Year: 2019

The Number 6

When I was thirteen I stopped using the number 6, or at least avoided it as much as possible. At the time, if you had asked me why, I would have said it was a slippery number, untrustworthy, and if you had three of them you had the Mark of the Beast—whatever that was. Now …

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French toothpaste box

Three Travel Tips

Before this most recent trip to Munich and Paris, I hadn’t travelled internationally in a few years. After having been to places like Budapest and Bangkok, Sydney and Santiago, I was out of practice. To get back in gear, I reviewed travel sites for advice. There are three things I never saw mentioned and I …

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Unreliable

In fiction, there is the concept of the unreliable narrator—the person telling the story cannot be trusted. Gone Girl is an outstanding example of an unreliable narrator. Completely untrustworthy. Our own memories are the same. We think we remember what happened and then we act on those erroneous beliefs. We don’t remember what happened, we …

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Miscellaneous Advice

This is a list of random advice I made for myself: Chew the stick of gum before it goes stale and hard. Or throw it away. But don’t keep it hanging around, getting old. Don’t lick anything metal when you’re outside and it’s below freezing. Let your heart get broken (it will mend, stronger). Eat …

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Remembering Good

In college, when I was working on my master’s, I worked during the day and went to school at night. I still remember my annual salary because I had to watch over it so carefully: $10,500. In today’s dollars, that’s $23,421. It’s a good thing I shared the rent for the tiny, garden level (AKA …

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Education vs. Learning

I am getting ready to teach a college course in the fall and that is causing me to think back on my own experiences in college. I remember so little of the coursework. My most significant learning came from one experience. For the culminating class of my master’s program, each of us had to do …

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Tulips growing in a glass jar

Strong vs. Safe

I have erred on the side of safe. In my life, when I made certain choices. In my posture, when I turned in and down to shelter myself. In my approach to money, when I sought to construct a thick wall between me and the bag lady future I feared. But I’ve realized that it …

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Gone vs. Still Have

I went to a seminar on healthcare options for people who formerly had healthcare coverage through their employer but lost it when their job went away. It was fascinating—not the healthcare part, but how all of us around the table were handling the job transition differently. One of the women in the room (the group …

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The Hard

My new theory is that everyone who lives long enough will at some point go through a period of The Hard. I believe The Hard is necessary. It makes us stronger. It strips away dross. My theory is based on a recent trip back to New Jersey for a memorial to honor the parents of …

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Repairs

I am in Johnstown, Pennsylvania because this is where the tow truck brought me, from the Midas shop just off the Pennsylvania turnpike to a Honda dealership thirty miles away. These are all the things that went right: When the engine light came on, I was less than ten miles from a Midas shop rather …

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