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Chapter 1:- New Year, Old Fear (1 January 2012)
Jake flees into the freeze. No, he isn't the type of person who spends New Year's Day philosophically wandering around in the snow on some sort of annual visionquest or self-evaluation.

That is the problem. Jake is afraid that he doesn't know what type of person he is. Or he's afraid that he does know what type of person he is, and that's the type of person who ends up living under his parents' roof forever, not by choice because he loves them and they love him and they're one happy family--La la la! Everyone join hands and sing! La la la!--who can't stand to be apart from one another, but only because he's incapable of doing anything else and being treated like an eternal twelve-year-old beats being homeless.

Jake checks off his characteristics as he walks north towards Lake Eerie. He's unemployed. Check. He graduated with a master's degree in history, and to guarantee that he would never be able to get a real job or continue in his education, wrote a master's thesis on villains in professional wrestling entitled "'I've Been To A Lot Of Places Around The Country And I've Gotta Tell You, Your City By Far Has The Ugliest People I've Ever Seen': A History Of The Heel In Professional Wrestling." Check. While writing his thesis, he apparently fell into a variation of method-acting and started acting like a badguy wrestler in real life so his girlfriend dumped him right after he graduated in December, therefore throwing his future into what, if one were being extremely charitable, would only call a tizzy, and not a sinkhole filled with used cat litter from the two cats she also left behind when she left him. Check. As a result, at twenty-five, after years of being on his own, he has moved, cats in tow, back in with his parents. Check. Who, combined with his sister, are driving him batshit. Check. For example, when he decided the cold and snow were preferable to staying inside the warmth of the house, his father was yelling at the hockey players on television, his mother was yelling at his father that the hockey players on television couldn't hear him, and his hungover sister was yelling at them that, unlike the hockey players, she indeed could hear both of them.

Now, while walking the cold streets of Lackwood, Ohio USA, Jake realizes that he has nowhere else to go. He wanders into a park, which appears to be deserted except for him, and looks out at the lake stretching all the way to Canada. Lake gulls call to one another and one flies over and shits on the front of Jake's coat. Surprisingly, Jake takes it stoically and picks up some snow and rubs the still wet droppings off his coat. He thinks "Well, the gull has made it official. I've bottomed out as an adult. I'm the human equivalent of newspaper lining the bottom of a birdcage." Depressed, he shuffles over to a bench, and not bothering to clear any snow away, plops down on it. As the damp chill seeps into his jeans, he thinks, "Well, at least I still have my blog."
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