The Pearl

As if I could just let it lie.

The further irony is that nothing feels exactly over. Just less hyper. Settled. Capable of accepting the natural flow. For Chrissake, he hasn’t even decided where he’s moving yet.

But it’s funny, see, because as I was cleaning up the house today I picked up the book that Parker took off the shelf last night. It went something like this: He knocked on the door, I was on the phone and waved him in, he saw that I couldn’t get off the phone immediately and went straight for the bookshelf, and from the bookshelf he pulled the book that I now need to put back in it’s place: The Pearl by John Steinbeck. My house is like a Montessori classroom – everything has it’s place. But wait a sec…

The Pearl?.

I immediately get online and search my Gmail archives, using the search terms “The Pearl.” Since Gmail is, as we all know, a godsend, it finds precisely the email I am looking for, in which a friend advised me thus:

“Are you familiar with The Pearl by John Steinbeck? Most kids have to read it in high school. Anyway, your posts are telling me that your lungs are burning, your ears are popping, and your fingers are getting all wrinkly. You’re fixated on the Parker Pearl. You’ve got to have it. It’ll be perfect – or at least it’ll be enough to save you. You know that you can’t get something for nothing and so you’re pushing yourself (and him) deeper and deeper – just a little further and you’ll get it. You’ll obtain the Pearl and your troubles will be over…Trouble is, once you’ve obtained the Parker Pearl, the troubles are just beginning. Then you’ve got to keep the Pearl, or sell the Pearl, do something with the Pearl… Before it was all simple and direct – obtain the Pearl. Now, with the Pearl in hand, it’s not so clear…”

[Thanks, SB]

Most kids have to read it in high school. Including me – except that I, the AP English student, 4.0, accepted into a good college, hating public high school, in a rebellious phase and heck, I already did a term paper on Steinbeck this year anyway – DIDN’T. That’s right, I lied. I lied on the essay tests, making up answers based on class discussions. I lied during class discussions. I lied to myself, really, and by default lied to the teacher. Skipping out on The Pearl was pretty much the exception to the rule for me – I never cheated.

Guess I know what book I’m reading next. And no, I didn’t put it back on the shelf.

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