The Family Handbook of Mortal Conditions | Luxofilia



By Rob Ehle

The Family Handbook of Mortal Conditions has been conceived as a monthly random match of mortal sin with family member to create a helpful home reference, not unlike the Merck Manual or the DSM IV.

Once upon a time there was a boy who could buy anything. He was so rich that he didn’t even look at ads or commercials, because he already had everything. If he wanted anything new, it had to be invented. He had commissioned a species of butterfly, and he also had a silent motorcycle, for spying. Because his resources were limitless, he became obsessed with impossible things. When his father had a skyscraper made to replace his bedroom, he was disappointed it didn’t hover. The two worst days of the year were Christmas and his birthday. Being a nice person was a constant struggle. He tried giving things away, but this only worked for awhile, because although his friends were grateful, they also fawned on him and it was obvious they only hung around to get stuff. Or sometimes it wasn’t obvious, which was even worse. He was never sure who honestly liked him, and who was just trying to use him. His parents had grown up very poor and had done everything to keep their son from want. They couldn’t understand how wealth could be the curse he told them it was. “A nice problem to have,” they always replied. The only time he didn’t feel bored or ornery was when a new project was in the works. For those few weeks he was a pleasant and engaging boy. He loved to be around other kids then, would joke with them, play some ball, go to his friends’ houses. He would do what he could to cheer up anybody who was having a bad day. Just knowing there was still something left to get was what made his life bearable and interesting. Once things stopped coming to him, it would mean the world had stopped turning. He was truly a miserable boy.


Read more here from Rob Ehle’s project, The Family Handbook of Mortal Conditions. Rob will be reading from a new story on October 10 at The Lone Palm, in San Francisco.


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