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How Do You Know When You Know?

In by Chris on August 31, 2012 at 8:58 pm

When he finally found it, shuffled in with a thousand other cards in a clueless man’s shoebox, he knew instantly.

“Thirty bucks for the whole box,” he said dazedly, fingering the Nolan Byan misprint rookie card, the card he’d searched for through attics and trade shows for thirty-two years. Nolan Byan. His white whale, looking skinny, grinning. Worth five grand, at least.

Late that night, though, the card packed away, doubt filled him. He’d seen counterfeits. On his, was the border thinner on the verticals? The photograph background barely gradated? He felt sick. The card couldn’t be right. Could it?


Driving for work

In by Lara on August 31, 2012 at 11:56 am

He drove down the interstate with an iced coffee from McDonald’s. It was never really coffee, he thought, and now, after a couple hours in a baking car, it was lukewarm. He sipped it anyway. The heat seemed not to care that he was wearing a three-piece suit. He saw fruit stands here and there. Guys with big sombreros and long-sleeved shirts standing outside selling pineapples or peaches or something. Man, he really needed to take a piss. He cursed the not-coffee and cursed himself for ignoring that sign that said “last rest stop for forty miles,” forty miles back.


In by Chris on August 25, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Out where the warehouses and heavy machinery yards have been infiltrated by blackberry brambles, where acorn woodpeckers riddle telephone poles with holes, I met a grungy morning-walker striding up a sagging side street. He had black earbuds in, their wires half-hidden in his former alcoholic’s slag of stringy gray hair. He was maybe fifty, loose under his black cutoff tee, but walking smartly for six in the morning. When he hailed me good morning and passed by trailing muffled rock, for me that whole district of going-to-seed industry took on the pliably lit gentleness and readiness of dawn in America.

You will fall…

In by Lara on August 24, 2012 at 2:03 pm

…down after ambitiously boasting that your hoola hooping skills are much better after a couple drinks. (But they aren’t. Really.)
…apart. And more than once. But that’s why you have people, and that’s why people have you. It is part of growing, it is necessary.
… prey to a stupid boy’s paralyzing good looks and hearty chuckles. You will learn not stand for disrespect or dreadful company of that sort, for you will learn, the hard way, that it can take a part of you and never give it back.
…fall in love, with someone, with yourself, with what you’ve learned.

The Apartment of Life

In by Michael on August 23, 2012 at 12:34 am

When you come to terms with the fact that you’re going to die, the fact that you never really own anything permanently, that your phone, your kitchen table, even your house one day won’t be there, you realize that you’re actually renting the things you own.

You’re far from home and you forgot your umbrella, so you buy a new one to use just for today. Everything we buy follows this model, where you pay money, and get to use it for awhile.

The value of an object is the use you get out of it, divided by its cost.


In by Chris on August 22, 2012 at 7:52 pm

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Broken Spigot

In by Michael on August 21, 2012 at 2:15 am

Hi, my name is Brian. Due to a medical condition, I cannot use my voice.

I would like to offer to listen to you for one hour. You and I meet in a café. You can buy us coffees, and we sit down.

I don’t charge anything for this. I just want to hear your story.

I will not record the meeting. I draw pictures. I won’t show them to anyone, probably. If I do, they won’t know it’s you. They’ll say it’s art, it’s interesting, what a concept.

Everyone wins, you, me, them. Well…  I still can’t speak though.

David Foster Wallace

In by Michael on August 12, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Watch David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech. He lays out the manual for avoiding depression in a world where “it is unimaginably hard to do this, to stay conscious and alive, day in and day out.”

He’s a graceful and elegant coach on how to avoid suicide of the body, and more deeply, the mind. He shows how we can decide to possess the beliefs needed to overpower the pounding negativity of daily life.

Yet the sad fact behind Mr. Wallace’s foreboding words is that the best coaches aren’t necessarily the best players. Phil Jackson and Michael Jordan played different roles.