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Dear Dad,

My greetings to you this morning reflect the appreciation I have for you. I know I have already told you recently that I am grateful for all of the time we spent reading books together. All the time we spent together building furniture, playing guitar and drinking beer was really great too, don't get me wrong. However, I speak in a fit of nostalgia as I read a conversation two key players in a story are having over situation in which they have found themselves. It seems as though the government in this fictional world is attempting to suppress the wealth of the entrepreneur in order to distribute that wealth in a determinedly fair and equal manner for all citizens. Since it is you that I have to thank specifically for this addition to my personal library I felt compelled to write to you to share some of my thoughts which happen to manifest, fittingly, from the book and from my personal experiences simultaneously. The couple in dialogue are discussing the effects of heavy interference from government officials when one character begins to explain the terms of servitude. He declares that if one chooses to serve man as one would serve a god, such would explain how any constitutional republic could ever allow the government to interfere so blatantly without right or permission, then one must be prepared for the consequence of reproach. I think back to growing up with my mom and her Because I Said So mentality and I want to hang my head in shame because I recognize that she is lucky to comprehend subject matter written much beyond an eighth grade reading level. I have had many opportunities in my life to test this theory and have so far concluded that my own mother is incapable of wanting or absorbing higher education. I feel it necessary at this point to indulge you with a discussion I had recently with my girlfriend. I have always written out my thoughts in note, quote and journal form. From time to time I stumble upon some collection of thoughts or notes from recreational research and I will reflect upon them. I use this opportunity of an audience in my girlfriend to read some of these thoughts out loud. I ended up

reading notes I drafted from the Bible during a time in my life when it felt like my world was ending. The opinion was that I sounded mad at God. The fact that I have taken to publicly mocking my mother's ignorance on a social network online seems to indicate that I have gone from one extreme to another. Up to the point where I was writing those notes I was actively researching the Bible from a technical and popular level. I relied on the New International Version and the King James editions of the Bible as well as literature from Rick Warren and Sam Harris. Since my mom was the driving influence behind my religious experiences in my formative years I used her as my diving rod. Dad, it turns out that to this day my mom has never read the Bible. The only parts of the Bible she has ever learned are a product of years of sermons recited ad nauseum from the same passages meant to reinforce the illusion of some grand moral principle or precept by which all humans should strive to appear to abide. Even when I give her the benefit of the doubt and reference something in the Bible which she she may be moderately familiar with she seems confused and becomes angry when I explain the significance and ultimate statement in the passage. She appears very much to avoid absolute terms in favor of vague concepts and so I get nowhere at this point and attempt to move on. I interrupt my train of thought to note that it seems as though I was yelling at God for giving me tears and hurt and angry feelings during specific periods of my life. Since my mom seemed too dumb to comprehend my frustration I chose to take it out on a father. Since I love and respect my biological father I chose to lash out at my spiritual father. I grew up ashamed of the shame I felt for my mother and I suppose my form of self-flagellation was in my suppression of hope. I have a few really neat natural abilities. I know because in my teen years I spent all of my time locked inside my own bedroom in an attempt to avoid the sisters I had who showed no allegiance to any one person or thing but for the sentiment that survival comes at the cost of trust. That my mom seemed bitter toward, not just you, the husband she divorced and fled, but also toward all creatures bearing the revolting Y-chromosome impacted my outlook on society as a body of

citizens which needed to be avoided out of self-preservation. It was easier for me to kill time seeing if I could draw things I was looking at in my room than it was in trying to get along with a house full of females set on the intention of abusing men. I looked upon others outside of the house as equally dangerous and as easily avoidable. Whenever I would find myself out of the privacy of my room I learned that the best method for avoiding confrontation was acquiescence. I would stay up late at night and listen to music on my earphones and I would clean the kitchen. Oh sure, it was not my chore but I was also killing time waiting for a late night classic television line up to air. It seems as though I have always looked for something which I deem to be valuable in compensation for the effort I put forth for others. Selfcompensation seemed a necessary goal as I learned that I was always acting in the home at personal cost for the greater good of the family. A consequence of this mentality, I have noticed, is a sense of servitude that reduces the level of esteem one is ultimately capable of experiencing. An example of this consequence unfolded over this past weekend as my mom posed a hypothetical situation on a social network wherein a homeless man with arthritis needs a ride and I am on my bicycle. I know what you will say to this from the start and you will be right. I should not have even taken the bait on this one but for some reason I was eager to pounce on the opportunity to allow her to post her ridiculous, undeserved arrogance and embarrassing ignorance publicly. My girlfriend has been telling me to stop taking her bait because it is just not relevant or good for my physical and mental health. Instead of listening to her I choose to open my mind and proceed to beat it repeatedly with a metaphoric claw hammer. The conversation begins when I declare that I would tell the guy to hop on my handlebars so that I may give him a ride. This answer was not entirely true as in real life I would have pointed him to the nearest bus stop and wished him luck so that I may expedite my own journey while offering him some level of guidance on his own. I suppose my answer was meant to imply that the question seemed juvenile not only because she misspells those words which she does not wrongly hyphenate or confuse

in context but also because it seems way out of the realm of probable. Her initial response indicated that my answer was morally wrong because I was selfish for keeping my bicycle for myself. When I say that she indicated her meaning I mean that she is fluent in politicalese in that she can tell you in no specific terms that she does not feel any specific way on the issue even though vague references to other concepts and philosophies are used to elicit a general, intended response. In debate I provide a parable Jesus told regarding ten virgins awaiting some pre-television version of the Bachelor who was likely to show up anytime between tonight and next week. Five virgins bring only their lanterns and eventually try to beg off some of the oil of the five virgins who seemed to have some basic history in scouting. I trust that you have kept in mind that Jesus was illustrating in this parable the importance of always being prepared. My mom has so far been unable to do more than set the scene and describe the characters. The five prepared virgins send the five unprepared virgins on their way to fend for themselves because they do not know when the lucky guy is going to show up and they don't want to miss his arrival- hence their attention to detail in packing for a potentially long period away from home. The five who leave to acquire forgotten supplies miss out as the dude shows up while they are gone and the window of opportunity for spending time with him was limited. I try to explain to my mom that this parable was similar to her hypothetical scenario in that I should not feel obligated to give some stranger anything for any reason. A sudden back story develops on the man in her scenario and apparently this man is having a worse life than I could have imagined. Also, it is noted that apparently my mom was homeless and living off of cheap noodles for a period in her life. She never went into detail to say when and I did not want to stray from topic. She actually managed to misspell the acronym PTSD but I ignored spell-checking her in order to stay on topic. I told her that Jesus himself declared that I should enjoy for myself the fruits of preparation and use of the things I have. She accused me in the conversation thread of mocking her

religion and holding on to hate. I stopped replying to her, in part, because the new college semester has started and I have eighteen credits I care more to pursue than the goal of engaging in a rational conversation I will never have with my mom. Although I tried to explain to her that I was not mocking her Bible, and that I was, in fact, attempting to engage in philosophical discourse on the significance of a parable celebrating virgin women as property meant to be valuated like an automobile on a dealership lot, she refused to consider the point and chose the last word instead to be something partly false, partly true, and grammatically destroyed. I had to admit to the spiritual anger I was pouring out in the conversation thread. Her pride refuses her the luxury of considering that emotions such as shame and anger could ever be directed at her as a direct consequence of her own action and so I have to concede that she will always assume I hate God. She also balks every time I speak fondly of the time I have spent with the biological father I love and respect in spite of militaristic training I had in my youth encouraging me to consider otherwise. I conclude with a partially formulated thesis on dialogue in the novel you sent me wherein it is observed that serving God, at least, affords a Caesar while serving humankind is less liberal - an overbearing government will not make room for such a powerful figure as a successful entrepreneur to share relevance or reverence on any level. At this point I pause to consider the ramifications of the first three Commandments of the Bible and I picture that god and an oppressive government body and both I determine to be offensive because both dare to declare to me that it is relevant and necessary for me to massage any ego for any reason. To wit, you are my father, the man who gave me fifty percent of the opportunity to actualize in human form. You also taught me how to play guitar. I never would anticipate a conversation wherein you declare to me that I Shalt Not Have any other Guitar Teachers Before You. Arguments in this vein tend to get shot down as grossly exaggerated and short of accurate. At this point you can see where I keep chasing a trail of breadcrumbs left by a mind equivalent to that possessed of a small child high on cupcakes. I give up the argument in frustration leaving my girlfriend to question what I hope to accomplish from the effort.

I suppose in answer to the question of what I think of the book you sent me I am perplexed at the thought that my mother could be carrying on a negative tradition of non-thought that was mocked seventy years ago in a story too complex for her to comprehend, as well as possessing a blind devotion to a spiritual concept which she can only express when it is summed up weekly on a half sheet Sunday sermon flyer. I have worried that I come off sounding as foolish as her because she has no clue of her own ignorance because of the swollen pride she feels she deserves and I may not be recognizing the distance between the tree and the place where the apple fell. When I think of the way in which I communicate with my mother I wonder if my only hope is that I am not mocking that which I do not like in myself, but even then I am forced to question why I would feel put upon to deride anyone for any reason since I want my silent actions taken to achieve personal goals to be the voice and reflection of my character. I am motivated by the balancing fact that my father can both comprehend and appreciate the significance of a story's subject matter in spite of potential conflicting opinions which may exist. This is not license to mock the less educated and I could only imagine disgracing my father's efforts in doing so. I am grateful that my father has given of himself the time it takes to lead a horse to water and I feel obligated to reflect my gratitude in academic terms since they seem more appropriate than a gift card. Accordingly, I continue to read, and to learn and to formulate opinions and questions in hope of engaging in debate for the sake of deeper understanding with people worthy of being called peers. I do not feel I can ever call my mom an academic peer but I have come to understand that I don't have to and that the very pursuit becomes as obscene as the attempt to grab hold of a stream of water.

Thank you for giving me confidence and for always encouraging me to think,

Your Son