He is if anything buddhist in philosophy, frequently reciting the precept “to benefit all living beings” but when he finds baby snails masticating the palm fronds he crushes them between thumb and index finger. Imagine how that feels but does he desist? No, he kills another and another.
He has sympathy for all getting evicted from their homes in Twittertown but when he hears that the man renting his father’s house in Denver is four months behind in rent, he is ready to put the man and his kids out in the street.
When his niece abandons the writing project they had begun because she felt uncomfortable writing fiction, he writes back, “What’s particularly uncomfortable about making something up? You could look at writing fiction like you look at putting on a new outfit. It’s a persona; we all have them, put them on for different occasions. The trouble comes when we get fixed on a particular one and let it rule us. Keep us imprisoned in the ‘comfort zone’.” He urges her to take risks but is somebody who night after night falls asleep in his recliner.
He like so many others partially envies but mostly resents the gray google geese that glide through the city in black buses, but if his nephew who needs a good job were one of them, that indeed would be different.
He stands on the street corner, waiting for the light to change. It’s only mid-afternoon, and he’s a free man, and suddenly he realizes it, and he sucks in a great lungful of well-being and gratitude and thinks, this is kind of it, what enlightenment must be about, this brilliant afternoon sunshine, but in sucking in the air he notices that the waistline of trousers is pressing against his belly or vice-versa. He has put on weight, and decides no, he can’t have that burrito he was looking forward to, and life is really a series of deprivations.