Goodbye to All That

The veils of memory tend to obscure the beginnings of things, but for the solitary soul with any imagination, there is no end to the variety of possible endings to a story. The reason or reasons I ended up in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in 1990 are subject to the whims of marriage and family, the conveniences of geography and transportation, and advances in technology, mixed with the fear of the unknown. Replaying in my mind all the scenarios for my departure from Harrisburg nearly three decades later leaves me certain now, from the moment I arrived in Pennsylvania’s capital city from New York, that I would be leaving.

Notes on The Only Child

Several years ago, the mother of a young son asked me about the experiences of being an only child. She was considering whether or not to have another child; she was concerned that being an “only” would present challenges to her son that could be alleviated by having a sibling.

Transitions: The Transfer of Power in Our Nation’s Capital

I conceived of this photo essay in October 2020 before the presidential election. My goal was to record either how our nation’s capital handled the transition from one administration to another or how Washingtonians would react to the prospect of living four more years with a President who had declared war on the city’s norms. One hundred and nineteen photos comprise this exhibit.

Notes on Driving Across the Country During the Pandemic

What I am about to describe is not intended to inspire others to follow our path. My wife and I decided to drive across the country in the new year so that we could winter in Tucson, Arizona (that very same Arizona, which was portrayed by the darkest of dark reds on the New York Times indicating rates of COVID-19 infections).

Notes on the Trump Mob

Three times since the November election, I have observed in person crowds that have descended upon Washington DC in support of President Voldemort. And then today the Trump mob stormed the Capitol as Congress was in the process of certifying the Electoral College vote. As the District locks down under a 6:00 PM curfew, I want to share some observations.

Eleven Pipers Piping

Silver could not escape the feeling that listening to Taylor Swift made her want to break up with Louis and listening to Joni Mitchell made her want to marry Louis. The eleventh installment of the series, “The 12 Days of the Tilley-Blandin Coronavirus Christmas.”

Ten Lords A-Leaping

Louis Guidry received an unexpected phone call from the father of his girlfriend, Silver Tilley-Blandin. Louis did not know if her father was the Tilley or the Blandin, and it seemed to him to be the family joke that neither Silver nor her siblings knew, either. The tenth installment of the series, “The 12 Days of the Tilley-Blandin Coronavirus Christmas.”

Nine Ladies Dancing

Between the Black Lives Matter demonstrations, the ongoing threats to her and her family from the unceasing COVID-19 pandemic, and enforcing the short-lived, horrific PPE Act of 2020, Officer Alexandra Sykes felt broken. The ninth installment of the series, “The 12 Days of the Tilley-Blandin Coronavirus Christmas.”

Eight Maids A-Milking

Hopper Tilley-Blandin paused at his latest crossroad. This time, the choice was not between this random thing or that random thing. It was not even a choice between the two women, his ex-wife Ingrid Brzezinski or Charlize Theron, the girlfriend who had been on-and-off ghosting him since the onset of the pandemic. No, his choice: retreat to the safety of his family or move forward with someone outside the protective, insulated shell provided his family. The eighth installment of the short-story series, “The 12 Days of the Tilley-Blandin Coronavirus Christmas.”

Seven Swans A-Swimming

Reese Witherspoon is hosting a Zoom call with Edward Norton, Charlize Theron, Hopper Tilley-Blandin, and Hopper’s parents. The working title of the movie they are discussing is “The Living Canvases.” Hopper hates the title. The seventh installment of the series, “The 12 Days of the Tilley-Blandin Coronavirus Christmas.”

Six Geese A-Laying

Silver, Olympia, Hopper, and their parents received an unexpected message from Mia Gottschall, a New York attorney who represented mostly artists and writers and their families. Among Gottschall’s clients was the singer Fiona Apple, whom Silver and Olympia called “Mother Apple.” The sixth installment of the short-story series, “The 12 Days of the Tilley-Blandin Coronavirus Christmas.”

Five Golden Rings

The following text exchanges were captured from the mobile devices of Huey Newton Wallace, Huey’s ex-girlfriend Olympia Tilley-Blandin, Ingrid Brzezinski, Ingrid’s ex-husband Hopper Tilley-Blandin, the actress Charlize Theron. The fifth installment of the short-story series, “The 12 Days of the Tilley-Blandin Coronavirus Christmas.”

Four Calling Birds

"Christmas? What's that? I guess that I we can do some kind of Facetime or Zoom with Birgit. Exchange gifts over Amazon. Pray that we stay healthy while we wait for the vaccine." The fourth installment of the short-story series, “The 12 Days of the Tilley-Blandin Coronavirus Christmas.”

Three French Hens

How very glad and relieved she was that Reese had not let slip to anyone where she was located. She was also glad that she did not celebrate American holidays like Thanksgiving. It would have only disappointed the expectations of her friends and agent that she did not land a photo on TMZ for her sumptuous, envy-inducing feast. The third installment of the series, “The 12 Days of the Tilley-Blandin Coronavirus Christmas."

Two Turtle Doves

On the day before Thanksgiving, while on their daily stroll through a section of Washington, DC that this nauseatingly cute, white hipster couple had dubbed the “Death Zone,” Silver Tilley-Blandin turned to her boyfriend Louis Guidry and said, “Your name came up again on the internet.” Thus begins the second installment of the series, “The 12 Days of the Tilley-Blandin Coronavirus Christmas.”

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

“I love Christmas more than anything -- other than shooting at things and making lethal contact,” the older white man said into the recording studio microphone. “Just got myself a Christmas present, a new Remington 7600. Santy Claus better wear some blaze orange when he comes around just to be sure.”

Nolite te Bastardes Carborundorum

I feel as though I am about to exhale after holding my breath for 3 years and 360something days. Many people are calling for a return to normal, but who’s normal are we discussing? I suggest that we are going to have to create a new normal for ourselves, regardless of the outcome of the election.

Why Joe Biden Makes Sense for Law and Order

You cannot achieve law and order at the end of a gun barrel. Not in this country. We are way too ornery to go stand in the corner just because someone told us to. We are a nation of people who have succeeded when we sit down, look each other in the eye, and talk through our differences.

Why Joe Biden Makes Sense for Republicans

For many Republicans, the idea of pulling the lever for a Democratic president can hurt. I feel your pain, but it’s not too late to save your party by voting for Joe Biden. Donald Trump is certainly the leader of a movement, but he is not a Republican, nor does he represent the traditional Republican values of respect for tradition, hierarchy, fiscal conservatism, parliamentary government, social stability, and continuity. Does Donald Trump remind you of Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, or George Bush the father or son? Donald Trump has painted the Republican Party into a corner where nothing matters except power.

Top 10 Reasons Why Joe Biden Makes Sense for Parents

You always worry about your children. Always. It doesn’t matter if your child is 5 months old, 5 years old, 25, years old, or 50 years old. It is part of your job description as a parent to worry about your kids. Here is a Top 10 list of priorities in your life once you became a parent.

Why Joe Biden Makes Sense for Business

After electing a businessman instead of a politician to drain the swamp and shake things up in Washington, we must come to the conclusion that the job of President of the United States actually requires a politician who can negotiate with both Republicans and Democrats, governors, leaders of other countries – and the business community. We need a president who will not pick favorites or stack the odds against American companies and small businesses based on prickly whim.

Why Joe Biden Makes Sense for Bankers

Dear Banker: I believe you have serious doubts about a second Donald Trump term as POTUS and questions about how Joe Biden’s election would affect your bank. Here’s why I believe that it makes business sense for you to vote for Joe Biden this November.

Cooties v. Coronavirus

None of us children could define -- much less see -- cooties. However, we understood that other children could be “infected” with cooties if they got too close to someone with cooties. And we never could explain the origin of cooties, other than through a simple declaration: “you have cooties.”

The Tilley-Blandin Family Saga, Explained

This spring, when my wife suggested that I spent some of the pandemic in a useful exercise by writing short stories, I decided to write a short story set in the fall of 2020, based on what how a young woman would spend her $1,200 government stimulus checks. As I imagined her backstory, a family emerged. I decided to write a series of stories about this family, the Tilley-Blandin’s, set against the backdrop of a country facing several crises on the cusp of the Presidential election. The stories just emerged out of me.

My White Privilege

So far this week, one of my favorite comedians, Amber Ruffin, has recorded three stories on YouTube about her run-ins with the police. In these stories, Amber recounts how she was doing literally nothing to arouse suspicion from any sentient creature, but she ends of being threatened by white police officers. Let me take you back to my own run-in with the cops to illustrate white privilege.

The Coronavirus Sister Rules

In early March, Jessie Andersen made the first phone call to her father, Stephen. He and his late wife Gwendolyn had raised four daughters, who were known as the Andersen sisters. The Andersen sisters followed simple rules, agreed upon and codified following the death of their mother. Please carefully re-read those first three sentences. It will make things easier for you.

The New White House Press Secretary

Warerugoing? White House. Google Maps told you it is a 20-minute walk. It’s still OK to use Google. Amazon’s out. Google is still OK. Walkity-walk through our nation’s capital with all these early morning people walkity-walking to their important jobs doing important things for all the little people in BFE. Like you, the new White House press secretary.

Pandemic Goal #4: Get Verified on Twitter

In these times when it is critically important to know who we’re tweeting at and who’s tweeting at us, the blue verification check next to your Twitter handle will make a substantive difference to your online existence. Which, during these times, is more important that your real life.

The Photograph

Martin had found the photograph three years ago, while he was going through divorce. Though the photograph was yellowed with age and blurry, he could still discern his features and those of the two women. They had met on the beach in Naama Bay on the Sinai Peninsula in 1980.

Holding on to Friends

Friendships are not easy, especially when the friends are no longer in the same crucible of school, work, parenting, or city. They require intentionality. They require travel. They require shedding the very comfort zone that fostered the friendships in the first place.

This Elizabeth Warren Supporter Will Stan for Joe Biden

Last year I volunteered to make phone calls for the presidential candidate I felt most capable not only of defeating President Voldemort, but who could right all the wrongs being inflicted on our country by a political leadership that cares only for what it wants. My candidate was Elizabeth Warren. I loved talking to strangers … Continue reading This Elizabeth Warren Supporter Will Stan for Joe Biden