Over the Moon?

July 16, 2014

61

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

75

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

133

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

64

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

71

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 […]

Speaking of May 25th

May 25, 2014

52

The twenty-fifth of May is meaningful, because a lot of memorable things in history took place on that date. There’s nothing unusual about that, of course. Important situations can develop quickly, and without warning. This fact is well-documented on many television stations, which provide a continual stream of breaking news, even if that news is […]

Posted in: In Over My Head

Related by Blood

May 17, 2014

83

When we were young, my cousins and I got together at least once a week. We all grew up in big, Italian-Catholic families that were in a constant state of competition — the fathers vying to see who could smoke the most cigarettes, and the mothers to see who could have the most babies. Holidays […]

The Quick Brown Fox

May 9, 2014

70

I waste a lot of time. So far I’ve gotten away with it, because there always seems to be another tomorrow waiting to replace the yesterday I spent cleaning my keyboard and counting deposit bottles and scrutinizing the checking account statement to identify that mysterious nine-dollar charge. Weeks, months, and entire years have vanished this […]

Out of Nowhere

April 30, 2014

84

There are a lot of people in the world. You probably noticed this the last time you tried to go out for breakfast on a Sunday morning and had to wait ninety minutes for a table. The planet is crawling with human beings, all with their own unique personalities, quirks, and ways of thinking. It […]