Read an Excerpt:
God's Only Mistake:
Becoming a Man in My Father's Eyes
The phone call came on the night before Halloween. It was the call that everyone with elderly parents dreads: “Drop everything. We need you to come here – now.”
I didn’t know whether I was going to puke, pass out or crap myself – probably all three and set some kind of world record for being the most nervous guy on the planet. I was ready to spiral off into yet another of my breakdowns, giving me an excuse to run away. But it was no use. For once in my life I was doomed simply because I managed to stay calm, instead of the other way around, which is what usually happened. This time I could not run away.
There I was, “Mr. Anxiety,” my parents’ obsessive-compulsive, agoraphobic, first-born – the guy who had trouble taking two steps out of his front door without launching into a full-blown panic attack – now with the fate of my family resting squarely on my shoulders. And it was up to me to succeed because everybody was depending on me.
Everybody is in big trouble...
...My parents lived in Moose Lick, Maine, a secluded portion of the state where people camped and hunted or ran small businesses out of their houses. Their closest neighbor was about a half mile away, and my mother did not drive. There was no such thing as mass transit. This was the land of the moose, the deer, the bear and the black fly. You couldn’t get a taxicab to their house without a wilderness guide and troop of explorer scouts to lead the way. I believe they have a term for this, and it is called “isolation.” This was the territory that spawned horror movies.
The original house looked remarkably like the one in the TV show “Green Acres.” It was a rundown, three-room farmhouse built around the time of the Civil War. Only two of the three rooms were usable: a kitchen with a large picnic table in the middle, and the bedroom where everyone slept. The only things remotely modern about the place were a small refrigerator and stove, which ran off propane that was delivered to the house – when they could find the house. There was no bathroom, no running water, no electricity. Nothing. And yet, my father kept saying over and over that “This is the way life should be.” We thought he was insane.
...to be continued