Two years before his high school graduation, he was already planning on writing a one-act play which would be based on his 10-year class reunion. The protagonist would be single, as the playwright expected himself to be in a dozen years, and the central struggle of the play, the drama that would captivate audiences and draw praise from envious critics (!), would be the protagonist’s triumph over his simmering hostility towards his classmates. He was challenged, though, to come up with an appropriate title — something that was neither melodramatic nor ostentatious. Yes, the title was a problem.
He imagined that he was evaluated not on the basis of his talents, but rather on his deficiencies — a near perfect projection of his own anxiety and frustration.
Over the many years of their marriage, each had subconsciously learned and adapted to the other’s converstational patterns. He had learned to never answer her yes/no questions immediately – “Are you ready to go yet?” — as she would often follow that question with its opposite — “Or do you need a few minutes?”
He noticed that he was often monosyllabic in the morning, conversing in terse grunts which met the minimum requirements of polite society. Even “hello” was beyond his linguistic powers before 10 AM — a strained “hi” was all he could muster. Applying this adjective to himself seemed particularly ironic, seeing as monosyllabic was a particularly polysyllabic word.