Alan Parker lived next door. He was a very smart little boy, with a meticulous helmet of blond hair, blue eyes, and round little glasses. At school, Alan always had the answer, and always had his hand in the air so people would know he had the answer. At home, he was no less insufferable when we’d play together in the driveway of the duplex our families shared.
In nine years of life, Alan had developed into a tiny engine of ambition. He earned a green belt in Shotokan Karate and attended classes twice a week; in Webelos, no other scout earned as many badges or patches, or sold as much popcorn. When asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, he’d automatically respond, “a corporate attorney.” For his parents June and Philip Parker, Alan was a source of endless pride.
I was not a smart little boy, and nothing about me was meticulous. And when I grew up, I wanted to be the bearded lady.