30 going on 80

A decade ago, for my parents’ 25th wedding anniversary, I made them a photo collage—one picture from each year of marriage. Man, they were a busy couple. They didn’t have a ton of money in their early 30s, but they were always traveling or doing something fun, be it Disney World with me or Hawaii with friends or simply the local park as a couple.

It was my parents who taught me to stay active. For me, staying home is rarely my first choice. I do my best to get out on at least one weekend night (workload permitting). If I

Take a knee

Imagine a family at Thanksgiving dinner. Dressed in their Sunday best, they’re seated around a beautiful table with a golden-brown turkey in the center. They take each others’ hands and bow their heads to say grace.

“Heavenly Father, we thank you for …”

The doorbell rings, and there’s a loud banging at the door.

“Help!” says a frightened woman, screaming.

The father stops praying and opens the door.

“Help!” she says again. “Call the fire department! My house is burning, and my family is inside!”

At this point, the father has options. He can call 911 and help the poor woman. He can also go to

The talk

“Be careful out there, Son.”

“I know, Dad.”

“I know you know, but it’s my job to tell you.”

“But do you really have to tell me every time?”

“Yes.”

“Ugh, fine.”

“Now what do you do when you go into the store?”

“Take off my hood. Hands out of my pockets.”

“Keep your headphones out, too.”

“Alright, alright.”

“And smile at the store clerk when it’s time to check out. That’s just good manners.”

“Yes, Dad.”

“OK, let’s say you and Cindy are walking down the street and somebody says something about a guy like you being there with a girl like her?”

“I’ll kick his ass!”

“Watch your language. And no, you

Ho ho, hey, hey, the Electoral College is here to stay

One would have thought that after the longest presidential campaign in U.S. history, we would all be sick of talking about Nov. 8. But we’re not. Our president keeps handing out maps, rarely missing an opportunity to tell people about how bigly he won. Meanwhile, on the left, those who were with her then are still with her, as if she’s a sort of semidivine phoenix who’s going to rise from the ashes and place them all at her right hand as a sign of gratitude for their devotion and fervor.

“If only we had a popular vote!” they lament.

“Our elections

A parable

There once was a small town. It wasn’t a special town to the naked eye. Like most towns its size, it had a friendly welcome sign along the highway and a lovely park in the town square. Its schools were pretty good, save for the knuckleheads who’d rather play ball than do their homework.

But upon closer inspection, this town was a little different. Its inhabitants prided themselves on their awareness of various issues in their town, their state and their nation. The protested at the right times. They voted for the right candidates. They consumed and boycotted the right things.

“Sorry”

I dropped a dollar bill the other day. I was paying for lunch at work, and it slipped out of my hand as the cashier was reaching for it. It was my fault, the bill’s dropping to the floor. It landed between the cashier’s feet and the table on which the register was placed, so I knelt down and picked it up as I apologized.

The remarkable thing about this story isn’t my actions, it’s the cashier’s. From the moment the bill started falling until the point at which it was in the register, she apologized, too. She said “sorry” too

What do we do?

It was midway through watching the USA-Mexico match that my friend Nina asked me a question: “Do you think we live in a bubble?” said Nina, a European-Japanese-descent born-and-raised American. Her trilingual Colombian husband was in the other room playing with their beautifully multiethnic baby boy and talking to a Mexican-descent mutual friend.

I didn’t need to answer—that tableau spoke for itself. The last time a group at my house was whites-only was when my parents stayed the weekend, and that’s only after Armando had left. Nina, a nurse, and I, a teacher, spend each day surrounded by people of every

Maybe you shouldn’ta

I woke up at 4:30 this morning because the steroid shot I got yesterday to fight a nasty cold told me I should. Well, that and I’m still not adjusted to CST. I looked at my iPhone and saw the headline I knew (and feared) in my gut as long as a year ago that I’d see: Donald Trump is our president-elect. In light of this, I offer a debrief. It’s not reactionary (It’s pretty reactionary.), as I, unlike, apparently, a large number of Americans, have seen Trump as a legitimate contender for the 1600 for a while now. But

The Lochte-Douglas debate

As an avid Olympics fan, I’ve had every media device in my possession tuned to Rio for nearly two weeks. And despite all the (typically) negative predictions, the 2016 Games have been pretty problem-free. Which is why, in particularly America-in-2016 fashion, we’ve had to invent scandals to distract us from the fact that the United States is having one of its best Olympics in history.

The outrages-of-choice this year have chiefly concerned two athletes: gymnastics Gabby Douglas and swimmer Ryan Lochte. For those who have forgotten, a recap: Douglas’ hairstyle bothered some people, and she didn’t put her hand on her

White guilt, white rage

It was May, and my student assistant was deciding whether to order graduation announcements.

“Send some to your white friends,” I told him.

He looked at me, confused. I proceeded to explain that white, middle-class people have a compulsion for replying to invitations with either attendance or money (and usually the latter, as we consider it to be a fully acceptable replacement for the former). Even if he doesn’t know the person, I said, he’ll probably get $10. He laughed and, unfortunately for his wallet, didn’t heed my advice.

Growing up a middle-class, straight, white male, I’ve seen white guilt in action, and