The tale of the precocious boy
by Andrew Taggart
There’s an old story about a young boy who grows up in a farming town. Year in year out, the parents barely hang on. It’s hard work this farming life, with each year farming folk being replaced by big business. Farmers grumble and say it is what it is and get back to work.
The parents think, and everyone agrees, that their boy’s pretty sharp. Early on, they encourage him to read, to go out and get an education, urge him, when it comes time, to leave the small town for the big city. And so he does, the dutiful boy.
In the city, he learns to love higher things. With the years, he makes something of himself and later on returns home. Except home, he discovers, is a strange land, his family and neighbors speaking in tongues. The same words mean different things, different words don’t signify, and style is much more than tea cups. He doesn’t understand them or their concerns.
He hears laughing far off in the distance except it’s not far off. It’s close-up. The boy, who’s now a man, feels his lip curling up into a snide smile until he notices that the laughing seems to be coming not from the road or the field, not from the house or the table. It’s coming from his throat. He understands. They are not the strange ones.
As I said, it’s an old story. Make of it what you will.