Stockboy Nation: A Sequel
by Thomas Duffy Services

"Phillip started to think about life and the years he was given to make something out of himself. He felt saddened he had not become something more ‘essential’..."

Phillip is a smart, good-looking forty-something who expects to succeed. He’s been to college, fallen in love, and even published a few books. The good life is within his view; it is not, however, within his reach, thanks entirely to his apathy and inability to apply himself in any area that could pave a path to the good life he so fervently wants and thinks he deserves. That life is not a linear journey is particularly inconvenient for an entitled guy like Phillip. While successful people know that life is never a one-way elevator up and that pursuing cycles of failure and reward are natural and necessary, Phillip lives in the restrictive mindset that if it is not hand-delivered in a gift-wrapped package, it must be permanently out of reach.

This is his self-defeating perspective as he cohabitates with his fiance after their cross-country move from New York to San Diego, in a relationship that has devolved into squabbles over money and Phillip’s perpetual underemployment. As he meanders through interviews and menial jobs, and ultimately tries to outrun his failures back to New York and right into the coronavirus economic shutdown, he wallows and churns, waiting to be parented by his dates and professional peers, giving little to anyone and even less to himself. Plodding and transactional in its realistic depiction of life’s costs and chores, Phillip’s story could be that of anyone who gets stuck in a ditch and waits too long for rescue before finally grabbing a shovel and doing some of the hard work himself. His is an effective cautionary tale, offering an intimate peek into a stubbornly lazy mind and the dire consequences of waiting for life to happen.

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