I Thought I’d Never Ask

July 24, 2014

70

Whenever I learn something brand new – when I read a book, watch a documentary, or go on a guided tour – I eventually find myself bothered by a nagging question about the subject. It’s never the same question, but it’s usually one that undermines the entire presentation. And I always think of it too […]

Posted in: In Over My Head

Over the Moon?

July 16, 2014

60

Forty-five years ago, on July 16, 1969, a Saturn-5 rocket was launched from Cape Kennedy on Florida’s northeast coast. Carrying three astronauts, the spacecraft circled the globe one and a half times, then re-ignited its engines and headed toward the moon. Much of the human race watched, excited and nervous. Before Apollo 11, there had […]

Posted in: In Over My Head

Unwavering Ambivalence

July 6, 2014

68

There was a time, when I was a teenager and therefore remarkably witless, that I fell for every crackpot idea that crossed my path. I was certain I had extrasensory perception, could move objects with my mind and see the future, and would eventually figure out how to walk through walls. I believed in ghosts, […]

No Offense

June 27, 2014

131

When I was a kid, we called each other a lot of names. These names were not flattering, but neither did they reflect intense anger. Rather, they were meant to inflict momentary insult, often in response to a perceived slight, a physical injury, or an inconsiderate action. For example, if one of your friends smiled […]

Posted in: In Over My Head

Recycled Energy

June 18, 2014

63

What is this thing that happens inside us? We look forward to something with such fervor that we can hardly bear the intensity. And then, sometimes within seconds of reaching the goal, we grow bored and tired of it, even acting as though we’d never wanted it in the first place. There’s that photograph in […]

Pick a Career, any Career

June 10, 2014

70

I’ve always wanted to be a magician. I’m not talking about one of those big-name Las Vegas stage performers with the three-year contracts and the expensive haircuts. Those guys are masters of melodrama, and a little too impressed with themselves, if you ask me. Besides, they make aircraft carriers disappear from parking lots, and I […]

Posted in: In Over My Head

When Men Were Boys

June 2, 2014

60

I can remember exact moments. It’s early afternoon on a Saturday, and we’re getting into our pale blue Chevrolet, a two-door Impala coupe. I turn sideways to squeeze into the back seat, then step onto the hump in the middle of the floor and drop next to the window on the far side. My father […]

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