In the boomer's favorite sexual fantasy, he was a wounded marine all bandaged up in a hospital where a beautiful nurse would draw the curtains around his bed and ask if there was anything she could do to ease his pain. He would tell her and she would do it.
The boomer went to the senior prom with a tall girl. He pretended that he was drunk and having a good time. Later, they made out in her basement. When she asked him to stop, he was relieved.
The boomer got strong college recommendations. He won a scholarship to a university on the other side of the country. His parents were proud, but sad that he was going so far away.
The boomer was popular in college. He was a little shy, which made him nonthreatening to the boys and attractive to the girls. He hung out with the coolest kids. He learned about drugs.
In college, the boomer had sex for the first time. Afterward the girl told him she was married but her husband, who was a student, wouldn't mind. When he saw her again, she introduced them. Her husband seemed like a really nice guy, though he looked a little sad. The boomer felt bad for him, but he was also impressed with himself.
Having sex was the most fun the boomer had had since banging pots. Pursuing it became his preoccupation. He hoped someday he would fall in love, if love really existed; but in the meantime, sex would do just fine.
The boomer took LSD. He had a vision that he ought to act more like Jesus, but when he came down he couldn't figure out how to do it. Music, colors and food were great too.
The boomer's third best friend was his college roommate. They drank a lot, stayed up all night, and talked about love, the meaning of life, and becoming rich. One time they got stoned and ended up laughing in a tub full of bubble bath at four a.m. The boomer lost touch with his third best friend when he married a woman the boomer's wife hated.
The boomer graduated with honors. He got a good job at a large company. He rented a small walk-up apartment. A woman gave him a cat.
The cat was white with brown spots. It kept the boomer up nights purring on his pillow. The cat lived with him for eight years before it got run over by a school bus after the boomer and his family moved to the suburbs.
The boomer had a party for the people in his office. He cooked chili from a recipe he had cut off the back of a rice box. Everyone got drunk and had a good time. The boomer felt like he was some of the people on television.
Although he had many friends at work, the boomer sometimes felt lonely. He walked around the city so he could come home tired, play with the cat and go to sleep without thinking. Sometimes he had a glass or two of Scotch to help.
The boomer's first therapist told him it was not unusual to feel lonely when starting out in life. He said he could relate to the boomer's pain because he had just gone through a divorce. He asked the boomer if he liked tennis. They played a few games together. While the boomer liked his therapist, he wasn't sure he needed a tennis partner.
Excerpted from The Boomer by Marty Asher. Copyright © 2000 by Marty Asher. Excerpted by permission of Knopf. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Photo of Marty Asher Copyright © Madeline Asher
Illustrations from the CSA Archive and by Chip Kidd