There once was a man from Nantucket who always got asked if he was that man from Nantucket, and it angered him so. At first, in his youth, it was a fun and playful icebreaker. But even though he grew older, the limerick and the world did not. Meeting new people was a hassle.
“Where are you from?” the pie-faced tour guide would ask.
“Nowhere.”, the man would politely reply.
“Oh everybody is from somewhere, mister.”
“I’m from Massachusetts.”
“What part?” The tour guide simply couldn’t leave it alone.
“What difference does it make what specific area of a state I’m from?” the man would think to himself.
“Nantucket. I’m from Nantucket.”, he would say in surrender, after a long exhale, his eyes pointed at the floor.
It was an insufferable social rhythm. Women would ask if he was that man from Nantucket in front of his children; men younger than him would ask the same question in the sociable minutes before boardroom meetings. The man was pushed slowly to the edge by each new face he encountered. All he wanted was to be left alone. Why should he be the one to bear the grief of another? Many men were from Nantucket - why did one man with a weirdly narcissistic party trick have to ruin it for everyone else? The man was driven wild of mind, day after day, smiling stranger after smiling stranger. And like a child being teased, he knew that the only solution was to embrace the chaos and go with the flow. He woke early that morning to a Greatest Bagpipe Hits compact disc he’d gotten months ago when he thought he liked bagpipes before he would realize he did not. He took his ritualistic shower, put on his best pair of shoes, donned only his khaki trench coat, shut the still-unlocked door behind him, and stepped out into the world.
“Is this what you want?!!” he screamed maniacally to a full subway car as he tore open his trench coat. For the first time in a long time, the strangers first wondered if it was his birthday before they wondered where he was born. ‘I AM THE MAN FROM NANTUCKET!” he shouted, wearing only his birthday suit before a policeman tackled him to the ground. When the train reached its next stop, he had regained his wits and was escorted roughly from the train car into police custody. Jailed for indecent exposure, the man knew he would never work in this town again. Where could he show his face? His family would surely disown him. But as his fingers were inked and his file filled out, no one asked him where he was from; no one needed to know from which little part of a little state he hailed. It had been costly, but the man had gotten what he had always wanted.
There once was a man from Nantucket, who should have just said he was from Pittsburgh.