A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Man — The Early Years

  • by Ben Best

    I'd like to say that I have been quite an industrious person right from the beginning. But in truth, I was pretty "slack" as an infant. For my first couple of years after birth I did practically nothing but lay about. I'd lay on my back for a while, then I'd roll over on my stomach. That was my day. This went on for months.

    Do you think my parents complained? I had them both wrapped around my little finger. Not once did my father suggest that I look for a job. All I had to do was smile & wave at him and his face would light-up like a pinball machine. The next thing you knew he would be slaving himself to death just to keep buying me more diapers & pablum.

    My Teenage Gang
    I'm the third person in the second column

    My mother waited on me hand & foot. I didn't even have to be nice to her. I'd poop & pee all over and she'd just clean it up — happy as a clam to be taking care of me. If I wanted something, I'd just start screaming. Most of the time she'd come running. By the time I was a teenager this act had worn a little thin. But I made the most of the situation while I was still a novelty. If my parents hadn't eventually gotten bored with me I might have remained a house-bound beach-bum for the rest of my life.

    To get an idea how shifty I was as a teenager, take a look at me with my gang. I am second from the left in the last row, the unlucky 13th guy. But lucky for them, I had a way of bugging out without anyone seeing where I had gone.