June 19, 2013
My name is Suzanne and I live in Ilium, New York, and my family works at a paper mill. Everyone in Ilium works at the very same paper mill, and each morning goes like this:

I don my fedora, and my parents don their book bags. They have no use for their bookbags; likewise, I have no use for a fedora. We converge at the dining table and eat powdered eggs with runny cheese, so brightly yellow that you would think it was manufactured in a paint factory. (They assure me it wasn’t.)

Later, we diverge at the door, and I turn to the left, making my way towards school. Across the street, in neat parallel lines, my friends do the same. To a four four beat, we march smartly, and of course, the loud speakers never match up (it can only underwhelm itself) to our heavy feet. We are the future of America. We are the future, and we march to our own beat.

My mother and father, of average height and average looks, turn to the right, forming their own parallel lines with the other parents. They do not march; they trudge towards the paper mill, wearing book bags filled with air and lint.

I am of average height and average looks, and my parents assure me I wasn’t made in a factory. I have no idea why they would say so, because I have never entertained that notion.

My name is Suzanne, and I have no need for a last name, and I live in Ilium, New York. I march to school, and my parents trudge to work, and we are a boring family living in a paper town.

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