Ryan smirked at the state's intrusion into each and every classroom. It reminded him of Kafka's parable Before the Law. The man from the country waits and waits for admission to the Law, intimidated by the authority of the doorkeeper, until he has wasted his whole life in prostrate submission before him.
High school English teacher Ryan Tether suffers from erectile dysfunction and a quixotic belief in his own ability to perceive the truth. While trying to solve his sexual impotence, he suffers from the agony of kidney stones and the embarrassing after-effects of a male enhancement medication.
Ryan's ever-patient, though sharp-tongued, wife, Dee, has her own problems. An elementary school teacher, she battles the evil Standards movement which is slowly demoralizing her "under-achieving" school through its relentless testing obsession. She also worries over the state of her twenty-year-old eldest son, Paul, an art school student, who is struggling to figure out his identity-sexually, psychologically, and vocationally.
Set in San Bernardino, California, A Diminished Thing, or Sex and One Superposition is a darkly humorous tale of one family's search for conjugal happiness, emotional maturity, and educational progress.