|Funny, about Harry and
When God hadn't a friend in the world, back there in
the Sixties, he couldn't
let go of Him, and now when the preachers are all
praying through bullhorns
he can't get it up for Him. He is like a friend
you've had so long
you've forgotten what you liked about Him. You'd
think that after
that heart scare, but in a way the closer you get the
less you think about
it, like you're in His hand already. Like you're
out on the [basketball]
court instead of on the bench swallowing down
butterflies and trying to
remember the plays....
Sometimes Harry envies Mim and the glamorous dangerous life he guesses she's lived, he's glad for her, even if it flipped her off the handlebars, but the fast lane gets to be a rut, and he doesn't regret the life he led, though Brewer is a dull enough town, not New York New York or Chicago my kind of town the way Sinatra grinds it out. What he enjoyed most, it turns out in retrospect, and he didn't know it at the time, was standing around in the [auto] showroom, behind the dusty big window with the banners, bouncing on the balls of his feet to keep up his leg muscles, waiting for a customer, shooting the bull with Charlie or whoever, earning his paycheck, filling his slot in the big picture, doing his bit, getting a little recognition. That's all we want from each other, recognition. Your assigned place in the rat race. In the Army too, you had it: your number, your bunk, your assigned duties, your place in line, your pass on Saturday night, four beers and fuck a whore in a ranch house....There's more to being human than having your own way. Fact is, it has come to Rabbit this late in life, you don't have a way, except what people tell you. Your mother first, and poor Pop, then the Lutheran minister,...then all those school teachers...trying to give you and angle to work from, and now all these talk-show hosts. Your life derives, and has to give.
---John Updike, Rabbit at Rest (1990).