The Virtual World / The Natural World

A Man Possessed

I was painting a rich white man's house ...
The Painter

I am a painter, not much else. Houses are what I mostly work on, sometimes apartments. It’s not glamorous but it pays the bills and puts food on the table. I have a wife and two boys. Eight and twelve. They really grow up fast, shit. I paint and I eat with my family and I go to sleep. Things are steady. I love my wife and my kids, but I am angry. I am tired of all of this. I paint. I eat. I hug my kids. I go to sleep. I wake up and repeat six days a week, and I am angry. I can do better, for them at least. I can do better. But I am tired. I paint and I paint and I paint and I sweat – and I get a check. No one congratulates me and no one notices me. I kind of ... blend in with the paint. I don’t like my work, but I am good at it. I am quick and I am efficient. I am a hard worker, but I get tired like the rest of you. Sometimes I just want to hop off the ladder, remove my overalls and walk – doesn’t matter too much where. I want to walk until everything is all right. I paint houses for rich white men who enjoy the feeling of masturbation. Men who want the house painted because their wives want the house painted. “Change,” she says. “Change is good, so let’s accept it. Let’s paint the house, honey.” Men with nice black slacks who drive nice black cars. Men who define success as blind attention – devotion for the sake of devotion. I don’t want to be like that. I want success and money for my family, but I can’t become someone I am not. I am a painter, not much else. My family is my everything, my only motivation. A little selfish isn’t it? To bring two more people into this world so you’ll care about yours enough to keep going. It’s what we did though. Now we have two boys and I work for them. I put up with horseshit for them. And for her. She is the only woman I will ever love. 

I was painting a rich white man’s house last week when he came out of the back door and mentioned a spot I had missed. He pointed to it and became angry. “Why haven’t you gotten that spot yet?” He held a beer with his right hand and pointed the tip toward me, snapping his jaws and stripping me of dignity. He was lowering his moral standards just talking to me. “When are you going to paint that spot?” I told him I was getting to it, that it was just about to be painted. “I want that spot painted and I want this house to look good. I want to look good, yes. Yes.” He walked away. “Stupid nigger,” he mumbled under his breath as he opened the patio door. That was all I needed. That was it. He shut the door like the cocksucker he was, and I went to my car to grab a can of black paint. I brought it back and began painting over the white coat I started earlier. I painted like a man possessed. I slammed the brush against the wood and watched the bristles spray off in every direction, spattering black paint everywhere. I dipped my entire brush in paint again and drew a thick, black line across the wall. I stuck my hand into the bucket and soaked it in the paint. Then I punched the wall until my knuckles bled, which didn’t take long. I hopped off the ladder and threw the dripping bucket at the wall. The man came outside but I was already gone. I walked away.

—Cliff Weber

108 comments on the article “A Man Possessed”

Displaying 51 - 60 of 108

Page 6 of 11

Anonymous

just stumbled upon your website; not sure what it's all about here. But, if this crybaby story -inside bad poetry- is any indication of the theme, then se ya. It's way too easy to paint the rich as assholes and the poor as determined good guys.
So where does that put the middle class? Are they well-meaning douchebags?

All, it's time to stop complaining. Work sucks for EVERYONE sometimes, even for those who love their jobs. One reason is because EVERYONE answers to someone. Accountability is necessary.

I live in Central Florida where the contractors are some of the worst in the States. It's a haven for the ambitious phony with no talent. Hundreds of painters, small-job specialists, lawn maintenance, roofers, etc. have failed me 95% of the time. They all sell a good job, but deliver absolute crap. I've learned to micro-manage them to avoid further losses. And guess what, I'm a worker bee, too. I bust my ass and try to save for repairs and maintenance like the next guy. And when a contractor lets me down, I feel incensed: Good money thrown away again. However, I don't call anyone names: I just run them off the site and don't pay them the final, until what was sold to me is delivered. I don't expect the level of care and skill I would deliver, I expect what was agreed upon in contract.

Nobody owes you anything, Cliff, ever. And money is tight for EVERYONE. With this in mind, show-up keep-up, and shut-up. Save your fictitious "my boss is a bad guy" story for your psychiatrist.

Anonymous

just stumbled upon your website; not sure what it's all about here. But, if this crybaby story -inside bad poetry- is any indication of the theme, then se ya. It's way too easy to paint the rich as assholes and the poor as determined good guys.
So where does that put the middle class? Are they well-meaning douchebags?

All, it's time to stop complaining. Work sucks for EVERYONE sometimes, even for those who love their jobs. One reason is because EVERYONE answers to someone. Accountability is necessary.

I live in Central Florida where the contractors are some of the worst in the States. It's a haven for the ambitious phony with no talent. Hundreds of painters, small-job specialists, lawn maintenance, roofers, etc. have failed me 95% of the time. They all sell a good job, but deliver absolute crap. I've learned to micro-manage them to avoid further losses. And guess what, I'm a worker bee, too. I bust my ass and try to save for repairs and maintenance like the next guy. And when a contractor lets me down, I feel incensed: Good money thrown away again. However, I don't call anyone names: I just run them off the site and don't pay them the final, until what was sold to me is delivered. I don't expect the level of care and skill I would deliver, I expect what was agreed upon in contract.

Nobody owes you anything, Cliff, ever. And money is tight for EVERYONE. With this in mind, show-up keep-up, and shut-up. Save your fictitious "my boss is a bad guy" story for your psychiatrist.

makimoto

to everyone who's bashing this "smaltz" or whatever the fuck you call it, shut the fuck up. it's class warfare baby, & it doesn't always have to be relevant or current to make sense.

wake up and smell the poetry.

makimoto

to everyone who's bashing this "smaltz" or whatever the fuck you call it, shut the fuck up. it's class warfare baby, & it doesn't always have to be relevant or current to make sense.

wake up and smell the poetry.

Anonymous

Class warfare my ass. It's a poorly-written fantasy of what it would be like to be a black guy, written by some guilt-ridden middle class kid like you.

Anonymous

Class warfare my ass. It's a poorly-written fantasy of what it would be like to be a black guy, written by some guilt-ridden middle class kid like you.

Rembrant

Im sorry did you say poetry? POETRY???
Here's a poem for you.
There once was a man on a ladder,
Who only got madder and madder,
Someone called him a name,
He sees all white men the same
and now white people look badder and badder!

Rembrant

Im sorry did you say poetry? POETRY???
Here's a poem for you.
There once was a man on a ladder,
Who only got madder and madder,
Someone called him a name,
He sees all white men the same
and now white people look badder and badder!

Pages

Add a new comment

Comments are closed.