The Pinewood Derby

My grandfather’s basement workshop was pristine and overly outfitted, like he’d won it on a gameshow. As a boy, I would venture down there with him to fix a wobbly chair or grab a hammer needed to re-enforce a birdhouse. He was over prepared. I was ten years-old and in the Cub Scouts for the first time. The Pinewood Derby was the big event of the year—our gender’s equivalent of Girl Scout cookie season. Each of us received the same kit: one rectangular block


Peeing In The Sink

The letter from my elementary school came with our address hand-written. Even in the third grade, I knew that meant it was personal. I also had an inkling of what it might be about, but was aghast that any of my fellow 9 year-olds would tattle on me. I wasn’t aware that any of them took offense to my popular gag of peeing in the sink instead of the urinal, but maybe I was too focused on the semicircle of


Fine Persian Bonding

Between the syncopated machine gun pops of Silas stomping on bubble wrap, I heard a flyer slide under the front door. “What’s it say?” Lindsay asked. “Either a sale on snow tires or a high school cupcake drive,” I responded. My kids started dancing, “CUPCAKES!” ”No, no, I was kidding.” And then a silence fell over the room. Even my dad was disappointed. So I broke my “never entertain hand-delivered offers” policy, and read it aloud. “Victims of the Madoff


A Real Nail Biter

“Stop eating your hands!” my dad yelled from the small portable bleachers. I was a good soccer player, but when not actively engaged, I stood on the field biting my finger nails like a squirrel. He shamed me for the better part of a year, and I’m sure his chiding wasn’t aimed only at encouraging me to consider my nervous habit as self-cannibalization, but also at making the other parents laugh. Like me, he loves a crowd and each time


What’s Illuminated When The Lights Go Out

It's either day 6 or 7. I can't remember. After a while, the days without routine and electricity blend together into a foggy-headed smoothie that tastes like the middle of Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" sounds. We're all walking around with grim heavy-metal faces, but all feel confused and awkward, like maybe we accidentally ate some Percocet dusted catnip.

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