If you have a good memory for movies, you may remember Nobody’s Fool (1994). Set in a declining town in upstate New York and based loosely on Richard Russo’s comedic novel, Nobody’s Fool stars Paul Newman as Donald “Sully” Sullivan, a feckless, sixty-year-old handyman who, in Russo’s words, has “led a life of studied unpreparedness.“ Although he is blessed with humane instincts and a generous heart, Sully’s devil-may-care attitude and his boyish penchant for mischief have too often sabotaged his better nature.
Sully’s sidekick and fellow bungler of odd jobs is a garbage collector named Rub Squeers, who plays a role in Sully’s adventures comparable to that of Sancho Panza in Don Quixote’s. Rub is just over five feet tall. His large head sits “like a medicine ball precariously balanced on his thick shoulders.” For most of his life Rub has seldom paid attention to much of anything. He finds attentiveness “hateful and exhausting,” and he considers inattention “normal human behavior.”
What Rub does do is wish, habitually and frequently. During a lull, when he and Sully are out of work, Rub wishes that “we’d just start up again like before.” Later, when they do find work, Rub wishes “we were all through with this job and sitting in The Horse eating a big ole cheeseburger.”* Wherever Rub might be, he wishes he were elsewhere. (more…)