Building a Bridge Over the Grand Canyon

The literary world needs more essays written by men who are disenchanted with the behavior of women. Perhaps it’s only my experience, but it seems as if publishing is rife with memoirs and self-help books and online rants about how men won’t commit and can’t...

On Being Human

The line at airport security snakes back and forth like a mountain switchback. I figure the wait will consume at least fifteen minutes. I haven’t flown in a while and I don’t realize these days you have to strip naked and stand spread-eagled in front of the Star Trek...

Don’t Look at the Gorgon!

In Greek mythology, the Gorgon is a terrifying creature, so ugly it turns those who look upon it to stone. “Gorgon,” in fact, is derived from the Greek word gorgós, which in English means “dreadful.” Synonyms for “dreadful” include: horrible, terrible, awful,...

Winter Fire

When I was sixteen, I became the dishwasher at a barbecue restaurant in Corpus Christi, a hot, humid city on the Coastal Bend of Texas. I almost didn’t get the job because the manager of the place, Gary, didn’t like me. Gary was a short, grizzled fellow in his 40s who...

Strange Daze

In the sixth grade I could stand in my back yard and make fifty straight free throws, but I was barely five feet tall and my feet were already bigger than my dad’s and I didn’t move around very well. Which is why on the playground no one passed the basketball to me...

Wounded Tiger

10:04 P.M. February 18. It’s around 10 o’clock on Thursday night, about twelve hours before Tiger Woods is scheduled to give a highly controlled statement to the press about “transgressions” against his family, and I’m wondering how to feel. Some of you may remember I...

New Bananas Foster Cappuccino

I normally refuel my car at QuikTrip, a regional convenience store chain that differentiates itself from others with clean facilities and prompt, friendly customer service. I mean, I don’t really give a shit about the customer service because I always pay at the pump,...

Richard à clef

Recently I wrote a novel. Well, I didn’t write the whole thing recently, but I did recently finish it, and by finish I mean I’m waiting to hear from my agent if he likes it or not. He’ll suggest changes and so will an eventual editor, so it’s not really “finished.” In...

The Customer is Irrelevant: Another Life in Retail

When I was 19 I took a job at Sears, Roebuck, and Co. The company was named after Richard Sears, Alvah Roebuck, and Bad Company (the English rock supergroup). If you’ve ever wondered who Roebuck was, I can tell you (according to Wikipedia) that the name came from...

No One Likes It When You Use Vulcan Logic

I remember quite clearly, when I was 10 or so, a television commercial for Tylenol. The message went something like this: “Extra Strength Tylenol has more pain-relieving medicine than Regular Strength Bayer Aspirin.” I was only 10 years old. I shouldn’t have even been...