Posts for July 2010
(Originally published June 16, 2003)
I know why I keep buying Volvos.
I mean, it doesn’t take Sigmund Freud to figure it out.
Ten years ago, my dad helped me pick out my first car, a ‘79 Volvo sedan with leather upholstery and a crank sunroof.
I was 20 old years, and I still didn’t have my license. I sat in the passenger seat on the test drive, watching Dad shift gears and try the windshield wipers.
It was my mother who actually bought it — for $2,600, an immense sacrifice for her. Looking back, …Read more »
(Originally published November 3, 2003)
A Washington doctor has concluded what hard-core readers have known all along: Reading makes you sick.
Well, of course it does. Any one of us bespectacled hunchbacks could have told you that.
Pediatrician Howard J. Bennett says he saw three young patients this summer who experienced headaches after reading “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” for hours at a time.
Headaches. Ha! Get used to it, hatchlings. If you’re in this for life – and if you’ve read five massive Harry Potter books already, you’re hooked — …
(Originally published February 18, 2002)
When Timothy Goebel won a bronze medal in men’s figure skating last week, I remarked, “Too bad, just a free Coke.”
I can’t think about the Olympics without thinking back to 1984. And I can’t think about the 1984 Olympics without thinking about McDonald’s.
For me, the gold, the silver and the bronze will forever mean a Big Mac, french fries and a Coke.
Grab your scarf because this story takes us back to the final decade of the Cold War. I was 11 then, and here’s my fifth-grade …
(Originally published July 29, 1997)
Sometimes I think they know. “They” meaning everyone, meaning you probably.
“They” meaning colleagues and friends and employers.
Sometimes I think that it shows in everything I do and say. In the way I walk and dress.
Sometimes I think they smell it, beneath my perfume, seeping out from my well-soaped skin.
Sometimes I think that no matter how hard I study and smile and struggle, the poverty is still in me, rotting on my breath, devouring my stomach, burning in the back of my throat. In my eyes.
And sometimes …
(Originally published on December 12, 2000)
We’re still trying to get the big bangs out of Nebraska,” the hairstylist said, and I laughed.
The big bangs. I knew what she was talking about.
If you’re between the ages of 25 and 35, chances are you know, too.
You know what it’s like to wake up an hour early just to get your bangs right. And by right, I mean high.
You know the taste of hair spray. You’ve held a curling iron until your arm aches. You remember when a camera or a cute boy …Read more »
(Originally published August 20, 2001)
Igor Konfisakhar doesn’t want to show you his pumpkin. Not yet.
He wants to build some drama first, to let the excitement mount, so that you are properly awed when he pulls aside the blue tarp.
This pumpkin is like his child.
In a way, it is his child. The 16-year-old hand-pollinates his pumpkins, choosing only the choicest flowers on the healthiest vines.
He feeds his pumpkins, puts a roof over their heads, protects them. (Pity the spotted cucumber beetle — or the striped — that threatens Igor’s pumpkin brood.)
(Originally published July 22, 2002)
Jennifer, my brother’s wife and my closest friend, stays home with their two kids.
Madison is 3 and Gryphon is 1.
They live near The World-Herald, and I drive over there sometimes to eat lunch with them.
I once read about a study that measured how many hours a day parents spent caring for their children. I don’t know how you would time such a thing.
Jennifer is never not caring for the kids. It’s constant.
Moving Madison off the coffee table, taking the crayon out of Gryphon’s mouth.
Answering the phone, …
(Originally published June 20, 2002)
An open letter to the person who stole my car Monday night:
You must have really needed a ride.
My first thought Tuesday morning was, “Nobody would have stolen that car. Did I leave it at work?” But you don’t just misplace a 1982 Chevy Caprice.
I could always spot it in parking lots because it was 3 feet longer than the other cars.
If you caught the column I wrote two years ago about buying a PT Cruiser, you might wonder what I’m doing in a 20-year-old Chevy Caprice.
(Originally published April 22, 2002)
One, and-two, and-three …
Ashley Starr was trying to beat her all-time pogo stick record, 475 bounces.
Boun-cing, boun-cing, boun-cing, all Wednesday afternoon in the driveway. One, and-two, and-three …
Falling down and starting over. One, and-two, and-three…
Two-hundred! And-one, and-two, and-three …
Her dad was in the front yard, talking to a neighbor, and when he heard his 12-year-old shout, “Eight-hundred!” he started counting with her.
And the sun shone. And her dad watched her. And Ashley couldn’t go wrong. She was ma-gic, ma-gic, ma-gic.
Eight-hundred became nine-hundred, and nine-hundred became a …