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You know who I am. I am the girl who wears big round glasses and clothes that were never in style. I am the girl who sits by herself at lunch, silently reading a book, sometimes moving her lips to form inaudible dialogue. I am the girl who gets to class before everyone else, picks a front-row seat, has color-coordinated folders and notebooks. I am the girl who doesn’t say anything unless it’s to answer a question. I am the girl who walks by herself to and from everywhere.
I know you whisper to all of your friends about how I am a nerd, or a know-it-all, or a loser, or an outcast, or a loner. You make up stories about …

I am lost again but that does not mean I want you to help me I would rather be alone that let you think you can atone by leading me back to the world of pink crayons and plastic headbands and button-up coats and…

Stop

No I left that plane of reality by my own proximity Rock paper scissors shoot doesn’t matter what I choose the situation is lose lose lose and so I run and run and…

Stop

Now I’m not saying that it’s all your fault that I got my directions wrong You’re still shining just as bright offering me an escape from this confusing muddy night but back is only another empty day and…

Stop

I …

Boogers aren’t magic. They’re bits of dried nasal mucus, and I, as a lad with no direction in this particular area, decided to make regular habit of excavating the more high-priority culprits from my nose. I’ve always felt singularly exempt from the shame of nose-picking as is viewed by most civilized persons. For some reason, and quite some time ago, I self-declared that I had a right to pick whatever I wanted to pick, and even though it was disgusting when others did it, I had a free pass, and you just can’t infringe on that.

This self-affirmation bespoke a certain natural shame I held concerning the private practice of nose-picking, and is probably the reason why I usually did it while no …

Three days after my husband left me I awoke in my high school bedroom halfway across the country. The wallpaper, cream with country blue and blush pink flowers, enveloped me in that predawn light. The satin striped armchair, a recent acquisition, was a noble effort on my mother’s part to tie the room together, but just seemed oddly formal next to the banner that boasted my graduating class and the dried flowers from my junior year prom date placed neatly in a vase. It’s true, I thought to myself. I have entered hell.
I can’t quite remember it all, those first few days, hours, weeks. I would wake up in the middle of the night, spooning the one of …
Sitting in splendid silence, seeking sanity.

When I was about five or six, maybe seven, I had a toy coffee maker. I am working from memory, as I haven’t seen the thing in two decades, but I remember it being very authentic in its appearance and brewing capabilities. It was an off-white color, with a real glass pot. It was smaller than a real coffee maker, so it fit nicely alongside my other toy appliances and kitchen items—a refrigerator, a stove, and a sink with a little countertop and cabinets underneath. I don’t think this first kitchen of mine came equipped with a microwave…I don’t suppose microwaves were so common at that time as to be made into toy models. I actually remember going with my …

Everyone knows one. That person who just always has an answer for everything, whether you asked for it or not. If you don't know that person, well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it's probably you. This person for me, for the past twenty seven years, has been my mother. She begins sentences with,
"The secret of [insert problamatic activity here] is..."
"What you need to do is..."

Of course, my personal favorite,
"Let me tell you something..."

Truly, I have got an earful of "something" my whole life.

Often "what I need to do" is get organized. Get a planner. The dayplanner is the bane of my existence. When I see …

It's amazing how a depressed mind will attack every optimistic thought that finds its way in to the brain.

It's extraordinary how a hormone imbalance can destroy every ounce of trust I have for myself, cringe at his touch, and force my body to resemble a shriveled up green bean.

I was closer to knowing myself when I was a child. I wish I could go back to the innocence, the magic I knew for sure was there. This new world just seems so dark, dull, and flat. I've been here for too long.

Is this all I have to offer?
19, F reading Gideon's Trumpet, Vonnegut and the Upanishads
eating through my food stamps, working my life …

I knew it was bad when she couldn’t remember the St. Louis Cardinals.

My grandma, Pearl Esther Ramos, née Lambert, lifelong baseball fan, longtime Chicagoan, converted from worship of the Cubbies only by long residence in a sleepy postwar tract of sunny San Diego—my grandma, who had spoken so beautifully of going to see the Dodgers at Ebbets Field and so confusingly of the Detroit “Taggers” (that’s Indiana dialect for you), my grandma, who told me of “sweet-swingin’ Johnny Grubb” and Rick Monday’s rescue of the American flag, who bought me packs of Topps baseball cards in the days when stale gum the color of a baby’s vomit lay nestled in the …

I am 1. My parents look at me and see a child they never wanted. They had wanted to abort me, but didn't. They look at me with disdain and hatred. I look at my parents with eyes longing to be loved and accepted.

I am 2. My parents see a child who makes a great punching bag - and great person to handle their anger and confusion. When they can't deal with life, I can deal with their emotions. I am broken for them. I look at my parents with eyes longing to be loved and wanting to be held, not hurt.

I am 3. My parents see a child who can make money for them. They sell …

Some people write memoirs or keep journals. I make lists. Some of the lists have been around for years and just keep getting updated. Some are static. Some I make annually. Some are weekly. Some are just one-time lists. You get the idea.

Anyway, as 2008 was coming to a close, I was exporting items from past lists into fresh 2009 ones. And as I combed through, I realized that read in chronological order, the lists tell a lot about "My Life So Far."

I admit that by putting my lists on the table like this will most likely reveal me to be obsessive, or, quite possibly, completely psychotic. But, before I get into all of that, first, an overview: The …

I was at the office, minding my own business, when a fellow I call “The Admiral” walked by my cube, clucked his tongue a couple of times, and said: “Looks like we got everything under control here. All under control and you’re doing a good job. Thanks for showing up.”

I call him Admiral because he usually comes to work wearing a baseball cap with the name of the aircraft carrier upon which he served our nation embroidered on it. He’s one of the unionized clerical workers at the Wall Street company where I work, part of our Customer Service Center. These seasoned clerks, deemed to be the best in the company, no longer process regular financial transactions, working instead as troubleshooters. Still, …

Dear Diary,

Tonight, I couldn't sleep too well. I was thinking about a lot of things. I decided to make a couple of birthday resolutions. I think it makes more sense to make resolutions (if it makes sense to make resolutions at all) on one's birthday, rather than on New Year's Day. Resolutions are a gift to oneself, after all; a promise to oneself to improve and to do things better.

I am going to write every day. If even a little bit. If even a line. You may or my not see it here, diary. It may be somewhere else. I was tempted to say it may be written "in my head," but that's cheating. No, I will WRITE something everyday, …

Dear Diary,

Tonight, I couldn't sleep too well. I was thinking about a lot of things. I decided to make a couple of birthday resolutions. I think it makes more sense to make resolutions (if it makes sense to make resolutions at all) on one's birthday, rather than on New Year's Day. Resolutions are a gift to oneself, after all; a promise to oneself to improve and to do things better.

I am going to write every day. If even a little bit. If even a line. You may or my not see it here, diary. It may be somewhere else. I was tempted to say it may be written "in my head," but that's cheating. No, I will WRITE something everyday, …

“What are you in for?” She asked, shuffling the cards. I learned within a few days that card shuffling is relaxing, hypnotizing. The cards were dealt to six teenagers sitting at a round table. Had it been a year ago? A decade ago? Last time I checked, I was still sixteen. It had only been three days.
“Prostitution,” one girl said.
“I beat up a dumb bitch,” said another.
“They found eight hits of acid on me at school,” said a girl next to me. “They fell out of my bra.”
Luckily, before I could answer, the floor security came in. “Alright, everyone get into your cells! Now!” she yelled across the hall. My cell, just as all the others, was a …
I've had depression for three years now. I want to get better, but then again I don't. I wish I was dead so I wouldn't feel so worthless.

“I met this guy once.”
“Who?”
“This old movie star here in the obituaries. John Phillip Law.
He died yesterday.”

In the early ‘70s, my wife Jane and her then boyfriend were living in Los Angeles and looking for a house to rent. One place they looked was that of a handsome young actor who had achieved some Hollywood celebrity having appeared in several successful movies, first, The Russians are Coming and more famously, the trippy Jane Fonda sci-fi, ‘Barbarella’. His name was John Phillip Law.
“We went to look at his house,” Jane said. “I didn’t know who he was.”
I was immediately impressed by the fact that she had met an authentic A-list Hollywood actor.
“Really! John Phillip Law! The angel …

I was 20 years old, a full-time college student, and minutes away from meeting Terry, one of the greatest friends I would ever have. I pulled up to his upper middle-class suburban neighborhood nestled against the foothills on the West side of Denver and was thinking how much I needed this job—the pay was double my part-time hourly rate at the convenience store and this job sounded much more fulfilling than mopping floors, working a cash register and working for ol' lady Myrna who was late to relieve me every night at 11 PM when my shift was over.

I was nervous about interviewing for a job so unlike any job I’d applied for before. All I knew from my …

Afghanistan 2005

I could smell the al Qaeda swine crawling through the wadi.

I knew that in the next five minutes the bastards would be able to attack from a covered position. I snatched up my silenced submachine gun from a secret compartment in my computer bag, checked the magazine and chambered a round.

Some of the 82nd paratroopers sleeping next to me stirred a little, but no one woke up. I liberated some night vision goggles from a sleeping private, making a mental note to return them before his first sergeant put a boot in his ass, and set off to intercept the intruders. As I crested the hill on the south side of the patrol base -- careful not …

I come from thoughtful people. Every option is carefully considered and the alternatives painstakingly weighed. Then, unfortunately, we inevitably make absurd decisions based upon nothing more than the instinct of lemmings and complete impatience with the process of actually thinking things through to some logical conclusion.

When my darling son moaned pitifully for a pet when he was about 8, there was every reason to wait since we had just moved from the city to the suburbs and we were like Moses in the Bible: a stranger in a strange land. We realized the importance of my son acclimating himself to a new school and new friends. We never had a pet before so we had to train …
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