A Family Man

I entered his office early one Monday morning,
My feet swelling within these business shoes,
Designed not for comfort or even appearance,
But rather torture devices,
Cutting into my heels and binding my toes.

He smiled and stood,
Appearing to be at attention,
His smile pasted on,
I saw a semblance to a mannequin in the shop just passed.
He motioned that I should take a seat.

He began reading my resume,
As one would read a comic strip to a child.
I looked around his office,
To see certificates which could be bought and printed at home.
Photos of family,
Which seemed to be the ones used to sell frames.

The boredom was almost unbearable,
The attempts at communication forced.
He then said, “Are you a family man?”

“What the fuck is a ‘family man’?”,
I thought to myself.
I am a man,
I have a family.

“What is a family man?”, I asked,
With the straightest of faces.
He looked shocked,
With his chest collapsing.

“Perhaps you are not the sort of person we want!”
I responded that I would be happy to become a family man,
If it would help me land the job.

He sat at his desk,
Such a smug, little bastard.
I was sure his wife had never walked out on him,
Cuckold perhaps, but never aware.
He had his bored but dutiful wife,
A car full of kids,
Perhaps a campervan in the driveway,
For those idyllic family holidays.

He would live a few more years,
But his heart had already stopped.
Feeling so secure in his illusion,
He has forgotten to feel as another man.

If this is what his outdated concept of “family man” meant,
He could keep it,
Along with the menial job he offered and the one he held himself.

Gerald Lee Jordan
Diamond Harbour NZ
15 February 2013