In my family, only one Thanksgiving tradition has stood the test of time and place. It’s not the turkey or the stuffing or even my mother’s famous pumpkin rolls, though if we are lucky, those foods are all there, and they are delicious. It’s not food at all, or the particular array of people present. It’s what happens in the moment toward the end of dinner, once the meal has been devoured and praised, when the coffee is being made and the pie being sliced and doled out onto plates. My dad pours himself another wine—red, of course, "it's good for the heart!" he says—looks at the table in front [...]
My name is Alan. And I was catfished.
Room, in unison: Hi, Alan.
It’s taken me a long time to admit that. Every aspect of the situation is paralyzingly embarrassing, as you can imagine—even the term we now use to describe it. (Thanks, Nev!) But it happened, it happened to me, and it cut like a burn.
When it began, I was living in a hole of self-pity, depression, and a sharp, perpetual loneliness. I was under the belief that finding a romantic partner would ease some, if not all, of these woes. I was also under the impression that absurd amounts of alcohol would smooth my days and calm [...]
I wake to the familiar smell of yak dung. It's day 20 of a month-long hike through the Nepalese Himalayas. Bhimsem, my guide, is slurping dahl bat in the teahouse kitchen. He's anxious to get going, even though we have 14 hours of daylight to trek three miles; the same three miles local children hike twice a day just to get to school. He fidgets with his backpack straps as I eat a chocolate pancake. Then, the speech.
Today we will see many mountains. We will go up. And we will go down. There will be many sights. You will take pictures. Yes? Bhimsem is frustrated when I take pictures [...]
I was 19 when I first experienced sleep paralysis, and that time it took the form of man lying on top of me, so heavy that it was hard for me to breathe. I’d been dreaming of a heritage village in the South Island town my mother lives, a fenced in collection of buildings with a windmill and a cafe and a book fair every year. It was a pretty innocuous dream, at first; everything was sunny and gentle and not much was happening. At the front gates I saw a friend I hadn’t spoken to in a long time, and while I was trying to talk to her I [...]
Give us 6 UNIQUE FUN FACTS about yourself. Fun facts can be anything from your biggest achievements, to a special talent, to a life story. What sets you apart from every other contestant? Make yourself stand out! Start with: What game shows have you appeared on? When? How much money did you win?
I have never appeared on a game show. Frankly, I've never really thought about appearing on a game show. Sure, I've mentally spent the jackpot prizes I've seen on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and set a personal limit for taking the deal on Deal or No Deal?—as soon as it hit six figures, I'd be [...]
This is the first installment in a series about summer camp.
Vicki, Cathy, and Michelle ran Oldest Girls with an iron fist wearing a lacy fingerless glove. In 1985, these three teenage girls were the most powerful regime I had ever encountered; fueled by hormones and boredom, they ripped me from the world of Cabbage Patch Kids and roller skates to the world of drinking warm schnapps out of a plastic margarine container in the woods. I’m not sure why they chose me, I’m just sure that they did.
•••My parents sent my sister Kim and me to day camp every summer. Not a fancy overnight camp—day camp. At Camp [...]
I am 22 when it first occurs to me that migraines will impede my projected path through life. It is the first week of my first real job. My business card says Rural Reporter, which distinguishes me from the Education Reporter and the Business Reporter and the Crime Reporter, but really we are all rural reporters, at a tiny newspaper in a town you’ve never heard of, tucked away in the foothills of the Washington Cascades. Thanks to a nearby spearmint factory, which refines the sweet oil used in candies and toothpaste, the whole town smells like a pack of gum left on a car dashboard on a hot summer [...]
In Double Trouble, book one of Francine Pascal’s seminal 1980's Young Adult series, Sweet Valley High, series protagonist Elizabeth Wakefield is slut-shamed by proxy.
Here is how it happens: Jessica Wakefield, Elizabeth's twin sister and the series antagonist, is having it out with Bruce Patman, the son of one of the richest, most corrupt families in town. Patman's father plans to turn the Sweet Valley High football field into a public garden, and the good-looking scion tells Jessica, “Hey, when it comes to having a disgrace in the family, just consider your sister, Elizabeth, the pub-crawler.”
"Pub-crawler." If we were to translate this term away from its Sweet Valley white-bread code, [...]
“Rest in peace, Gram. So happy you’re finally home. We love you!” read my Aunt Patty’s Facebook post. I was sitting in LaGuardia airport with my cousin, Shauna. I read it aloud to her.
We were confused. We had buried “Gram,” my great-grandmother, in 1987. I remember all the funerals I went to as a kid because Gram was on the Irish side of my family, and at Irish funerals I made approximately zero dollars simply for showing up. This was in direct contrast to funerals I attended for the Italian side of my family. At those, every relative I said hello to told me what a beautiful young woman [...]