When I was a child, my mother drove my sister and me to Memphis one day to visit a dentist. In the dentist’s lobby, I picked up a magazine and ripped through the pages, most filled with picture of watches and champagne bottles and boats and smiling families. I turned to a photo of a man and his wife stepping out of a luxury car—their car, presumably—parked outside a large house. The grass on their lawn was beyond-belief green, immaculately groomed.
Even to an eleven year old boy, I understood what the image represented. I want that life, I decided. When I grow up, I’m going to have that.
I never thought to ask, was that couple happy? Was the husband cheating on the wife? Did they talk to each other at the dinner table? Or were they strangers, two models paid to pose next to each other?