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Her Son, the Teen-Aged Ascetic

- Abstract

A man may remember his childhood with pleasure, but where is one who does not wince at the memory of his adolescence?

-JOHN A. RICE, I Came Out of the 18th Century

ALL that ninety-degree summer, Pete frantically pedaled his bicycle-in a frenzy of sexual tension, loneliness, and gastric upset. He rode eight miles, each way, to the pool in order to swim two miles every day. He rode out in the countryside for still more exercise, and on city streets at night. He rode downtown to the health-food store where he worked Saturdays and bought his supplies. He would not ride, for any reason, in a car. He lived on large doses of natural vitamins and protein supplements. All ordinary food posed some kind of threat: preservatives, dyes, refining processes, diethylstilbestrol, sugar, saturated fats, the paralyzing requirements of a well-balanced diet, or-merely-some digestive agony of his private experience.

He was sixteen. He was obsessed with guarding his health. Small for his age anyway, he had lost fifteen pounds. He was exhausting himself. One night, he rode off on his bike threatening to throw himself under a car.

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