The Drinking Game (So Far):
1.I agree with something Doug says
2. Doug tells an outrageous story that sounds incredibly unrealistic
3. When the timeline jumps around in ways that don’t make sense
4. Doug runs away from home
5. Doug gets dragged back or comes back of his own accord
6. Doug (thinks he’s) messing with the occult.
7. Doug shoehorns in paragraphs of theological stuff
Crime Doesn’t Pay
The summer after going to the Free School, Doug tries to live with his dad. This doesn’t work out so well because he is used to unrestrained freedom. At least, that’s his story. I wonder if it’s the entire truth? I’m not going to speculate too much on Doug’s father, because he’s not alive to defend himself, but I wonder how easy his dad was to get along with?
In any case, Doug runs away (drink!) and hitchhikes with a friend. He and his friend get jobs, and Doug says they are doing pretty well. He and his friends are working as security guards, and he has a fake ID that allows him to buy alcohol. He tells us the drinking age is 18, and I am jealous.
Doug finds out that his friend is also into Burglary, so he gets into it to. He stole cars, TVs, and “anything we could convert into cash.” This is in the big bad city of Boston.
One day, someone decides to teach Doug about Karma. Doug laughs, and steals a TV. A little bit later, someone breaks into his “flophouse” apartment and steals his TV. Doug began to notice that whenever he stole something, someone else would steal something similar from him. Eventually he found out it was his good buddy Scott, who’d gotten him into burglary in the first place.
Doug is freaked out by the coincidence and decides Karma is a Thing after all.
What really convinced him was a coincidence wherein Doug stole a box of whole wheat pancake mix for $1.19
I drank, smoked, and did pot, but I insisted on eating whole wheat because that was healthful!
I… don’t actually find this as inconsistent as it sounds? Moderate drinking and smoking pot have been shown to have health benefits. I’m not sure about cigarettes though. My guess is that those things have no health benefits whatsoever.
In any case, I find myself agreeing with Doug on the whole wheat pancakes, though I disagree that marijuana is, in and of itself, a bad thing.
When Doug gets home, he finds that someone has stolen a jar of Tang that cost, gasp, $1.19!
Today, Krusteaz whole wheat pancake mix costs $7.84. A jar of tang costs $7.68. That’s pretty close, so I totally think it’s reasonable that they cost the exact same amount back in 1960/70ish. It all sounds like a complete coincidence to me.
I can’t help but feel jealous of those prices. $1.19 for whole wheat pancakes!
Well, that was an interesting diversion.
For the first time in my life, I really believed in my heart that there was a god!
In other words, Doug is saying that he believes atheists exist, because apparently he used to be one of them. I mean, if this is his first time believing “in his heart that there was a god,” surely there must have been a time when he didn’t believe? Remember that the next time Dougles says that atheists don’t really exist.
Also, If Doug wanted to seriously experiment, he’d set up a set of thefts and then note carefully what happened after each one. “Let’s see, I stole a gift card worth $0.47. I will leave 80 pennies out on my desk and see how many disappear.”
Or something similarly creative. I wouldn’t just take the random coincidences as proof. Like Gideon, I’d be testing the sheep’s wool, the ground around the sheep’s wool, and the sheep’s wool again.
His friend, Brad, starts inviting him to meetings. Doug doesn’t say what kind of meetings these are, just
I didn’t understand most of what I heard, but I usually came home with more books and less money (emphasis mine).
So, in other words, he was going to revelation seminars held by the local Adventist church.
One day, Doug sees “a black* pimp” beating up one of his girls. Doug closes the door, returns to his newspaper, and thinks, “I hope he doesn’t kill her.”
We were just told a few chapters back how Doug had a military background and was good at fighting. We were also told he never lost a match. Why is he not trying to help the poor girl? I’d cut him some slack if there was some reason his interference would just make things worse (it might) and if he told us that he sat by feeling powerless to help her, wishing he could do something. We’ve all felt powerless to help someone in our lives at some point. At the very least, Doug could have called the cops and told them it was a domestic violence dispute. Or he could’ve given us a reason why that would’ve been a terribly bad idea.
Instead, the way he reacts to this is:
What am I doing living in this dump and sharing a bathroom with these creeps? I can’t even sleep at night with all the partying and carrying on. I’m sick of this room, and I’m sick of this kind of life!
I’m sorry, but if this is your main reaction to a pimp beating up a woman, you’re a sick fucking sociopath. Fucking cunt! I’ve avoided saying it so far but…. fuck you Doug, fuck you!
He picks up the phone–
Good, good job Doug!
–And calls his father.
Doug and his father get together for dinner, during which Doug pretends to be doing better than he actually is.
At the conclusion of the visit, Doug’s father says:
Doug, I feel like I have failed you and I’m sorry. Will you give me one more chance?
Whether or not Doug’s father has actually failed him is up for debate. I don’t know the full story here, so I won’t comment much. However, if Doug wants to get his life together, he basically has no choice but to take his father up on his offer. He knows it, but tries to play it cool, asking his dad what he wants.
His father says he wants to see Doug complete his education. Doug is only 16, after all, which is (was, apparently they’ve changed it recently) the age at which you can legally drop out. But Doug’s father and mine both agree that 16 year olds should be in school (I am seriously grateful mine didn’t let me drop out like I wanted to.)
Doug protests, partly for show and partly because he (and I) really hate school. Doug’s dad tells him that he’s found a school that’s on a fancy boat. Extracurricular activities include water skiing, scuba diving, and other water sports. The students are the crew, and there are plenty of girls. Doug’s father knows how important it is that Doug get laid.
Doug agrees to go to the boat school, and his father is relieved. Doug is relieved too, but tries not to show it, and I honestly wonder how fooled his father was with Doug’s performance. Sometimes (not always) parents just know when their kid is trying to hide something from them.
*Exact quotation. For some reason, Doug thought the man’s skin color was important to the story.