When you’re on Facebook and you read your childhood best friend, who has been in and out of prison for much of his adult life, talk about how Donald Trump is going to prevent sand jockeys from blowing us all up, and then you read a post by a colleague, a Muslim and a black man, about his granddaughter graduating college after her father, your colleague’s son, was shot and killed by a police officer twenty years ago, and you want to put your childhood friend and your colleague into conversation with each other. But you know that would be a bad idea, that every major American schism—race, religion, education, class—separates them, that the only connection they have is your affection for both of them, and you realize that your affection probably means very little to them when faced with the social constructs to which they’ve adapted themselves. You see in advance your colleague trying to teach your friend, your friend demanding what right your colleague has to teach him anything, and both of them blocking each other, and perhaps you, on Facebook, and you realize how shallow, how easy to break our connections with each other are, how deep and impenetrable our differences.

What are the Sneaky Feels?

AuthorJohn Proctor