One New Year’s Eve I was in Big Bear with friends. I was in college and we’d been coming up the mountain for a few years, first at Mike’s, then at Andy’s. It didn’t take much for us to decide to drink while we were up there, but we weren’t hardcore, as far as I knew—the grape was not my vice, anyway.
I was on a small couch together but alone with a few other people, watching, waiting for Dick Clark, and munching chips. I don’t know how the conversation began, or why I was overhearing it, but mainly what happened is there was a small boy asking his mother for something to drink. He could not have been more than four. They were some ways off—over near a wooden deck or balcony or railing.
She said she didn’t have anything for him and didn’t know where anything was, in the way of parents who don’t want to do anything for their children at that moment. Always good, better anyway, to be at a party without one’s four-year-old than with, and she was trying.
He said it’s right over there, and pointed in my direction.
“Over there,” the boy said, still pointing at me. “Next to the fat guy.”
I am the fat guy.