Walkabout by Jeffrey Eugenides

The list of authors that I must read is endless; whenever I cross one off my list with pride, two more are added. Jeffrey Eugenides is the author of “The Virgin Suicides” (superbly adapted by Sofia Coppola) and the Pulitzer-winning “Middlesex.”

“Walkabout” is an essay from last year’s “Summer Movie” series in The New Yorker. It’s about a crucial time in his adolescent life, straddling the cusp between boy and man, where an awkward evening with his mother pushed him one step further into adulthood.

“I was older than I’d been two hours earlier. I was ready to get out of the car right then and there. I could wander into the woods of Belle Isle, go back over the bridge, past the Chrysler factory, all the way downtown. Over to Canada, even. Or south to Toledo. Or at least to college someday. Wherever my walkabout would take me.”

Many of us have cringe inducing movie-with-my-mother stories. Mine isn’t really cringe-worthy, but it does a good job describing my mother. We watched “American Pie.” During one scene, she leaned over to me and asked, “What’s a MILF?” I paused and whispered the explanation. And she let out a yelp of laughter just as the rest of the theater had quieted down.

Do any of you have a movie-with-my-mother story?

Praystation by Todd Levin

I ran across this great essay on The Morning News written by Todd Levin. It’s about the seedy underworld of video game modding in the mid-90’s. As a former game-modder and a bootlegger by heritage, I could definitely relate. Here’s an excerpt:

“Practically overnight I went from video game agnostic to lowlife junkie—creeping around Chinatown with a wad of cash and a Sony PlayStation hidden inside a backpack, looking for someone to perform back-alley surgery on my console. Steve, ever the enabler, furnished me with a hand-drawn map of clandestine bootlegging storefronts, denoting things like “walk up three flights, past the Chinese-language driving school,” “Gundam action figure window display,” and “if you see a guy selling dried eel, you’ve gone too far.”

While reading this I had a revelation: there is going to be an entire generation of kids raised by guys just like Todd Levin and myself…

“So your saying there’s a chance. Yes!”