Jack: Katchmar, Jack Katchmar. I'm head of the American Scien—
Mrs. Dixon: You'll hear from me, Mr. Katchman.
Later Jack receives his reply. It reads: "God wants you where He can USE you—but we are so self-centered that we want to be placed where WE want, and not where God wants us. It is HIS WILL—not OUR will—that must be done. Continue to use your talents, which you use everyday, for good; this is performing God's will in your life. Bless you, Mr. Katcher."
Jack is quite distraught over Mrs. Dixon's answer, but not for long. He returns to the gym, where he also sleeps, and begins scribbling. He also scribbles well in hotel lobbies and on street corners, but he is at his best in the gym. There, writing in the margins of books and magazines, on brown paper bags and backs of envelopes, his sadness, his protest explode:
"Schemansky, as a real hero, is important to America, because America was founded on ideals. An ideal is a standard of perfection for all men, a model of excellence. An image is an illusion, pseudo ideal. The hero reflects ideals. A hero is a human figure who has shown greatness in some achievements. He is a man of great deeds. A celebrity or punk hero reflects illusions. The hero created himself. The punk hero is created by publicity and mass media. The celebrity is a big name, the hero a big man.
"We must realize that man makes institutions, and man can change and create new institutions that recognize man as the center of life. We must abolish the AAU [Amateur Athletic Union]. It is America's institution of poverty."
Jack tries to go to sleep. It is 5 a.m., and the sun is coming up. It will not bother him. The gym is underground. The last enemy chased from his thoughts. Jack falls into sleep, at about the same time Norbert Schemansky always awakens in Dearborn, Mich.
Schemansky lives in a section of factory workers, of people still tied to the same roots that their fathers were. The houses have a synthetic pastoral charm, a tiny patch of neatly trimmed lawn, a new car every two years and, now, a color television set. But that Schemansky house in the middle of the block! That car, that lawn!
Schemansky sees this, too—his own meager possessions compared to those that belong to his neighbors—and in the morning the picture, spinning at him, is enlarged by the sense of what he has to do and what he has become.
The small rooms are gray and quiet in the morning. Hundreds of medals and trophies and cups, scratched and dusty, are scattered throughout the rooms. A bottle of wine that Norbert brought back from Paris 10 years ago stands on a television set. The wine, he says, is the only thing that seems real to him now. Moving his mountainous body through the rooms, he straightens a row of trophies that were knocked over and then from a corner retrieves a large and beautiful cup containing a pair of kid's tennis shoes. The evenings are dark and good, but Norbert's mornings bring a train of hundreds of forgotten faces and memories of 10,000 old indignities. They keep coming until all that he is, all that the night seems to hide, is exposed, until his whole life seems as strange and gossamer as a dream.