, nobility—all that aristocratic crap.


In the old days he used to pick up cases in bad neighborhoods, bring home clients, and work pro bono—now he only does corporate law. He's a prick and I hate him so I recite Virgil at the dinner table in Latin until my mom tells me to stop pestering my father.


"Dux femina facti," (A female was leader of the deed), I respond to her, and she has this look like she's about to impale me with her fork.


I love my mom, but I hate when she pulls her Queen of Camelot act. All this makes me want to smoke some serious bud, listen to some Talking Heads, and float on out of there. Where? I don't know. It doesn't matter, and it never lasts because I don't really have a place to float. Not yet.


I float anyway.


*


For the purpose of this story, think of me as someone who has always wanted to be rich. But the wealth I wanted to accumulate was of a different mint. I can't quite explain it, other than to say that wealth is something that has always been in my family—my father inherited quite a bit from my mother's side and my parents have been a pretty reasonable steward of that money, turning it into even more money—and for most of my life there has always been something depressing about this cycle.


Being rich always appealed to me, I guess, because I knew what a load of crap being poor would be, but it wasn't until sometime in high school that I started to understand the difference between me and other rich people—that was when I first started catching glimpses of Happy Days.


Happy Days?!


There was always something reasonably nonconformist about the old Fonz. Something that was a bit of an affront to the establishment. When I first picked up one of my father's issues of Forbes, I didn't know what to make of these guys with their millions, and some even billions. Honestly, most of them looked like smug assholes. Many of them struck me as frauds.


But I read and a listened. And I began to look for the difference -- between the person who dealt in true human satisfaction, real value, and the others. The vampires, the bullshit artists.


So, I returned from college, to my parents' house, I sit at dinner and try to piss off my old man with my knowledge of Latin.


" Faber est suae quisque fortunae." I say as he turns red, ready to pop like an angry, paternal balloon.


And I dream.


I dream of myself on the cover of Forbes, a big thumbs up and a smile, right next to the Fonz! 


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