Arnold Spirit's Spiritual Guide To Life. AltHough your life might not be as Easy as others, doesn't mean it's worse.
"Who has the most hope?" I asked. "Mom and Dad looked at each other. They studied each other's eyes, you know, like they had antennas and were sending radio signals to each other. And then they both looked back at me. "Come on, I said. "Who has the most hope?""White people," my parents said at the same time.
Arnold wants to know who has the most hope, and his parents say that it's white people. They never have to deal with the issues Indians go through.
"I was born with water on the brain. Okay, so that's not exactly true. I was actually born with too much cerebral spinal fluid inside my skull. But cerebral spinal fluid is just the doctors' fancy way of saying brain grease. But weird me, I was born with too much grease inside my skull, and it got all thick and muddy and disgusting, and it only mucked up the works. My thinking and breathing and living engine slowed down and flooded. My brain was drowning in grease. But that makes the whole thing sound weirdo and funny, like my brain was a giant French fry, so it seems more serious and poetic and accurate to say, "I was born with water on the brain."
Junior was born with too much fluid in his brain and for the rest of his life he must have to deal with a lot of bullying later in life. So we can guess that this problem is very important to how Arnold sees himself – and how others see him as well.
"My name is Junior," I said. "And my name is Arnold. It's Junior and Arnold. I'm both." I felt like two different people inside of one body. No, I felt like a magician slicing myself in half, with Junior living on the north side of the Spokane River and Arnold living on the south."
In Arnold's conversation with Penelope, we begin to see a true splitting of Arnold's self. He is Junior at home on the reservation, and he is Arnold when he is at school in Reardan
"And I couldn't make fun of her for that dream. It was my dream, too. And Indian boys weren't supposed to dream like that. And white girls from small towns weren't supposed to dream big, either."
Though they come from very different worlds, Penelope and Arnold are both dreamers. They long to leave their homes and make a better life for themselves.
"I can do it," I said to Coach, to my teammates, to the world. "You can do it," Coach said. "I can do it." Do you understand how amazing it is to hear that from an adult? Do you know how amazing it is to hear that from anybody? It's one of the simplest sentences in the world, just four words, but they're the four hugest words in the world when they're put together. You can do it. I can do it. Let's do it."
The four most powerful words in the world, Arnold tells, are "You can do it." Through believing in himself – and having someone else believe in him – Arnold is able to accomplish great things.
I always think it's funny when Indians celebrate Thanksgiving. I mean, sure, the Indians and Pilgrims were best friends during that first Thanksgiving, but a few years later, the Pilgrims were shooting Indians. So I'm never quite sure why we eat turkey like everybody else. "Hey, Dad," I said. "What do Indians have to be so thankful for?" "We should give thanks that they didn't kill all of us." We laughed like crazy. It was a good day. Dad was sober. Mom was getting ready to nap. Grandma was already napping.
Junior's confused about why his family and probably others are celebrating a holiday that ended up with their own people murdered. But Juniors dad tells him it's because they didn't kill all of them so that they could still live. One of the few times in the book where it shows Junior and his Dad talking and laughing which can be seen as a high point in the book as the grandma and his sister aren't dead yet.
"I used to think the world was broken down by tribes,' I said. 'By Black and White. By Indian and White. But I know this isn't true. The world is only broken into two tribes: the people who are assholes and the people who are not.”
Before he moved to Reardan, he only knew Indians and never met anyone else of a different ethnicity. It when he did he found out that race shouldn't matter as much as being just an asshole or not.
"I suddenly understood that if every moment of a book should be taken seriously, then every moment of a life should be taken seriously as well.”
Junior thinks that if something as important as a book should be taken seriously, then every moment of life should be taken just as serious if not more.
“Nervous means you want to play. Scared means you don't want to play.”
If you're nervous before you're about to do something like play a game or preform something then you still want to do it, you just don't want anything embarrassing to happen. If you're scared to do it then you really didn't want to in the first place.
“I think the world is a series of broken dams and floods, and my cartoons are tiny little lifeboats.”
Junior's life has a lot of downs and almost nothing goes right for him, but when he makes cartoons he feels like this kind of saves him and is able to escape his external life.