Reading “Yet Another Example of The Porousness of Certain Borders (VI)” I could not help but burst out laughing hysterically. It just brought back so many scenes of movies, books where they child always has to debate about what parent he/she wants to be with after a divorce. Such as in Catch Me If You Can, where the young protagonist has to chose his mother or his father, and throughout the entire scene he has everybody telling him that everything will be okay, he is not to blame, and no one will get hurt if he choses. But seriously, it is impossible to believe that because even a young child can see that having to chose a parent to live with is not the nicest thing you can do.
So when we get this story, of the parents actually having to flip a coin for who gets to keep their child was so bizarre to me, I found it quite amusing. You wouldn’t expect that a father and mother would have to chose which of the two keeps the child, especially with such a disdain for the child. Equalizing him to the truck out front, the child is just another possession for the parents. But when you truly think about it, isn’t the child forced to do the same? Does he not also have to pick a parent and force himself to “harden” in order to chose one. I’m sure not all cases are like that and there might be some children who have an obvious decision when having to chose a parent, but normally in a divorce you wouldn’t expect either parent to be a bad choice.
I think Wallace brings a lot of comedy into a situation that would normally be very serious. But I think the excessive seriousness here, the situation of actually treating the child as a possession equal to a car, illuminates our love of possessions. And how great this need is that caring about a truck is equally as important as caring about a child.
Something else that stood out to me was the characters’ indecisiveness. There was a debate over the divorce, the truck, the child, even about who would flip the coin, almost like they were unwilling to make any of those decisions. They seemed willing to not act and would prefer if the other had made the decision. Ideas?