You’d all be speaking German

We’ve all heard some variation of the line: “If it wasn’t for us, you’d all be speaking German.” If it wasn’t for the American soldiers (“us”) who fought in World War II, Hitler would have conquered the world and we’d all be speaking German. I used to think this was yet another slam-dunk argument against the Nazis. But then I… Read more →

A Facebook Story

“When you were a baby I’d post a new photo of you every day to Facebook. And if you look back over all those pictures you’ll notice a certain man whom you’ve never met—yet he “liked” each and every one of your baby pics. That man, my child, is your real father. It’s time for you to friend him.“ Read more →

Upstairs

When I’m back home in Brooklyn I like to sit in my living room and listen to the man who lives in the apartment above mine yell. Sometimes I’ll get up from my couch and follow his shouting into my kitchen and cock my ear to the vent of the airshaft we share. Most of the time I have no… Read more →

Open Mic

Tonight I got up at a mixed open mic: comedians and musicians. The musicians were great and their songs broke up the open mic nicely. Listening to them made me wish I hadn’t stopped playing guitar in high school. If I had kept at it who knows where I’d be? Well, probably at the same open mic. Read more →

Eros Evolving

I take a seat in the back row of folding chairs in Piedmont Veteran’s Hall. While the crew checks the microphones and PowerPoint setup, a middle-aged woman comes down the aisle, bent over a four-wheel Rollator. She stops at a chair and struggles to make the move from standing to sitting. She adjusts an oversized fanny pack that’s slung over… Read more →

Don’t Kiss Liars

When I was in the first grade I lied about kissing Cynthia Medina. Even though technically we were boyfriend and girlfriend, we had a first-grade relationship. We didn’t call each other on the phone. We didn’t hold hands. And we definitely didn’t kiss. Being her boyfriend basically meant that I was nicer to her than I was to the other… Read more →

Black Tears

The man with two black tears tattooed on his face and I have the same dentist. I’m at the office for a cleaning when Black Tears walks in. Sweatpants, puffy winter coat—he looks like he was a fat kid back in the day, but a stretch of time spent in the clink has hardened him some. Opposite the tears, on… Read more →

Can Of Nickels

My mother dropped some coins into an empty 12-ounce can of Budweiser (which she had washed out), because someone had told her that the improvised device was an effective way to keep your dog from pissing on the floor. It was our family’s first dog: a sad, dumb, pure English bulldog named Crash. The dog was so pure in fact… Read more →

Ten

Most children are ignored. But a few are so used to adults listening to them that they’ll strike up conversations with elders wherever they find them. This 10-year-old boy found me in the waiting room at a voice over audition. We were there for different projects, but I was sitting across from him and his nanny, so that was reason… Read more →

Time Traveler

The other night I dreamed I was a time traveler. And of all the years I could have (re)visited, they—whoever they were—decided to send me back to 1991. And of all the places in spacetime they could have landed me, they decided to go with the front door of my childhood apartment in Woodside, Queens. I didn’t know what my… Read more →