My whole life I’ve been a fraud. I’m not exaggerating. Pretty much all I’ve ever done all the time is try to create a certain impression of me in other people. Mostly to be liked or admired. It’s a little more complicated than that, maybe. But when you come right down to it it’s to be liked, loved. Admired, approved of, applauded, whatever. You get the idea.

No, that is not me, but I have just quoted David Foster Wallace in his short story Good Old Neon. It is a story that is a particular favourite of mine for its brutal honesty, on the assumption that the story could well be autobigraphical, as most of his stories lead one to believe.

Why am I suddenly writing about this and digging up this old quote which I have not used in years?

There lies a tale.

Since the past few days, I have been going to the park earlier than usual so that I get sufficient time to take my walks before friends come and wish to chat. I have also been staying there later than usual as one particular friend comes a bit late and he wants to chat till it gets too cold for me to sit around without my warm clothes.

During these long sojourns there, I have been introduced to a recent addition to our neighbourhood who has been trying his best to impress the older residents with his condescending attitudes about what a sacrifice he has made by staying in India while his two children in the USA want him to stay with them there. He is one of those irritating specimens who cannot find anything right about India and perhaps would be happy only in Mars. I doubt that he will be happy anywhere else in the world either.

Now, complaining about India in general and Pune in particular, is waving a red cape to an old bull like me. I had been politely keeping away from his soliloquies the past few days but I had had enough the evening before last and decided to wade into a discussion with him.

He had no chance. It was a no match. I was way above his weight.

All I had to do was to re-introduce to him people who he had already met but with additional information about what their children do and where they reside. All of them had children overseas, all of them travel regularly to visit their children and grand children and they simply did not want to talk about their reasons for not living abroad.

He was not in the park last evening.

26 thoughts on “Fraud.”

    1. I have not been to the park since that evening as I have been preoccupied with other domestic matters, but grapevine tells me that he does not talk on that subject any more.

  1. Well done indeed – seems he thought he was the new resident big shot til you flayed him like a fish. And bloodlessly to boot.

    1. Quite right. If you ever get to read the short story, you will find how the inner world of such a fraud works and I suspect that for our man too, the inner world must be a very unpleasant place to be in.

  2. definitely some great replies, all food for thought on the gentleman in question…I think we call complain at times about our “lot” wherever we are from the weather, to prices, non-existent something…but we also can balance that on another day with many great things that we have in our own “backyard”
    Cathy in NZ recently posted..Flipping back to Rotorua

    1. This putting on airs because one’s children are in the USA is a peculiarly Indian thing Cathy. In this instance, this sod simply did not realise that there could be others who do not put on airs despite having children in the USA. The impact this phenomenon has on senior citizens is now a major subject of study for psychologists here. Here is an article that should give you some idea.

      1. Thanks, read the article – that might well apply to a great many other countries…I know many older folk, who miss their children because of better opportunities far away…missing out on the milestones of their life, or only small titbits that come there way.

        One of my nephews could not score a decent job after he got his PhD, he lives/works in the UK with his partner and their child.

        I met some Brits about a decade ago, they sold up everything moved to live with them here, bought the house and got on with “family” then one son got a better job back in the UK, the other in USA. The old Brits sold up but then couldn’t afford to return to UK…I think they are living in Portugal.
        Cathy in NZ recently posted..Flipping back to Rotorua

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