The Other Side

by Ilya Leybovich

     Among the many unexpected consequences of my father’s death was the political realignment it provoked in me. Until that point I’d been a soft-shell liberal, donating twice a year to NPR and complaining about oil drilling in the national parks or tax cuts for people with three commas in their net worth, but was otherwise content to do my job and pet my dog and lift pints with a friend once in a while without worrying about the end of civilization. My father, on the other hand, had been a reactionary. In his final years, he was disappointed by the soullessness and stupidity of the clown president’s administration, but nonetheless adhered to musty notions of individuality, less government, fewer handouts, and an absence of special treatment for anyone regardless of how much racism or sexism or lead poisoning they’d endured. He was saddled, too, with a pre-therapeutic concept of masculinity. By his standard, the ideal man could replace a U-trap and repair an ignition coil while reciting the canon from Herodotus to Hemingway, and his sole responsibility was bringing home a paycheck without acknowledging he ever felt any feelings. You’d think we’d hate each other, but we got along splendidly in our difference.

     

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Audio: Ilya Leybovich reads from'“The Other Side”