Monday, November 10, 2014

"Xs and Os"

"Xs and Os" is told in the point of view of Scotty Haussman. One day, Scotty was sitting on a park bench, reading a magazine that he had stolen. In the magazine, there was an article about his old friend, Bennie Salazar. Scotty learns from this article that Bennie had become an extremely successful music producer with his own label. He then decides to write Bennie a letter congratulating him on his success. Scotty receives a reply five days later. It was clearly typed by a secretary who was being told what to say. Scotty tries not to think about Bennie's success and does so by going fishing. He catches a large bass, one of the greatest fish he has ever caught. In this moment, he decides to go visit Bennie. Before the visit, Scotty dry cleans his jacket, even though it is not dirty. Scotty does this often. He wants people to think he has someplace to go, even if he does not. He believes in Xs and Os, random factors that decide who is "in" and who is "out." This makes him feel as if everyone one is equal. While everyone may be equal, not each person feels equivalent to the next. The idea of random factors break down the social hierarchy into something more simple rather than complex.
During the visit with Bennie, Scotty asks Bennie what happened between "A and B." He says that “A is when we were both in the band, chasing the same girl. B is now”(76).  Bennie claims that he worked extremely hard to get to where he was. When Bennie said this, Scotty began to doubt the ideology of the Xs and Os. He and Bennie had the same experiences growing up, so why were their lives so different? The main reason Scotty began to doubt his ideology is because he did not want to feel less important that Bennie. Scotty was so obsessed with the idea of Xs and Os and everyone being equal, that he became jealous of his friend.

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