Nonfiction | July 01, 2011
U.S. and Them, 1971
This essay is not currently available online.
My father worked in a white T-shirt, off-white overalls and construction boots that were spattered with paint and crusted with Spackle. His fingers looked like wooden spindles, whitish as if they’d been stripped and then antiqued, and no matter how he scrubbed or what he wore, my father always smelled like turpentine: kind of clean and kind of poisonous. Maria said her father was an executive at General Electric. Terri’s father worked at the New York Stock Exchange. Donna told me her dad was a corporate attorney, and I had heard enough. Corporate attorney, commodities trader, CEO: suit-and-tie occupations. With the luxury of sitting behind a desk, my classmates’ fathers might as well be wearing slippers, too. I never went out of my way to tell anyone that my father was a house painter but I never denied him or what he did for a living. Whenever someone asked me who my father worked for, I was happy to announce that he worked for himself. I took pride in the fact that my father really worked for our bread and butter.
If you are a student, faculty member, or staff member at an institution whose library subscribes to Project Muse, you can read this piece and the full archives of the Missouri Review for free. Check this list to see if your library is a Project Muse subscriber.
Want to read more?Subscribe Today
SEE THE ISSUE
May 17 2022
Facing it Sally Crossley “there will be time To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;” —T. S. Eliot The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
May 16 2022
Oranges Robin Reif We called it the Buffet of Dead Food: flaccid bacon, eggs—hard-boiled and cold—and toast so tough it scratched the roofs of our mouths. Still, the meal had
Jan 07 2022
Cover Up I did not begin my time in Jerusalem with the desire to be dangerous. I arrived in that most intoxicating, infuriating, enervating, derelict, and sad of cities with