I saw Hamilton on Broadway — because I’m (sort of) young, scrappy, and hungry and also (very) white, privileged, and on trend — and boy did it inspire me. First of all, I immediately purchased Ron Chernow’s biography of Hamilton, which I haven’t started reading yet, but might at some point. Then, I memorized the lyrics to “Satisfied” (devoting an entire work day to it, my patients be damned). And most notably, in a year or so, my husband and I plan to orphan our eleven-year-old son. I know that sounds extreme, but I’ve listened to the album almost five hundred times and it is very clear that Hamilton became the man he was because nothing was handed to him. I need to stop handing things to my son. And I’m going to start by, as Eliza says, “erasing myself from the narrative.”
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, But what if your son becomes an Aaron Burr? He was an orphan too!
Yeah. That’s a concern.
What’s more of a concern, though, is my son’s unnerving chill-ness and his utter lack of incentive to prove himself to anyone. And he doesn’t even smoke pot yet! He’s a nice kid, eats his stupid vegetables, isn’t outspoken about anything, not even the unfortunate family name we stuck between his first and last (Poone), and prefers meandering around the backyard gathering bruised oranges to teaching himself French or reading philosophy translated from the Greek.
So yeah, I think I’ll take the risk that my son might become an Aaron Burr.
Besides, have you seen Leslie Odom Jr.’s portrayal of history’s most misunderstood man? Look, if my son becomes a well-regarded lawyer who can also sing and rap and dance with that kind of passion, who the hell am I to complain?
I actually encouraged him to duel it out with Rajiv, his arch nemesis from next door, just to get it out of his system, but he said he didn’t want anyone to get hurt.
“Hon,” I said, “Most disputes die and no one shoots.”
He asked, “Are you quoting Hamilton?”
“Yeah,” I said.
He shook his head. “Fine. Will you be my second?”
“But I’m the doctor!” I said, because I am.
He asked if Rajiv could be his second.
Have you ever heard of someone so in need of orphaning??
Since the duel fail, I’ve been playing “The World Was Wide Enough” on repeat during his carpool to fencing practice. I think it’s working and he understands that it’s no big deal how much funnier Rajiv’s epee puns are than his fart jokes because they can each carve out lives of import across the country from one another and will, in fact, once we orphan my son and he goes to live with my sister in Wyoming.
That being said, I’m not content to see him take the opportunities we give him and squander them by cheating on his wife with a victim of the patriarchy, like Alexander did with Maria. I mean I get it, who could resist a person with that kind of vocal quality and eloquent phrasing? My god, the woman can sing! But I am certain that if my son hears Jefferson — no slouch, but no orphan — chanting, “Never gonna be president now” enough times and recalls that terrifying way he flung all those papers in Hamilton’s face, he will, for the love of god, get out of the city and go upstate to his wife’s goddamn lake!
Or better yet, don’t even have a wife.
You see, watching Hamilton did more than prompt me to spend most of my waking hours doing Google image searches of Phillip Hamilton (HOT) or skimming Wikipedia entries about how the Schuyler sisters’ dad owned slaves in upstate New York (WHAT?) and that John Laurens and Hamilton might have been in love (YES!). The show is an object lesson in why you can’t just orphan your child and expect them to acquire ALL the grit and wherewithal they need to not ruin their chance at the presidency. Or, you know, whatever career they choose.
You need to make sure, before you go, that nothing’s going to get in their way! The reason we’re waiting a year to do this whole orphaning thing is not only to replicate the exact age at which Hamilton was on his own (12), thereby ensuring he is mature enough to handle the crushing blow of our absence but also emotionally devastated enough for it to effect, change, and drive him forevermore, but also to make sure his brother is in college.
That way, he’ll never sacrifice his happiness for Trevor’s, like Angelica did for Eliza.
That way, he can stop being the helpless little idiot I created and become the kind of man Alexander Hamilton was, and MORE.
That way I can stop worrying that his mediocrity is my fault.
That way, he can be president.
And that way, I can afford to see Hamilton at least one more time, from the fucking orchestra.