"Saunders"

Big-wigs

"'So anyways, what do they ask!' he shrieks. 'Don't you know how much we love you here at home, and want you to succeed? As for them, the big-wigs you wrote me about, freak them big-wigs! Just do what they ask though. In your own private mind, think what you like, only do what they ask, so they like you. And in this way, you will succeed. As for the little-wigs you mentioned, just how little are they? You didn't mention that. Are they a lot littler wig than you? In that case, freak them, ignore them if they talk to you, and if they don't talk to you, go up to them and start talking to them, sort of bossing them around, you know, so they don't start thinking they're the boss of you. But if they're the same wig as you, be careful, son! Don't piss them off, don't act like you're the boss of them, but also don't bend over for some little shit who's merely the same wig as you, or else he'll assume you're a smaller wig than you really actually are. As for friends, sure, friends are great, go ahead and make friends, they're a real blessing, only try to avoid making friends with boys who are the same or lesser wig than you. Only make friends with boys who are bigger wigs than you, assuming they'll have you, which probably they won't. Because why should they? Who are you? You're a smaller wig than them. Although then again, they might be slumming, which would be good for you, you could sneak right in there." (12)

Fatherly advice in George Saunders' "Pastoralia" (In Pastoralia. London: Bloomsbury Publishing Inc, 2000).

Nothing like a little Saundersian repetition to make you think about the lineage of our language.


Also, listen to this. "I never could stomach Adams, and then one day he's standing in my kitchen in his underwear, facing in the direction of my kids' room. So I wonk him on the back of the head, and down he goes." ("Adams", published in the New Yorker 2004, read so well by Joshua Ferris here).