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Showing posts from March, 2016

What Exactly Are the Best Words?

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Donald Trump seems to think anything and everything is for sale. Jokes about his presidential campaign aside, the Orange One seems to think the world is his oyster, and the parts of it he hasn't plated in gold yet aren't worth owning.

A few weeks ago, Trump tried to tell us he's a collector of words, a veritable word aficionado. But not just any old words. He doesn't just have piles of them under a tarp behind his garage. He's not satisfied with having your everyday, run-of-the-mill words.

No, Trump has the best words.

As he explained it, "I went to an Ivy League school. I'm very highly educated. I know words, I have the best words."

Of course, if I wanted to be picky, I would point out that people with the best words typically don't use "very" with other strong adjectives. I wouldn't say a person is "very enormous" or that broccoli is "very awful" (although it is). So I would hope someone who is "very highly …

It's Not Necessary to Narrate Everything You See

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"It's Not Necessary to Narrate Everything You See." Did you see that headline? It said "It's Not Necessary to Narrate Everything You See."

I point it out, in case the person in your life who narrates everything they see wasn't there with you. I point it out, in case you're the person who narrates everything they see, so you can see what everyone else's day is like.

Have you ever been on a car trip with a life narrator? They spend the whole trip reading billboards or distance markers out loud.

"Chicago, 87 miles," they'll say, even though everyone else can see how far away Chicago is.

Person A: "There's a McDonald's in five miles."

Person B: "Do you want to stop at McDonald's?"

Person A: "No, I was just saying there's a McDonald's up ahead."

Person B: ". . ."

Person A: "You know, in case you wanted McDonald's."

Person B: "I'm fine. We just ate an hour ago.…

You Can't Argue With Mom

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Now that I'm in my late 40s, I look back at my childhood and realize that, for the most part, my parents were pretty smart, and their advice was generally sound and worth following. Things I used to rebel against — and I did that a lot — are actually important to me now that I'm a dad.

For instance, I make my kids shut off the lights in their room, just like my dad did. He didn't do it for me, I had to go do it. He would even call me from the other end of the house to shut off my light. Never mind that he was standing next to it, I had to do it.

"You're right there," I would call back. "Why don't you just reach out and shut it off?"

"Because I want you to remember to shut it off yourself."

In my mind, I used to rail against the laziness and utter stupidity of making me walk all the way to the other end of the house, just to shut off a single light.

"You could have shut the light off in a fraction of the time that we had this argum…

The How and Why of Impostor Syndrome

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I'm a little worried about my new residency, I told Karl.

"Why?" said Karl. "It's a nice place, nice back yard, and it's in a good neighborhood. Plus, your kids seem to like it."

No, not my residence. My residency.

We were sitting in Santa Cruise, a Bolivian-themed bar whose owner was also a big Tom Cruise fan. We were there to watch the opening game of the Bolivian soccer league on satellite. The league champions, Sport Boys, were facing Cición that night.

"What, you mean like a doctor's residency? Kid, you can't even name the three bones in your arm, so there's no way you're a doctor."

First of all, yes, I can. There's the ulna, the humerus, and uh, Kevin.

"Radius."

Whatever. No, I mean my writing residency. I'm scheduled to go live in the Jack Kerouac House in Orlando for three months as the writer-in-residence, so I can work on my book and various short stories. I don't know if I can do it.

"What …