Portnoy's Complaint

A Jewish man with his parents alive is half the time a helpless infant!

American society [...] not only sanctions gross and unfair relations among men, but it encourages them. Now, can that be denied? No. Rivalry, competition, envy, jealousy, all that is malignant in human character is nourished by the system. Possession, money, property--on such corrupt standards as these do you people measure happiness and success.

Doctor doctor, what do you say, lets put the id back in yid

Doctor, I had never had anybody like her in my life, she was the fulfillment of my most lascivious adolescent dreams– but marry her, can she be serious? You see, for all her preening and
perfumes, she has a very low opinion of herself, and simultaneously– and here is the source of much of
our trouble-a ridiculously high opinion of me. And simultaneously, a very low opinion of me! She is
one confused Monkey, and, I'm afraid, not too very bright.

Doctor Spielvogel, it alleviates nothing fixing the blame - blaming is still ailing, of course, of course - but nonetheless, what was it with these Jewish parents, what, that they were able to make us little Jewish boys believe ourselves to be princes on the one hand, unique as unicorns on the one hand, geniuses and brilliant like nobody has ever been brilliant and beautiful before in the history of childhood - saviors and sheer perfection on the one hand, and such bumbling, incompetent, thoughtless, helpless, selfish, evil little shits, little ingrates, on the other!

Dreams? If only they had been! But I don't need dreams, Doctor, that's why I hardly have them—because I have this life instead. With me it all happens in broad daylight!

È mai possibile che questi individui siano attrezzati di tutto il macchinario necessario, un cervello, una spina dorsale, e le quattro aperture per le orecchie e gli occhi - attrezzatura, Signora Nimkin, che può sbalordire quasi quanto la Tv a colori - eppure viversi tutta l’esistenza senza la minima idea di quelli che sono i sentimenti e i desideri di una persona qualsiasi al di fuori di loro stessi?

Forse è tutto ciò che sono realmente: un leccatore di figa, una bocca schiava del buco femminile. Lecca! E così sia! Forse la soluzione più saggia per me è vivere a quattro zampe! Strisciare attraverso la vita ingozzandomi di passera, lasciando che a raddrizzare i torti e a fare i padri di famiglia siano le creature erette!

I am marked like a road map from head to toe with my repressions. You can travel the length and breadth of my body over superhighways of shame and inhibition and fear.

I am the Raskolnikov of jerking off – the sticky evidence is everywhere!

I can lie about my name, I can lie about my school, but how am I going to lie about this fucking nose? "You seem like a very nice person Mr. Porte-Noir, but why do you go around covering the middle of your face like that?" Because suddenly it has taken off, the middle of my face! Because gone is the button of my childhood years, that pretty little thing that people used to look at in my carriage, and lo and behold, the middle of my face has begun to reach out towards God. Porte-Noir and Parsons my ass, kid, you have got J-E-W written right across the middle of your face...

I’m the only one who gives her a whole can of tuna for lunch, and I’m not talking dreck, either. I’m talking Chicken of the Sea, Alex.

In school we chanted, along with our teacher, I am the Captain of my fate, I am the Master of my soul, and meanwhile, within my own body, an anarchic insurrection had been launched by one of my privates- which I was helpless to put down!

It’s a family joke that when I was a tiny child I turned from the window out of which I was watching a snowstorm, and hopefully asked, "Momma, do we believe in winter?

Jesus Christ, who they go around telling everyone was God, was actually a Jew! and this fact, that absolutely kills me when I have to think about it, nobody else pays attention to. That he was a Jew, and they took a Jew and turned him into some kind of God after he is already dead, and then- this is what can make you absolutely crazy- then the dirty bastards turn around afterwards and who is the first one on their list to persecute? who haven't they left their hands off of to murder and to hate for two thousand years: The Jews!

Oh, to be a center fielder, a center fielder- and nothing more

Refusing! And she is after me with a broom, trying to sweep my rotten carcass into the open. Why, shades of Gregor Samsa! Hello Alex, goodbye Franz! "You better tell me you're sorry, you, or else! And I don't mean maybe either!" I am five, maybe six, and she is or-elsing me and not-meaning-maybe as though the firing squad is already outside, lining the street with newspaper preparatory to my execution.

Religion is the opiate of the people!

Será que considero esta inquietação, este desvario, como uma doença - ou como um talento? Como ambos? Pode ser. Ou será que é apenas um meio de fuga? Olhe, pelo menos não me encontro casado, aos trinta e poucos, com uma criatura decente, cujo corpo deixou de ter para mim qualquer interesse genuíno - pelo menos não tenho de ir para cama todas as noites com alguém que vez por outra marreto por obrigação, ao invés de desejo. Quero referir-me à horrenda depressão que algumas pessoas experimentam na hora de ir para a cama...Por outro lado, mesmo eu devo admitir que talvez exista, de uma certa perspectiva, algo um tanto deprimente quanto à minha situação, também. É claro que não posso ter tudo; é o que me parece. A questão, porém, que desejo enfrentar é: tenho eu alguma coisa?

She was so deeply imbedded in my consciousness that for the first year of school I seem to have believed that each of my teachers was my mother in disguise.

So. Now you know the worst thing I have ever done. I fucked my own family's dinner.

Spring me from this role I play of the smothered son in the Jewish joke! Because it's beginning to pall a little at thirty-three!

The legend engraved on the face of the Jewish nickel– on the body of every Jewish child!– not IN GOD WE TRUST, but SOMEDAY YOU'LL BE A PARENT AND YOU'LL KNOW WHAT IT'S LIKE.

They worship a Jew, do you know that, Alex? Their whole big-deal religion is based on worshiping someone who was an established Jew at that time. Now how do you like that for stupidity? How do you like that for pulling the wool over the eyes of the public? Jesus Christ, who they go around telling everybody was God, was actually a Jew! And this fact, that absolutely kills me when I have to think about it, nobody else pays any attention to. That he was a Jew, like you and me, and that they took a Jew and turned him into some kind of God after he is already dead, and then - and this is what can make you absolutely crazy - then the dirty bastards turn around afterwards, and who is the first one on their list to persecute? Who haven't they left their hands off of to murder and to hate for two thousand years? The Jews! Who gave them their beloved Jesus to begin with! I assure you, Alex, you are never going to hear such a mishegoss of mixed-up crap and disgusting nonsense as the Christian religion in your entire life. And that's what these big shots, so-called, believe!

Well, good Christ, how was I supposed to know all that, Hannah? Who looks into the fine points when he's hungry? I'm eight years old and chocolate pudding happens to get me hot. All I have to do is see that deep chocolatey surface gleaming out at me from the refrigerator, and my life isn't my own.

Were we just two more rootless jungle-dwelling erotomaniacs creamining in their pre-faded jeans over Historical New England, dreaming the old agrarian dream in their rent-a-car convertible

What use to skip those two grades in grammar school and get such a jump on everybody else,
when the result is to wind up so far behind?

Why doesn’t she call the cops and get me shipped off to children’s prison, if this is how incorrigible I really am? “Alexander Portnoy, aged five, you are hereby sentenced to hang by your neck until you are dead for refusing to say you are sorry to your mother.” You’d think the child lapping up their milk and taking baths with his duck and his boats in their tub was the most wanted criminal in America.

You can no more make someone tell the truth than you can force someone to love you.