Intimidating rage imperious command

You might say it was a little discordant with my family's self-image, as if we all knew goddamn well that underneath this smooth perfect new skin remained our true selves.

My father immediately began to complain about it, such was his discomfort with the fancy blacktop and the message it must be sending—constantly—to the world.

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In Aiken's grim acceptance of the world and its privations, my father saw a lesson for me. So when he'd come at me with "I could give you the Taj Mahal on a silver platter and you'd back up and shit on it," my first thought wasn't "Man, that's incredibly harsh." It was "What's the Taj Mahal?And when the sun finally came out again, we all blinked outside to discover that the fancy blacktop had buckled under the deluge, and right there in the middle was a big depression that now and forever would hold a lake. But that didn't stop us boys from deploying the same lesson in our own little orbits.From that day forward, the asphalt would be broken and uneven. When I went to school, there in my class was little Lambright, and I finally had a word to call him, too.In the great ledger of material things, my family didn't merit a mention.We had little to speak of, and as the youngest I got everything we did have last. But compared with some of the boys I went to school with, we were absolutely prosperous.

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