Volume 22, Number 3

When Calling Home to Tell Your Dad About the Good Job

Say no more food stamps, minimum credit-card payments, unfilled
prescriptions, terror in small failures (lost keys, broken glasses,
library fines). Tell him as much safety as the middle class can afford.

Don't mistake his silence for apathy. Listen: a family of five
raised on less than that, Friday and Saturday nights taxiing
drunk Michigan State students, copier commission sales
in a decade of car plants closing, food and a roof over your head.

This is not the time to say you raised his son more than he did,
babysat and prepared dinner for a family of five
as an eight-year-old, slept anywhere but his house as a teenager.

When he says congratulations, say thank you. When he adds
that maybe you'll be less liberal now that you've got money
to tax and isn't it great that his Republicans won today, don't
say your non-profit job only exists because of federal grants.

He will probably boast to his co-workers the next day, especially
to your ex-boyfriend's father, show them a photo of when you had
longer hair and a thinner face, and say something about good raising.

Tell him you earned it. Worked your ass off as their intern.
The earn is more important than the it. Say you'll come home:
Thanksgiving and Christmas. Say paid holidays and enough money
for train fare. Say enough. Say thank you. Then say it again.

—Stevie Edwards