“I’m going to read this,” the father said, holding up the book.
His daughter stared at him. “You haven’t already?” she said, her disbelief radiating brightly.
“Well, no– I just never got around to it,” he said.
“What are you reading?” his wife said, stepping in from the hallway.
He showed her. She looked worried. “Oh, be careful reading that on the bus,” she said.
“Well, you sit in the back among all those drug-dealers and punks,” she said. “You know, they’re all homophobic.”
He blinked. “So a guy my age who reads this book is gay?”
“No, no,” the wife said, “but they’ll think you’re gay.”
His daughter wore a I-can’t-believe-she-went-there look on her face.
His son came up the stairs from where he’d been battling aliens in the basement family room. He spied the book in his father’s hand, and his eyes went wide. “I sense a great disturbance in the Force,” he said.
“You’re too young to be that sarcastic,” the father said.
“It’s just…I’ve never seen you read anything other than sci-fi,” the son said.
The father grimaced. “‘Doth not the appetite alter? a man loves the meat in his youth that he cannot endure in his age.’ And vice versa.”
His son looked dubious. “Ok, when you start quoting Shakespeare, Dad, it’s time to exeunt omnes.”
“You’re so behind the rest of the world,” his daughter said.
“Just be careful,” his wife said.
“I’m going to work,” the father said, through gritted teeth.
At the bus stop, he pulled the book out of his backpack as the bus approached. A young woman, waiting in the crowd, eyed the cover. “Are you a professor?” she asked.
“Good grief,” he said.
He found a seat in the back. The kid in the baggy pants sitting across from him saw the cover and sneered. The father resolutely opened the book.
Now, let’s see what I have been missing.
‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife’.