When you think of the What-If’s particular to your own small existence: What if your mother hadn’t divorced her abusive husband when you were sixteen after he beat her unconscious with a chair? What if you hadn’t decided to cram for the ACT your senior year to make up for a wasted high school education that left you ranked 347th in a senior class of 659 students? What if you’d decided to continue sorting Cool Whip lids at Packer Plastics the summer after your senior year instead of late-enrolling at a community college? What if you’d somehow remained sane when the girl you loved from your hometown broke up with you when you’d returned home from college to settle down with her after your senior year? What if your friends hadn’t found a four-plex building in Sunnyside, Queens and paid your share of the first month’s rent so you could move to New York City with $200 in your pocket and no job? What about every temp job you took, every girl you dated, every night you went out with people you barely knew and ended the night with other people you barely knew—each of these was a flashpoint, a direction your life could have taken but mostly didn’t. That’s when you feel how monumentally lucky you are to be husband and father to possibly the poorest family in Park Slope.

What are the Sneaky Feels?

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AuthorJohn Proctor