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September 12, 2005

I'm a taskmaster with those vocabulary flashcards

When I was stuck in Virginia running a failing dotcom, I would sit for hours and look over information on the web about options that just seemed out of reach -- Harvard Business School, joining the Marines, teaching English in Japan. Although I did abscond from Virginia and move to Harlem with $400 in my pocket (one couldn't say I lack a sense of risk and adventure) and no friends or prospects, for whatever reason, signing up for some kind of organized program just seemed out of reach.

I have long felt the same way about becoming a foster parent. I just think it would work really well for me, and the kid. Any foster kid in my care would do so fucking well on the SAT. And have a prodigious vocabulary!

Maybe if I sold a book, finally, I'd have the financial wherewithal and flexibility to do such a thing. But look at this guy on the foster care website! He's 25 and has five boys in his care!

Maybe this is all a reaction to the extended childhoods of people of my generation. Some fifty percent of college graduates return to live with their parents after school, and, especially in urban areas, so many people live the same lifestyle in their thirties that they lived when they were 23, and then they wonder why all their petty problems and neuroses persist. Maybe that's because when you live an adult life in which you are responsible to and for other people, all your petty bullshit comes to seem less urgent. Maybe your problem isn't a lack of serotonin or a need to find your true calling in life or the scars of not being loved enough by your mother. Maybe your problem is that excess navel-gazing is stunting.

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