Survival Tips For A Son

Wear heavy clothing.
Avoid making eye contact.
Speak clearly.
Don’t spill or trip or
even think about sassing.
Always eat everything on your plate,
the scalded soup in your bowl.
Never say, “I don’t know.”
When you’re in the car, only look out the window
but refrain from studying other people’s homes and yards
because that’s what normal homes and yards and families look like.
Go ahead and create imaginary friends,
lots of them.
Lie to your schoolmates about your birthday and Christmas
and what Thanksgiving is like.
Try very hard not to think you’re crazy,
that life is hell and you’d just like to die and be done with it.
Last thing:
pretend you’re as big as a bear,
that you have sharp fangs and claws
and that someday when you’re older
you’ll use them.

Len Kuntz is an writer from Washington State and the author of the story collection, The Dark Sunshine, from Connotation Press. Additionally, he’s an editor at the online lit zine Literary Orphans. You can find him at

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