Category Archives: Essay

Banned

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/books-behind-bars/

Here we are in 2022 still talking about banning books. Sometimes I shake my head at the backward motion of humanity as it strives to move, I’m not going to say foreword, because that implies that there is an actual direction we’re moving in, but perhaps we’re striving to move beyond ourselves.

We’re inherently conservative as a species with just enough progressiveness to push us along beyond our last milestones but not enough to rip the connective tissues that tends to bind us all together.

How reluctant am I to write that last line?

Very.

Continue reading Banned

Vaccinated: A plain, old view

I don’t remember getting my first vaccinations. I was a baby, and we traveled a lot, which meant that vaccinations were the norm and not the exception.

My partner Cheryl gets her first Covid-19 vaccine dose

I do remember asking my dad why he had a big, puckered scar on his upper arm whenever I’d see him in a tank top. He told dad jokes to explain it, as most men do. But eventually I learned it was caused by the skin’s natural healing process after recieving the smallpox vaccine.

Continue reading Vaccinated: A plain, old view

Seven Billion Lonely People

Top of the Rock – New York City

I got up and read the news like everyone else did. I stumbled towards the toilet realizing in a wash of feelings, that another bright light had gone out of the world while I slept.

I felt a little lonelier than I had when I had gone to sleep the night before.

Anthony, Kate, Robin, my uncle Peter, so many other bright lights gone away leaving the night sky a little colder for the lack of their bright lights in it.

We are so damn lonely, we make it thirty two years, fifty five years, sixty one years, and we can’t make it another day. It compiles in remarkable abundance in some pit within us until it consumes us.  Continue reading Seven Billion Lonely People

How to talk to kids about the end of democracy

Dr. Seuss’s art

This is not really a how-to essay. I’ve always hated anyone telling me how to raise my kids or giving me books about parenting.

But we’re living in the last days of the American constitutional federal representative democracy, and we have front-row seats to its rapid descent into hell.

What better teaching moment could you possibly ask for? Continue reading How to talk to kids about the end of democracy

The Vageries of Patriotism

http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/69fe/
Nationalism

We walked around the small town of Bandon waiting for the stores to open on a rainy, breezy Veterans Day. We wanted to taste local cranberries, so we piled into the Cranberry Sweets store just after someone unlocked the door at ten a.m.

After listening to the historical spiel, we walked around the store tasting candies to our hearts’ content.

“Happy Veterans Day,” the overly coffee’d retail worker sang. “Any veterans in the group?”

My daughter, who was caught in her tractor beam while she waited for popcorn samples to be put out, looked at her mother and then me, and shook her head no.

For some reason, I felt compelled to speak up. “No, no veterans in our family.”

My wife looked back at me. “My dad was a veteran.” Continue reading The Vageries of Patriotism

evitcepsreP yM gnignahC

Changing your evitcepsrep is all about exposing yourself to new views
Changing your evitcepsrep is all about exposing yourself to new views
It’s been a challenge to change my perspective this week.

I’ve been coming at this from one angle since all hell broke loose on Tuesday night.

Finding the negatives lying around on the floor, picking them up, weighing them, and then moving on to the next one.  Continue reading evitcepsreP yM gnignahC

The False Narrative: Good Guys and Bad Guys

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 07:  Yulia Efimova of Russia celebrates winning the first Semifinal of the Women's 100m Breaststroke on Day 2 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 7, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 07: Yulia Efimova of Russia celebrates winning the first Semifinal of the Women’s 100m Breaststroke on Day 2 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 7, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

I watched a press conference this morning in which “journalists” interviewed Yulia Efimova and Lilly King about their now high-profile Olympic spat.

Except it’s not a spat.

It’s just storytelling, good, old-fashioned storytelling.

But it’s a false narrative, something the Russians excelled at when maniacal tyrents wanted to keep the populace fearfully paralyzed or reactionary enough to turn against their own.

And something that demagogues still use to manipulate our deepest fears and our irrational desires.

Yulia Efimova is not a bad guy.  Continue reading The False Narrative: Good Guys and Bad Guys

The Costs of Coming Home

Eight-Year SojournTurns out you can come home again.

But it will cost you.

What it will cost you is a matter of what you put in to the decision to leave home in the first place.

Did you leave home out of fear? Fear that you’d never amount to anything there. Was it too small to contain you? Constantly running to the edges of town like a Bruce Springsteen song. Was it wanderlust? The kind of wanderlust seeing all the home towns on earth can’t cover.  Continue reading The Costs of Coming Home

The Tin Man seeks a heart

Tin Man
Tin Man

I read a story this week about a woman who moved to Portland, Oregon from New York city and found herself incredibly lonely. Like dangerously lonely.

The better part of my life has been spent pursuing the opposite of loneliness. One of the reasons I moved to Chicago was because I believed that a city with eight million people would be the antidote to loneliness.

At first it is.

You’re surrounded by the cacophony of this human hive. It fairly roars with the constant sound of movement. You can’t look around and not see humans walking somewhere quickly. Nobody meanders in Chicago.

Continue reading The Tin Man seeks a heart