the only thing mister e remembers from high school is a poem he read in english class somewhere between the romeo & juliet cycle called "my papa's waltz" by theodore roethke. the cool thing about the poem is that it can be interpreted in two ways but he thinks he understands the first way—how the little boy is abused by his alcoholic father—because he was a little boy once and his father used to throw him around the kitchen while his mother didn't do anything but pretend nothing was happening even though something waswaswas and now he's the spitting image of his father because mister e used to throw his own son around the kitchen while his wife didn't do anything but pretend nothing was happening even though something waswaswas (and then she moved out and gave him back his ring and now he's molded into a recliner staring at the black ants scrambling across the white tv screen). he drinks down excuses on weekday nights and throws them up on weekend mornings because if mister e learned anything from high school it is that the rotting apple doesn't fall far from the dilapidated tree.