Tim Sandlin: Social Blunders

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Tim Sandlin Social Blunders
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    Social Blunders
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Social Blunders: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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Sam Callahan's mother told him she was raped by four football players when she was 14. One of them is his father, but which? She lied; actually, she paid them for sex. Anyway, Sam contacts each of the men and causes endless trouble. Soon, an affair with the wife of one man, an attraction to the daughter of another, and an attempted suicide have Sam running for his life. Wonderful characters spout outrageous dialog and perform even more outrageous acts. Sandlin's wild, wonderful, and wickedly funny romps conclude the trilogy that began with Skipped Parts (Ivy Bks., 1989) and continued in Sorrow Floats (LJ 8/92). Social Blunders can be read independently of the previous volumes. The tale is a little naughty, a little sentimental, and completely entertaining. Highly recommended.

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Copyright © 1995 by Tim Sandlin

Cover and internal design © 2010 by Sourcebooks, Inc.

Cover design by Jessie Sayward Bright

Cover image © Frank Herholdt/Getty Images

Sourcebooks and the colophon are registered trademarks of Sourcebooks, Inc.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems—except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews—without permission in writing from its publisher, Sourcebooks, Inc.

The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.

The lines excerpted from “The Theory and Practice of Rivers” by Jim Harrison (© 1985, all rights reserved) are used with his permission.

Published by Sourcebooks Landmark, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc.

P.O. Box 4410, Naperville, Illinois 60567-4410

(630) 961-3900

Fax: (630) 961-2168


Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Sandlin, Tim.

Social blunders / Tim Sandlin.


I wrote this for old Fred, young Kyle, and loyal Flip;

in memory of Richard Koeln and Mimi Levinson; and because of Carol


As usual with my books, this was a group effort. Teri Krumdick and Vici Skladanowski helped with the research. Tina Welling, Yana Sue Salomon, and my mom read earlier drafts; their comments were vital to the process. Drs. Sandy Chesney and Bruce Hayse showed me the ropes of disease and death. While Mark Wade and Grant Richins at Valley Mortuary assisted with funeral arrangements, those fine professionals are nothing in any way, shape, or visualization similar to the funeral directors I created in this novel. Competence doesn’t go over well in fiction.

I spent an interesting morning at the Red Hills Ranch kitchen table, listening to Sarah Sturges and Paula Lasson talk about winter in the mountains beyond the reach of plowed roads while a guest stitched up a slice in Paula’s son’s hand. As the Kiowas used to say, nothing was wasted.

Bert and Meg Raynes are my role models.

Special thanks go to Les and Maggie Gibson at Pearl Street Bagels for daily cranking me up on coffee, and Steve Ashley, owner of Valley Books, who gave me sanctuary.

Social Blunders

The days are stacked against what we think we are: it is nearly impossible to surprise ourselves. I will never wake up and be able to play the piano.

—Jim Harrison, “The Theory and Practice of Rivers”

Love is having to say you’re sorry every fifteen minutes.

—John Lennon


Maurey reached for my Coke and drained it. “They shaved me again.”

“I thought that was only for abortions.”

“Doctors must shave every time they poke around down there. I might as well start shaving myself like Mom, save them the trouble.”

Maurey looked awfully chipper, considering she’d just broken her leg and had a baby. Her hair was brushed shiny, and her eyes glittered blue with interest at the baby stuck to her breast. A surf of love rolled over me, only more for Maurey than the baby. The baby was still a little abstract.

She held out a Bic pen. “Want to sign my cast?”

Her encased left leg hung by this pulley-and-hook deal. Her toes were gray.

“Does it hurt?”

“Itches like king-hell, but doesn’t hurt.”

“You never said king-hell before.”

Maurey smiled, which was neat. “You’re rubbing off on me.”

“Holy moley.” I signed—Yer pal, Sam Callahan.

“Is the baby eating breakfast?”

Maurey parted the hospital gown to give me a better view of the baby’s mouth clamped to her nipple. She looked asleep. “Her name is Shannon.”

“That’s pretty, I never heard it before.”

Shannon’s cheeks sucked in and out and the eye I could see opened, then closed slowly, like a tortoise.

“Can I touch her?”

Maurey looked worried for a second. “Okay, but be gentle. Babies aren’t footballs.”

“They don’t travel as far when you kick ’em.”

Maurey didn’t like my joke a bit. For a moment I thought I’d blown the chance to touch my baby. We hemmed around and I apologized and Maurey asked me when was the last time I’d had a bath, which she knew full well was the warm springs.

“You didn’t mind yesterday.”

“Yesterday I was different.”

I sat on the edge of the bed and touched my daughter on the back of her leg, above the plastic ID anklet thing. She was soft as a bubblegum bubble and, I imagined, just as delicate. I had created this. These toes and eyelids and all the potential for greatness and badness and beauty had come from me. I started hyperventilating and had to bend over with my head between my knees.

“I hope she grows up to have my looks and Dad’s brains,” Maurey said.

“How about me?”

“She’ll have your hair.”

Part One



“Traumatic events always happen exactly two years before I reach the maturity level to deal with them,” I said, just to hear how the theory sounded out loud.

“Two years from now I could handle my wife running off with an illiterate pool man. Two years from now I will have the emotional capacity to survive another divorce.”

Hints that I might not survive the crisis cut no slack with my daughter. In fact, I wasn’t even certain she had heard my little speech. Shannon seemed totally absorbed in aiming a garden hose at the front grill of her Mustang. As she rinsed soap off the gleaming chrome, her eyes held a distracted softness that reminded me more than somewhat of the softness her mother’s eyes used to take on following an orgasm. Now, there’s an awful thought. According to the two-year theory, a day would come when I could accept my daughter having orgasms, but for now I’d rather drink Drano.

“They say divorce cripples men more than women,” I said. “Women cry and purge the pain while men internalize and fester.”

Shannon raised her head to peer at me through her thick bangs. “You’ve never internalized pain in your life. Heartbreak to you is like garlic to a cook.”

“Who told you such nonsense?”

“Mom. She says ever since you saw Hunchback of Notre Dame you’ve been looking for a Gypsy girl to swoop down and save. Then later you can die for her and feel your life wasn’t wasted.”

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