Edge Cases

2 years ago with 12 comments in Uncategorized
It didn’t seem weird to me as a kid1 that one of the things I loved to watch was Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung, the version my dad, the most accomplished music appreciator I have ever known, taped from PBS. The scene that stands out in my mind is the one between Alberich and the Rhinemaidens, recounted below — I looked up the names so I don’t sound too dumb, but the ...

Balance

4 years ago with 10 comments in Uncategorized
Lent really snuck up on me this year, the way Christmas never does. Of course there’s no real reason for the culture at large to get all geared up for Lent, since Lent usually means people buying less, not more. I doubt most people notice Lent at all, except for wondering about the black smudges. Still, that’s not a very good excuse for (1) eating a triple-size meal for Ash ...

Contact

5 years ago with 15 comments in Uncategorized
How do you talk to strangers? What are the rules? Nobody knows. I’m usually happy when a stranger speaks to me, and some strangers are happy when I speak to them, but everybody’s worried: will he think I’m weird? When I say Good morning, do I mumble or enunciate? How big is too big to smile at someone you don’t know? The other day at the gym I kept catching the eye of ...

Stage Fright

5 years ago with 7 comments in Uncategorized
I was having a great night out at the bar — I was with mostly men, a situation that would have once tied my tongue completely, but I was doing great! I left the booth to use the bathroom. I was so pleased with myself for being social, and relaxed, and non-awkward, and normal, that I congratulated myself in the mirror. Out loud. For being so normal. Then I heard the toilet behind me ...

The Holy Mallet

5 years ago with 15 comments in Uncategorized
Something terrible’s going to happen. I don’t know what it is. My teeth are going to fall out, or I’ll lose my job, or all of my friends will suddenly decide that I smell bad and they don’t want to be seen with me. I can tell something terrible’s going to happen, because I’ve been feeling so good for so long. My fellow pessimists-by-temperament will ...

Damn It Feels Good to be a Recluse

5 years ago with 19 comments in Uncategorized
I love being alone, and I hate it. Am I a natural introvert, or a thwarted extrovert? I spent all Sunday by myself. Some people would envy the pants off me for that — I’m thinking again of my married siblings. I know they love their kids and love spending time with them, but I know from my years as a teacher that being surrounded, all day long, by little people who need things, ...

The Boys’ Club

5 years ago with 12 comments in Uncategorized
It’s almost embarrassing to say it, because I had forgotten that I used to feel this way, but: I used to blame myself for having SSA. I thought, if only I’d hung out more with other guys and learned to be like them; if only I hadn’t quit the street hockey team, and soccer, and little league; if only I hadn’t faked sick on field day. If only I hadn’t been so ...

Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That

5 years ago with no comments in Uncategorized
“I’m attracted to men too,” said Fr. S. in the confessional when I told him about my problem. He wasn’t fooling me. He’s not the kind of man you would even wonder about. Not that men with SSA are never virile; I’m plenty virile. (And if you disagree I’ll punch you in the head.) But he was clearly making some kind of Point. “If I see a man ...