Alan Catlin

Cooking Lessons

As the only
one of his large
extended family to
make it past the eighth
grade, he was a major
outlier. Was one who
actually had all
of his teeth,
spoke in complete
sentences and could
read the board from
the back row which
many of his kin might
have been able to do
but were disinclined
to let anyone catch
them doing. By 16
he’s never been arrested,
been drunk and disorderly,
or had a kid or two,
with others on the way,
which made him a freak
of nature as far as anyone
who knew the family history
could tell. Guidance
counselors and teachers
thought the kid actually
had an academic future,
had seen the wisdom
of doing well at his studies
as a means to gainful
employment. Were thrilled
he aced his chemistry exams
and suggested he might start
thinking about which colleges
he would apply to, which
caused him to laugh long
and hard. “I already learned
all I need to know.” Dropped out
after his junior year and opened
his own meth lab determined
not to blow his ass off
like so many of his kind had
before him.

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