It wasn’t easy being the lover of such an intellectual powerhouse. Sometimes I’d come in from a sock-hop or cross-country meet and she’d have that look in her eyes, that look that said she was about to give me a two-hour lecture on the power-grabbers and then throw me down on the couch and rape me until it became consensual. And I’d be like, “Ayn, look, I’d love to but I have Algebra—” at which time, because I’d rebuffed her, she’d correct my pronunciation of her name. She was always changing the way it was pronounced. Sometimes it rhymed with “line,” sometimes it was plain old “Ann,” sometimes it was “Ion,” and once, during a confusing period, she briefly became “Randy.” (That I didn’t get. But I knew better than to challenge her. You could get de-Objectified very quickly in those days.) Then she would rip the Algebra book from my hands and throw me across some Frank Lloyd Wright-looking piece of furniture, and we would take from each other the pleasure that is a human being’s right, the unapologetic gratification of one’s selfish, noble urges, a pleasure second only to the pleasure of recognizing that all your life you’d been fed a steady diet of lies from the wreckers who would reduce man to a mere beast sucking at the teat, thereby robbing him of the power of the work of his hands.
George Saunders in the New Yorker. I don't usually read the fiction or humor pieces in each week's New Yorker, but when I do I read George Saunders.
I just assume everyone who reads my blog reads everything by Saunders, but if you haven't picked up any of his stuff, start with CivilWarLand in Bad Decline. It's in my top 5 most life-changing short story collections.