Thomas was a lay about, a do-nothing and go-nowhere kind of person. His parents hated it, but they were born of a generation that valued careers and had run through the ringer of meritocracy. It’s hard to see alternatives when you’ve worn blinders for your whole life.
The thing about Thomas was that he was actually very good at doing nothing. He’d taken the sin of sloth and transformed it into a virtue, an artform. You see, the trouble with Thomas was that, in addition to a chronic laziness in all things, he was intelligent. If you placed him on an IQ bell curve, he’d sit somewhere near where it starts to turn into the peak, where it denotes the real geniuses. He wasn’t a real genius, of course, but then again, he had never been measured by any standard. Thomas had dropped out of ‘organized education’, as he liked to call it, before his sixteenth birthday. He’d still managed to learn to drive a car and afford his first official drink in a real adult bar, so he’d never felt like he’d lost anything by leaving school. “Besides,” he would say whenever asked about it, “I can always go back. There’re probably more adult education programs in this world than there are ones for the youth.” And he wouldn’t be wrong, although folks who’d hear him talk like that and who’d had to suffer through their own youth education without any option to leave would begrudge him the sentiment and, even if they never directly expressed it, would feel that Thomas was somehow inferior to them.
That was the value that Thomas provided. He was, in a way, a walking pool of reflection. An outside observer, one who knew Thomas and his history, who witnessed interactions between the young man and his peers, could glean a fascinating insight to the various biases and predilections of society.
First draft: 150222