Brooke: The Examined Life

“Everyone… excuse me. May I have your attention please? So, uh, cheers to Brooke on her graduation day. We all wish you much happiness in the future.”

The champagne has already come, but I’m too busy thinking about that Morgan Stanley consultant I screwed last weekend. He took me to a posh little French-Vietnamese place near here. Was it two blocks away? Pine Street? Maybe it was on Market… Anyway, the problem with men who make six figures in their twenties is that they normally have nothing interesting to talk about. They’re well-versed on the headlines, but their knack for detail is wasted on Excel spreadsheets and obscure research. The worst part is that the credit for that grueling exertion is gift-wrapped for the company partners, the former slaves who stuck out consulting long enough to reach a position of repute. At least Mr. Morgan Stanley talked about the genocide in Sudan. Bless the fuckworthy yuppies. And bless my father for making such an original toast.

I should stand up.

“Thank you everyone for coming. Yeah guys, I uh… have had a great time here, but I’m happy to move on.”

“What are you planning to do, Brooke?”

Thank you Grandpa for cutting straight to the chase. He had been mapping out his vocation and retirement since he was in nappies. Maybe it’s a generational thing, but a career is actually the last thing on my mind.

“Well, to tell you the truth, things have been going just swimmingly at the strip club. You should come by sometime, Pops.”

Crickets. At least my Uncle Mark laughs. Bless his quack doctor for the cheap cannabis card and his steady stream of Vicodin prescriptions.

“Brooke… that’s not entirely appropriate.” Mom whispers to avoid making a scene. She always strives to preserve the happy veneer of our family life.

I clear my throat. “I’m just joking guys. I don’t know what I wanna do.”

The slightly uncomfortable silence grips the table until Grandpa, an unshakable Republican, and my father, recently disabused of his Democratic leanings, begin to chat about the economy. My uncle pretends to understand what’s being discussed and leans thoughtfully on his hands. His eyes volley from Grandpa, to my father, and back, probably wondering what the hell an “economic stimulus package” is. He most likely knows the word “stimulate” from his vast collection of porn. Maybe that’s why he looks so interested.

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