||Zinsky the Obscure
There once was a class sewing project, the theme of which was "jobs." Each third grader was expected to create - with felt, thread, and stuffing - a doll-sized human, performing mommy or daddy's particular vocation.
(from Chapter 2, "If You Ponder Suicide at Age Nine, You're Not Like All the Rest")
The nine-year-old Ariel was the only child in the class requiring Negro-colored felt to create the skin of his stuffed human. For the young Ariel - instead of sewing a tall, bedenimed Barbara, standing by the chalkboard, or a goateed Robert, gazing intently into his personal computer - the young Ariel took it upon himself to sew a football player named Freeman McNeil who (at the time) was a star running back for the New York Jets.
Mr. Bradley asked if my father really was a football player; and he laughed aloud at my insistence that I'd been adopted at age two by Freeman McNeil himself.