The Richest Caveman Chapter 16

Chapter 16

Indian Tales

How not To Handle Domestic Violence Next Door

Yes, this chapter is absolutely as racist as the title claims.

Remember the stories Doug told us about living on the res with his Uncle Harry? Well, buckle up kids, because this is worse. Much worse.

Doug gets a call from a pastor, asking if he’d like to come work with the Navajos at La Vida Mission.

Doug, remembering his experiences living with his uncle, decides against the idea. Unfortuantely for him and for the Navajo, God had other plans.

He and Karyn drive to the mission to visit for “a day or so.” The trailer breaks down right there in the mission yard, forcing the Batchelors to stay until they can get it fixed. It ends up taking two days, during which time Doug and Karyn see the needs of the Navajo, and decide to stay.

The mission had purchased a house in Waterflow, New Mexico, that was to be our home. They wanted us to raise up a church there, but the people occupying the house hadn’t moved out yet, nor even finished packing, for that matter. They left old furniture, unwanted junk, and garbage. They even left their dirty breakfast dishes on the table.

Sounds like someone really really didn’t want to move out. I wonder if the house was foreclosed?

The Batchelors have neighbors who live in a mobile home owned by the mission. The yard is littered with beer cans.

This mission is near the one where Doug’s uncle worked, and one day he meets up with his good buddy Ken, who is now a raging alcoholic. He says it’s been 10 years since he’s seen him, so we have some idea where we are in our timeline. Ten years since Doug lived with his uncle, so that would make him…what, 26 now? My how the time has flown.

Ken and Doug pray together, and Ken tells Doug he’s his best friend.

“No, Ken. I’ve been your worst enemy. I got you started down the wrong road. O God, what ahve I done?” I cried. “Have I destroyed a man’s life by my bad example when Iw as young and foolish?”

(Doug doesn’t say all this to Ken, he says it out loud after he leaves.)

It’s good to see Doug feel some sort of responsibility here. However, I don’t think this is necessarily Doug’s fault. Yes, he badgered Ken into drinking, but Ken is still the one who chose to start, the one who chose to continue, and the one who chose to not seek help. The main responsibility for Ken’s wrong turns in life falls upon Ken.

Doug then tells us about his neighbors. Their names were Tom and Alaice. She was a computer operator who had office skills. He was a vietnam vet, spoke English and Navajo, and was an electrician.

The neighbors were polite, but aloof. Karyn and Doug wondered wh this was.

They soon found out.

Then one night we heard a frantic knock at the door….I quickly opened it and there stood 11 year old T, the oldest of the 3 neighbor children. “Come quick!” she pleaded. “My father is killing my mother!”

I hesitated for a split second…for an instant I thought that I probably should call the police… but if I did that, I might never reach them with the gospel.

Um, what? Doug seriously thinks this? “I could call the police, have this guy locked up, and in doing so make the woman be safe, but NOPE. I can’t do that, because winning the male to Jesus is more important than the woman’s safety.”

Eegad!

Anyone who puts their religion over someone’s personal safety is an asshole. I actually think the Christian thing to do here is to call the police. Protect the innocent at all costs! You can witness to Tom in prison.

In any case, Doug rushes in and breaks up the fight. Doug has a background in fighting, so while I normally would think rushing in to save them yourself is a terrible idea, I’m willing to let it pass.

However, this begs the question; if Doug is willing to break up his neighbor’s fight, why THE FUCK was he not at least thinking about stopping the “black pimp” from killing that poor girl 6 chapters ago? No, I’m not going to stop bringing that up.

Doug tells Tom that he could have called the police, but he didn’t. Because Doug is an idiot.

“This is no way to settle problems. If you hate her that much, leave, but don’t beat her up.”

As much as Doug is trained in fighting, he has not been trained in handling domestic violence situations. I don’t fault him for running in to break up the fight, but he should have shouted to Karyn on his way out to dial 911. (They did have 911 when Doug was my age, right?)

Tom and Alaice begin yelling again, and Doug physically restrains Tom.

When she saw that he could not get away, she attacked him and began pulling his hair.

Good for her!

Also, this is why he should have called the police. Because then there would be two police officers who could hold them both back from each other. Instead Doug makes a bad siutation worse by trying to handle it himself.

“Cut it out!” I yelled. I threw him against one wall and her against the other–it wasn’t that hard since they were both half drunk.

She’s the one being attacked, yet you punish her for snapping and trying to hurt him back by throwing her against the wall, too.

Meanwhile, the children are watching this, crying. Yanno, Doug, if you weren’t going to have Karyn hang back and dial 911, you should at least have had her come with you to take the children to your house for a while. In fact, maybe that should be done before she dials the emergency number.

Despite them being half drunk, Doug tells them all to sit down and discuss this like rational human beings. Even sober people can’t agree on what rational behavior is, but he expects people who are half drunk to do this? He needs to call the police right the fuck now, put Tom in the drunk tank, wait for them both to sober up, then call a counselor who specializes in domestic assault situations.

Of course, none of that actually happens.

Doug takes them all into the living room. Neither one of them talks very much, which I suppose is an improvement over fighting.

I made up my mind not to leave until one of them left.

At least he did something to make sure Alaice was temporarily safe.

Finally Alaice leaves, taking the children with her.

He and Karen soon learn that this family has been making the headlines for years.

Tom was tall, handsome, and macho. Alaice was attractive and flirtatious, and they both drank. They were jealous of each other, and when they drank, the fights erupted.

Fights. This makes it sound like both of them go after each other equally, which we have just been shown is not the case. What Doug really means is, “Tom starts to beat up on Alaice, who tries to defend herself.” Yes she tried to hit Tom when he was restrained, but who can blame a woman in a situation like that for snapping and wanting to hurt the man who hurt her?

It sounds like this couple would benefit from divorce. But of course divorce is never the answer for a situation like this… no no no. These people need Jesus!

I debated what to do. Should I report them to the mission and have them evicted? If  I did that, I would lose all hope of ever winning them for Christ.

I have to agree with Doug that an eviction might not actually solve the problem. Just because they have to live somewhere else doesn’t mean Tom is going to stop beating up Alaice.

Doug resolves to try and solve the problems himself, with the help of his invisible sky fairy God.

Terrible idea, by the way. For God’s sake, let the authorities handle it. They’ve been trained to do this, and I think God, if he existed, would want Doug to use the gray stuff between his ears and seek out professionals. Why else would a hypothetical God put professionals on this earth?

Anyway, Doug proceeds to use his religon to justify making the situation worse.

When Tom got in trouble for pulling a gun on a man who had insulted him, I went to court with him. When he got in jail, I helped him get out.

Poor Alaice. She hears her husband has been jailed, and she thinks to herself she’s finally safe. Then she finds out that that no good busy body neighbor went and bailed him out again. Her heart sinks.

Seriously, this is Doug not caring what happens to Alaice. This is Doug caring what happens to Tom. Alaice is just a woman, after all, what does she know? If he converts Tom, the entire family will be converted, too.

Karyn has decided to make friends with Alaice and the kids. Sometimes the police did make an appearance, and the kids would go to the Batchelor’s house while they got things sorted.

Good. This is good. This is something I actually approve of. Make your home a safe space for the woman and kids to go while Tom is getting arrested. Yeah, ok, fine.

One night when I was gone for a few days…Karyn sat in her bed reading. Suddenly the back bedroom door opened, and Alaice came charging in. She looked at Karyn and said, “I’m sorry!” and went running through. Seconds later, Tom came chasing after her with a broom. Karyn didn’t even get out of bed. We had become accustomed to this behavior. The whole world seemed an uglier place because of their drinking and brawling. (Emphasis mine)

Wait, what? I… I….I…. what?! I don’t even know where to start. This is just awful. First off, Karyn needs to call the police when this happens. Tom is clearly a threat to Alaice, and if she cares about Alaice, if they’re really friends, she’d call in professionals.

It’s not just about protecting Alaice at this point. Tom is chasing Alaice through their house. I presume the Batchelor’s children are present. There’s no telling if Tom would be a threat to them, so Karyn needs to get her butt out of bed and protect them. And then start locking the front door in the future so this doesn’t happen again.

Poor Alaice. She thought running to her friend Karyn’s house would help, that Karyn would do something to protect her from Tom.

Note also the last sentence in the paragraph. Doug is placing the blame for this on both Tom and Alaice. Both of them may be drunk, however, Tom is the one threatening Alaice. We don’t hear Doug talk about Alaice chasing Tom with a broom or pulling a gun on people. Tom is clearly the unstable one, Alaice is not. Doug, here, is doing the classic Adventist Christian thing called “victim blaming.”

Doug is a motherfucking cuntwaffle.

When Tom is sober, Doug talks to him about God.Tom apparently has an interest in spiritual matters, and he clearly needs Jesus.

Newsflash, Doug, even devout Christians sometimes beat up their wives. Jesus isn’t going to help the situation. You need to stop getting Tom out of prison and going to court with him and let him get locked up for a while. Then Alaice needs to see a social worker to see what she can do about getting her away from him.

Nope. According to this book, these people need a Revelation Seminar! Sigh.

Here, Doug reveals himself to be not just a motherfucking cunt, but a sleazeball. Remember all that help he gave Tom? Well, apparently, it came with strings attached.

We planned another Revelation Seminar, and I really hoped I could get Tom and his family to come. I talked ot him one day. “Tom,” I said, “You owe me one.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’ve gone to court with you, I’ve stood by your side, I’ve fended off the police, and I’ve been a good neighbor. Now I want a favor from you.”

“All right, Doug, what do you want?” He asked.

“I want you to come to these meetings that I’m starting.” I said…..

“Oh no, Doug, I can’t do that.”

“And why not?” I countered. “Why don’t you just come the first couple of nights? Then if you don’t like them, you can quit.”

“Ok, I’ll come,” he said.

Like every single Seventh Day Adventist I’ve ever met, Doug only does things to manipulate others and try and convert them. Because that’s totally what Jesus would do.

People at the mission tell Doug he will be lucky if he can get more than 10-15 people to come to a meeting, so Doug sets a goal for 100.

There’s setting high goals to help yourself reach a high standard, and then there’s setting impossible goals.

This book, however, disagrees with me, because on opening night they have 375, including children. Everyone is amazed. Clearly this is the Lord’s work.

Tom, Alaice, and their whole family come to the meetings, which totally change their lives, they quit drinking, rekindle their marriage, and live happily ever after.

I doubt it. I seriously doubt it.

Doug is also told that the Navajos are “a gentle people and wish to please,” and often get baptized just because you want them to.

Which… ok? I have no idea how true this is, and it just sounds condescending. Indians want to please White Man, of course.

In any case, Doug thoroughly investigates the baptismal candidates before dunking them, and Tom and Alaice were among those baptized a few months later.

There the chapter is mercifully brought to a close.

This chapter was terrible, and sickening to read. I can’t help but wonder how things really turned out for Tom and Alaice. Did the gospel really help their domestic violence issues, or did it only temporarily bandage the actual problem, before it started up again, this time more underground?

Now that Alaice is a Christian, she will have a hard time making herself divorce Tom if the problems ever do return, and most church members wouldn’t be supportive of such actions.

One thing is for sure: Doug sucks royally at handling domestic violence disputes. He is also a slick manipulative little bastard who’s help comes with strings attached.

I used to think of Doug as a nice guy who was genuinely a good person but misguided. It turns out that I was wrong. I thought this book would just be a quick read as I commented on all the outrageous stories Doug tells that half to be at least partly exaggerated.

I didn’t think I was going to learn that Doug, more interested in helping the abuser than the abused, was part of the enemy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Richest Caveman Chapter 7

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

 

Chapter 7

Shipped Out!

 

Get it? Because he’s been sent to school on a ship? Ha… ha…. ahem. Anyway.

Doug sizes up the other students and quickly figures out that most of them are delinquent children of rich parents who are sent away because they are an embarrassment to their families. Sort of like Doug. The first day someone asks him if he brought any drugs.

I don’t know if they’d actually trust him with that kind of question so quickly, but I could believe it was asked at some point.

Actually, we were prisoners, in a sense. We could not fraternize with the girls, and naturally we weren’t allowed to drink, smoke, or use drugs. They took away our passports when we went ashore. In a country like Italy, they would lock you up and throw away they key if they caught you without a passport, so we didn’t dare do  anything that would attract attention. I never did any…water sports the entire time I was there.

At first I thought it was awful that they had their passports taken, but then my cousin told me that that is pretty normal on school trips to other countries. I’m not sure if the school’s motivation for doing this was to keep the passports safe (kids are terrible at losing things) or to keep them in line. My guess is that it was a little of both.

The school’s science program centered around evolutionary theory, and those who believed in creation were ridiculed as idiots. The films shown portrayed Darwin as a hero.

Purse eh coo shun! Of Christians! Right here! It happens! See!

Excuse me as I roll my eyes. Ok, I’m back.

I don’t know what Doug expected; of course the curriculum for a science class was based on evolution. What else would a secular school be basing it on? Seventh Day Adventists believe in separation of church and state, so I don’t know why Adult!Doug is criticizing this. Does he seriously want creationism taught in schools?

I am also quite sure that the level of pro Darwin propaganda was exaggerated. No one on Planet Real World believes Darwin is a hero. Brilliant, yes. Hero, no.

All the students came from affluent homes, but you’d never know it from the food they fed us. Desserts were so rare that snickers bars ….. became currency.

So, the food was terrible because they didn’t feed you dessert? This sounds entitled to me.

I also smell a rat, because that this is the only description of the terrible food. The food at Academy, in the latter years, was bad. Super greasy egg rolls, downright weird casseroles full of messy glop and noodles, overcooked fake meat that was tough and chewy. This was ten years ago.  Ten years ago and to this day, I still remember it.  If the food at Doug’s boat school was that bad, he would remember and be able to describe it. You remember being hungry.

So, I’m calling bullshit. (Drink!)

Or maybe Doug is trying to do that thing where he talks about something totally different from what he was talking about a sentence earlier. This could just be an example of bad writing instead of an example of whiny sissy rich boy who can’t live without his snickers bars.

Ew, Snickers. What were those guys thinking? American Carmel is gross.

Anyway, one of the boys there is craving LSD. Doug doesn’t have any, but then starts to think.

LSD is called “windowpane” because it comes in small clear squares about an 8th of an inch on each side. I took a plastic picture holder from my wallet and snipped out two tiny plastic squares. The finished product looked just like two hits of LSD Windowpane.

Because nobody’s thought to try this before! Seriously, if it’s that easy, all the students should constantly be on high alert for fake plastic Windowpane.

Also, this clinches it. If Doug were a Hogwarts student, he’d be in Slytherin. He shows himself, as a child, to be cunning and ambitious. Adult!Doug is clearly ambitious as well. Just look at where he is today. He did not get there by accident.

By the way, you have to swallow it,” I cautioned him. This kind doesn’t melt in your mouth.”

Ummmm wouldn’t that potentially give the poor kid stomach problems, swallowing a piece of plastic?

Doug wolfs down his Snickers bars, feeling a sense of dread about what will happen to him the next day. Will he get beat up? However, when Doug next sees his buddy….

…he didn’t look angry. In fact, he smiled. “You know that windowpane?” he said, “well, at first nothing happened and I just went to sleep, but then I woke up during the night and man, what a trip! I was tripping and hallucinating all night!”

Doug learned a very important lesson that day about the placebo effect, But of course this is Doug’s cue to shoehorn in a Bible verse (drink!). “God hath dealt to every man a measure of faith.” Eric sure had faith in that piece of plastic!

Because that Bible verse doesn’t mean that there are no atheists, because God says so. The Bible, in this passage, is talking about the Placebo Effect.

I had heard that there are no atheists in foxholes. I saw firsthand that there are no atheists in storms at sea, either.

There’s a story that I don’t understand about how Doug saved the day by “riding the saddle,” whatever that means. Doug doesn’t really explain it very well, and I don’t know anything about sailing. We’re largely gonna skip over this part. Sorry guys. In any case, there’s something about Doug being stuck and having to jump from the saddle, whatever that is, to the webbing and climb his way down. The captain asks Doug if he wants to try again. Doug, not feeling particularly suicidal at the moment, declines.

In any case, the boat school makes it through the storm, and everyone’s prayers were forgotten.

I learned that day why God doesn’t discipline with fear. When the danger is past, people usually go back to their old ways.

Oh Doug, you have obviously never read the Old Testament.

In any case, it doesn’t take long before Doug starts misbehaving. He stops going to class and quits doing chores. Eventually, the captain comes and asks him what the deal is.

….”I hate this place. I didn’t ask to come here, and I’m not going to be a slave for anybody.”

You may not have asked to come here, but you did agree to go, and I’m willing to bet your dad gave you way more say in it than any of these other students.

I had a gold medal in wrestling and was used to fighting. I had never lost a match.

THEN WHY DIDN’T YOU SAVE THE WOMAN FROM THE PIMP YOU MOTEHRFUCKING CUNT!

The captain tells Doug that if he doesn’t work, he doesn’t eat.

This, by the way, is a terrible idea. When you have gotten into a battle of wills like this, you’ve already lost. Kids can last forever on hunger strikes. Especially if, like Doug, they are charismatic enough to get people to smuggle them food.

Eventually, all the other students start to complain. If Doug doesn’t have to work, then neither do they.

Finally, the captain tells Doug that if he cooperates for a while, the captain will tell Doug’s dad his behavior is great, and let him go home for Christmas.

Doug left for Christmas break, and both he and the captain knew he’d never be back. Doug’s father is so pleased with the report the Captain gave him that Doug can’t bear to tell him the truth. So when school starts up again, Doug runs away (drink!)

I have to confess to you guys, this book is ten times more interesting than Project Sunlight. Not because Doug is necessarily a better writer (if he’s even the one doing the writing at this point; Tooker’s name is on the cover), but because his content is more interesting.

We’re almost at the halfway point of the book. Chapter 8 is going to be really short, and in Chapter 9 Doug’s religious journey begins. It’s not necessarily going to be better than the first half of the book, but at least we will finally be out of the Doug runs away from home/gets dragged back/runs away again cycle we’ve been stuck in for a good 7 chapters.

Stay tuned, because after his conversion, Doug only gets worse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Richest Caveman Chapter 2

Add to the drinking game:

5. Take a drink whenever Doug messes (or thinks he is messing with) the occult.

 

Chapter 2

In Which Doug Goes to Military School

Content note: Child physical abuse, suicide, the occult.

Every time I got in enough trouble at school, mom would bail me out… in 9 years I attended 14 schools.

Reading this sentence, You get the feeling Doug never really had to face the consequences of his actions when he was younger. It sounds like his mother was enabling his behavior.

Doug Batchelor was born in 1957. I get that he would’ve been in elementary school in the 1960s, but seriously, at no point did anyone in his life consider that he possibly needed professional help? At the very least give him someone to talk to about all the anger in his system?

I am not saying that Doug has a mental illness. I am not a professional and even if I was, you can’t diagnose someone by the book they write. However, I still think a professional therapist would have been very helpful for Young Doug. At minimum, it would have given him an adult he could talk to about the trouble he was getting into and why.

In any case, a friend of Doug’s mother takes Doug and his brother, Falcon, to visit a military school in Upstate New York. Doug enjoys the tour so much he decides he needs to attend. He tells us we has been in a military school before, at age 5.

They let 5 year olds in military academies?

I may have been out of control…but I knew what I saw was the result of discipline, obedience, and structure. Something inside of me cried out for this kind of order in my life.

Why, because it worked so well when you were 5?

That night, as they sit around the TV smoking pot and eating ice cream, Doug begs his mom to let him to go military school. His mother is reluctant. Doug seems to think that this is because of his history of getting into trouble, but I think his mom sees Doug as a free spirit, who wouldn’t do well in such a highly controlled environment. Doug suggests she call his dad and discuss it with him. Sounds like a solid plan to me. But Doug’s mom has a better idea! She’s going to consult–

A Ouija board.

I’m not kidding.

DRINK!

This, right here, is why I thought for the longest time that these were serious tools of the occult. I have since been told that they are games for teenagers and that no grown up uses them.*

Although she (Doug’s mom) had no religious beliefs, she leaned toward the occult. Many of her friends were into astrology, palm readings, and seances.

Because everyone in Hollywood is totes in bed with the debbil, ya’all!

Doug, his mom, and his brother ask the Oujia board a few warm up questions. I’d like to know what those warm up questions were. It would be a way for Doug to insert details of his background without being too clunky. What year is it? How old is Doug right now? What business is Doug’s father in?

In any case, the Ouija board tells the little family that Doug should absolutely go to military school.

It didn’t seem very supernatural to me, because I had given [the indicator] a little nudge.

Well, yeah….

I have to give Doug some credit here for admitting that.

Doug’s mom then asks if Falcon should go to military school with Doug. The indicator moves toward “No,” then goes up to the alphabet and spells out “guns.”

No, Falcon should not go to Military school because of the guns.

Doug can’t figure out a way to explain what just happened. It’s almost like the thought never entered his mind that someone else might be moving the indicator. His mother, for instance, or possibly his brother.

I would not have expected Young Doug to know about the ideomotor effect. I would expect Older Doug, looking back on this experience, to have read about it. I think it’s a bit misleading of him not to include it.

In any case, It’s not clear what the problem is here. Can Falcon not have guns because he is a person with violent tendencies? Is Falcon’s Cystic Fibrosis so terrible that he has suicidal thoughts? Is Falcon the type of careless person who would forget to turn on the safety?

A quick google search gives mixed results about people with CF being able to join the military, anyway. I guess it would depend on the severity of the condition.

Doug’s mother calls Doug’s father, who agrees to finance Doug’s military education.

Doug talks about life at the military academy, briefly describing the hazing rituals of the newbies, the incredibly insane rules about how you organized your belongings and cleaned your room, and the ungodly hour at which the day began.

Doug then talks about how the school used corporal punishment –and it wasn’t administered by a corporal. We’re going to pretend he never wrote that groaner of a joke and move on.

I well remember the first time a teacher told me to bend over my desk. He drew back his army belt, complete with metal grommets, and walloped my posterior with all his strength. My desk and I went flying into two other desks. I let out a yelp, and the room exploded with laughter. I was only 11 years old, but the teacher kept saying, “you’re a man now, you’re a man!”

At the beginning of chapter one, Doug was 13. Now he’s suddenly 11 (drink!).

Doug goes on to explain that the teachers didn’t always use belts. Sometimes they jerked you around by your hair or whacked you on the head. He says the officers pampered no one, not even the wealthy kids.

So if anyone ever wanted to know if Doug has a history of physical abuse, the answer is “most certainly.”

Doug goes straight from this line of thought to talking about his troubles with religious service attendance. It’s not clear if this is just another example of bad writing, or if he’s trying to distract himself from what he just wrote.

Doug was one of those kids with a Jewish parent and a Christian parent. He needs to attend both services in order to keep both parents happy.

Hang on, Doug just stated his mother had no religious beliefs. He did say in chapter one that she was proud of her Jewish heritage, but being proud to be Jewish does not necessarily translate to “getting upset that my kid won’t attend synagogue every week.”

Doug says he tried attending a catholic church once, but he didn’t like that the priest smoked cigars during the service.This was the 1960s, but even so, was this a normal thing for the time period? It seems very disrespectful to me, and I’ve never heard of someone doing so as they were preaching. Drink, because I kind of doubt Doug’s memories are clear on this one.

Doug talks about how he didn’t like God as a child because of the whole hell is a current, ongoing, forever and eternal punishment doctrine. He is pleased, as an adult, to discover that this doctrine is not biblical. Whether or not it is biblical is not something I will cover in this post. The only thing that matters to me right now is that Doug does not still believe that. Doug sees God as loving because he doesn’t torture them forever, he tortures them for a while and then kills them permanently afterward.

That summer, Doug goes to summer camp, which he describes thusly:

I was bitten by a spider and almost lost my leg from the infection, and then tried to steal a sailboat and run away to a deserted island. Otherwise, it was a normal summer.

(Drink!)

Why did the camp not send him packing after he tried to steal a sailboat? If he almost lost his leg to an infection, why was he not helicoptered to the nearest hospital? Why did he not spend the rest of the summer in said hospital?  How was he able to continue summer camp after not just one but TWO of these events?

(DRINK!)

Doug’s second year at the military academy was very enjoyable. He somehow managed to acquire some authority, and talks about how good it was for his free spirit. He now had an excuse to be late and go wherever he wanted. He tells us he did his job well, one sentence after telling us he saw his job as an excuse to be late and go wherever he wanted.

His grades skyrocketed, he won lots of awards in many sports, was asked to teach others how to polish their shoes and belt buckles to regulation standards.

Doug is now a golden child of the school.

Unfortunately, this school is lacking one thing to make Doug’s life perfect: Girls. Even the 8 and 9 year olds talk about girls.

8 and 9 year old boys were talking about girls? I find this kind of hard to believe. I could believe 8 and 9 year old girls would talk about boys (or other girls) but most 8 and 9 year old boys are obsessed with making their farts as loud as possible. Perhaps they were just imitating the older boys, but even so, I find this only slightly believable.

Otherwise this rings very true for me. I’m not sure atm if Doug is supposed to be 11, 14, or 15. If it’s one of the latter two, Doug is at an age where his hormones are beginning to kick in. This is normal and happens to almost everybody.

So it makes sense when Doug finally decides that girls are more important than anything else int he world, and resolves to transfer to a school where he can get some vagina.

 

 

*Except 3 young adults who went to the hospital [the priest refused to do an exorcism] a few years back after playing with one. As they responded to medical treatment, I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume they weren’t possessed. The ridiculous tangents I get into when writing these things.

** I keep getting told that these things are for kids because my freshly atheist self wanted to get ahold of and play with one, but nobody will play with me. They will, however, play with the tarot cards. They have also informed me that the word “tarot” does not rhyme with “parrot.”

The Richest Caveman Chapter 1

The drinking game:

1. Every time I agree with something Doug says

2. Every time Doug tells an outrageous story that sounds incredibly unrealistic

3. When the timeline jumps around in ways that don’t make sense

 

There will likely be more to come, so keep checking the drinking game section.

I’m not entirely sure it was he who wrote this. The cover reads that the story is “as told to Marilyn Tooker.” The copyright date is 1991. I’m not sure why Doug didn’t write this himself. Perhaps he had yet to start writing his own books? Maybe he’s better at non fiction than story writing?

In any case, here’s chapter one.

Chapter One

“I sat on the edge of my bed…and buried my face in my hands. Tears ran down my cheeks and seeped through my fingers.”

Doug Batchelor’s opening line really grabs us. I think Doug (Marilyn?) has the potential to be a good writer. There’s some talent here, but it needs more nurturing and a decent editor.  The opening lines are good because they make us want to know more. Who is crying? Why is he crying? Why is he referring to his apartment as “my mother’s New York apartment” instead of “our New York apartment? Yes, his mom’s the one paying the bills, but most children refer to it as “our house” not “my parents’ house.”

Doug is crying because he is in trouble at school again, and that he “just can’t seem to control his temper.”

I have no idea if this “can’t seem to control his temper” comment is a slight exaggeration, or indicative of an actual condition that, nowadays, one can get help for. But of course, when he was a kid, such things may not have been readily diagnosed.

Doug’s thoughts turn to his mother. His mother was in show business, and at some point wrote songs for Elvis. I decided to Google this one. There’s a Wikipedia page that lists all of Elvis’ song writers, and there is a Ruth Bachelor on the list. I did some further googling, and even though the name is spelled wrong on the wiki, this does appear to be Doug’s mother.

Well, that’s kinda cool. I had no idea Doug B’s mother wrote songs for Elvis. I learn something new every day.

In case anyone was wondering, the songs she wrote are:

1. Cotton Candy Land

2. A Boy Like Me, A Girl Like You

And then I gave up because holy mother of GOD this list is LONG! Did Elvis write ANY of his own songs! Jeez!

Anyway, Adventists have an interesting connection, then, to Elvis.

Doug talks about meeting other movie stars. He name drops a few of them, but I’m too young to get the references. Except for the 3 stooges, I have no idea who these people are.

As I got old enough to understand, I noticed that a frightening number of them [the actors] were homosexuals, and it seemed like many were on drugs, or alcohol, or both, yet they weren’t happy.

Many of the actors were either on drugs or alcohol, or many of the homosexual actors? It isn’t clear in the statement.

Of course the homosexual actors wouldn’t be happy. They were homosexual in a homophobic world. Most of them were probably trying to pretend to be straight just to keep their careers. How could anybody be happy living that kind of life?  If many of the homosexual actors were always drunk or high, I wouldn’t blame them one bit.

Why do they work so hard to achieve fame if it makes them miserable? I wondered.

Sigh.

It wasn’t the fame that made them miserable. It was being homosexual in an accepting world. As to the unhappy heterosexual actors, perhaps it was not the fame itself that made them miserable?

Hang on, isn’t Doug Bachelor famous? Is his fame making him miserable? If not, why does he insist other famous people are miserable?

Anyway, Doug’s mom used to have parties in their apartment all the time. Doug says that all they wanted to do at these parties was sit around and smoke pot. Um, yeah, Doug, that’s kinda what (some peoples’ definition of) a party is. I don’t actually care that Doug’s mom smoked pot. I have no issue with recreational marijuana usage, and think our drug laws need a serious overhaul. But this was written in the 1990s, and for an Adventist audience. For the target audience and in that time period, this was seriously wild stuff. This would have made his mom look, in their eyes, like a terrible mother. I’m not sure if Doug was trying for this effect or if it’s just a side effect.

Doug never comes out and says he thinks she was a terrible mother. I think, however, at least subconsciously, he is demonstrating things that would show that to his target audience.

I’m not going to say one way or another what I think about the subject, mostly because I haven’t decided what to think.

As Doug is sitting on his bed crying, his thoughts turn to how lonely he is. He relives the details of the fight he was in at school that day, the lectures and glares from his teachers, etc.

No, actually, he doesn’t. He tells us he “relives all the details,” without telling us any of it. All we ever get to learn was that he got in a fight at school, his teachers yelled at him, and he feels really low.

Why show when you could tell, right?

He immediately jumps from this to wondering who he is, where he comes from, etc.

I’d been told I was just another step in the process of evolution—an overly developed monkey. If that’s all there is to life, why not just get it over with?

Woe is me. I am evolved and have no creator, therefore I have no worth or purpose. I will now go and kill myself.

Said no atheist, ever.

Also, evolution does not see humans as “overdeveloped monkeys.” Humans did not evolve from monkeys, we share a common ancestor. Monkeys are our cousins, not grandfathers. /tangent.

Doug finds his mother’s sleeping pills and thinks about using them to kill himself. He is unsure which are the sleeping pills, so he freaks out, and thinks:

“What if they were some kind of pills for ladies? What if they just made me really sick?”

I’d like to point out that a small child could eat a whole pack of “pills for ladies” and wind up only mildly nauseous (or so says my doctor, at any rate) but he was right about the pills possibly just making him really sick. He aborts the suicide mission, thank goodness.

Doug states that he was 13 years old at this time. But don’t go getting any ideas about his age and what year it is, because the timeline in this book freakin’ jumps all over the place. In the next chapter, he will be 11. This book does not go in chronological order and it’s kind of confusing.

I’m also not sure why he sticks his age into the suicide attempt #1 scene. Is he trying to go for the shock factor of “I was so young?!” Because, uh, that’s more than twice as old as I was when I first thought about suicide, and I’m not the only one I know who can say that.

Doug jumps back to talking about his mother again. In case you hadn’t noticed, the book is not organized very well. I’m getting whiplash from all the jumping around.

Looking back, I wonder how I could have been so blind to the clues that mom cared. She tried to express her love to me in her own way. She would write a musical for our class, and put me in the starring role. She put a lot of work into it, even conducting the rehearsals herself. This meant more time away from work, and smaller paychecks

I can identify with this. I used to think my mom didn’t love me because she didn’t show love the way I wanted it shown. As an adult, I can’t believe how stupid I was not to see that of course she loved you you IDIOT!

She would write a musical for our class, and put me in the starring role

This isn’t love.* This is putting your child on a pedestal. I wonder if this was why Doug was getting into fights at school?

That Doug! Festus thought to himself angrily. His mother wrote the play, so of course he’s the star. I’ll never get to play Rolfe in The Sound of Music. That cute girl I sit next to is playing Lisel, and he gets to kiss her. I think I’ll go punch Doug’s brains in after school. That’ll teach him.

Another way Doug’s mother showed she cared:  Falcon had cystic fibrosis and couldn’t smoke pot, so his mother would make him cookies. Hashish was very hard to get ahold of, and instead of keeping it for herself, his mother would put it in Falcon’s cookies. I agree with Doug (drink!) that this is an act of selflessness.

I know Marijuana has a lot of medical uses, but is Cystic Fibrosis one of them? If so, did his mother know that? I’m not sure how old Falcon is in this scene, but I’m going to assume Doug is still 13. I do not think I would smoke pot with my 13 year old children. And of course, the target audience would find the idea horrific.

Some time after the big fight at school, Doug gets his grades back. They’re terrible, so he tries to jump off the roof of the apartment building.

I actually do sympathize here. I studied hard in school, very hard. And yet, the best I could do in most subjects was a C. And yeah, it did make me want to kill myself.

I would like to state, for the record, that I am glad Doug didn’t succeed in killing himself. I don’t like the guy, but I wouldn’t want him to kill himself. I may hate him and everything he stands for, but I don’t wish him any harm.

Anyway, back to our story, Doug obviously (he’s still alive) doesn’t throw himself off the roof. He figures that that’s a painful way to die, and realizes there is a small chance he might survive and wind up a quadriplegic.

The nice thing about suicide is that you can always postpone it.

Take a drink, because I agreed with Doug on something. I’ve been postponing my suicide for a little over 20 years now.

Doug then tells us about his father. He owned an airplane company and loved planes so much he named his kids: Falcon and Douglas, after airplanes. Doug thinks he got the better name, and take a drink because I agree with him.

He grew up a Baptist, but religion had been thrust upon him by well meaning family and friends, and he wanted no part of it. …. He lost his first wife and baby son in a plane crash…he lost all his faith and considered himself an agnostic.

I wonder if this is accurate or if Doug just doesn’t believe in Atheists, because we’re all just really agnostics. According to most SDAs, true Atheists don’t really exist, after all.

Instead of learning from his dad, Doug decides to become a celebrity in a world where religion is constantly thrust upon people. I have no doubt Doug does some of the thrusting himself.**

In any case, teenage Doug steps back from the roof, and decides that when he goes, he doesn’t want to go out with a whimper, but a bang. He only gets one life, so he’s going to milk the shit out of it while he still can.

Take a drink, because I agree with this attitude.

 

*I’m not saying Doug’s mother didn’t love him, I’m saying this is a terrible example.

**I didn’t realize what that sounded like when I wrote it, but I’m not going to edit it because that I’m 12.

Number The Stars: Chapter 2

Who Is The Man Who Rides Past?

This chapter is basically exposition and background information. It’s a lot of telling, but it’s doing so in a way that is interesting.

Annemarie and Kirsti are in bed, and Kirsti begs for a story. Danish children,we are told, grow up with fairy tales. Hans Christian Anderson himself was Danish. (Annemarie particularly likes the story of The Little Mermaid, which probably tells you a lot about her character right there, as the original tale did not end anything remotely like the Disney version.)

But Kirsti wants one about “A king and queen and a beautiful daughter.” So Annemarie starts a story about a king and queen who have a daughter and live in a palace and wear fancy dresses and eat pink frosted cupcakes. No, we don’t get to hear the story and no, I wouldn’t blog about it if she did, because it sounds wicked boring. Eventually, Kirsti falls asleep, and Annemarie can think.

She starts by thinking about how King Christian X isn’t like the Kings in fairy tales who stand on balconies and shout orders. In fact, Annemarie has seen him often, as he used to ride through the streets of Copenhagen and greet his people. Once he even waved to Annemarie and her older sister, Lise. Lise told Annemarie that she was special, because she had been greeted by a king.

Lise is Annemarie’s older sister. Er, was, actually. She’s dead. Annemarie immediately jumps from thinking about her older sister being dead to thinking about a story her Papa had told her once shortly after Denmark surrendered. A German soldier had asked a teen boy “Who is the man that rides past?” Upon being told that that was the king of Denmark, the soldier was incredulous, and asked where the bodyguard was.

Papa said that the boy looked the soldier straight in the eye and said, “all of Denmark is his bodyguard.”

Annemarie asks if this is true, and her papa confirms. He would absolutely take a bullet for the king, just like any other Danish* citizen. 7 year old Annemarie promises that she would too, if she had to.

7 year old Annemarie asks her papa why the king couldn’t protect Denmark. Her father explains that the Nazis are a very big army, and Denmark is a tiny country. Norway fought the Nazis for a long time, but eventually they were conquered. Papa explains to Annemarie that the King of Denmark knew that if he and his people fought back, many would die, and they’d probably lose.

Sweden, however, managed to not get conquered. Annemarie has seen Sweden, though she’s never been there. Her uncle Henrik lives near the sea, and she can stand in his backyard by the ocean and look across to a strip of land that is Sweden. Uncle Henrik lives North of Copenhagen, near a part of the North Sea that is called Kattegat.

3 years later, Sweden is still free. King Christian X was injured in a fall from his horse and almost died, but he didn’t. Annemarie’s sister, Lise, did die, in an accident. Mr. And Mrs. Johansen don’t talk about Lise, or look at her things.

I don’t think it fully sank in when I was a child how awful that is. They lost a child. That is unnatural and shouldn’t happen.

Not being able to talk about it would be very, very difficult for the whole family.

Peter still visits, but he is no longer full of laughter and jokes. He talks to mamma and papa about things Annemarie doesn’t understand, and he never stays long. Papa looks tired and defeated all the time.

The whole world has changed, Annemarie realizes. Only fairy tales remain the same.

And they all lived happily ever after,” Annemarie finished, completing the tale for her sister.

*I know, I know, but I can not hear the word Danish without thinking of the pastry, and now I’m hungry.