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Preview: Outer Life

Outer Life

The history of today.

Published: 2012-07-28T10:45:19-07:00


Magical Realism


Unpacking books, I hold a slim volume by Wallace Stevens. Opening it to a bookmarked page, I see “The Emperor of Ice Cream.” It’s been years since I read it. For some reason, I stop unpacking, sit down, and re-read...

Tattoo You


I’ve never wanted a tattoo. As a kid, I met some of my father’s navy friends and saw what old tattoos look like on old skin. Tattoos are like skin grafitti. They can be clever, but how many are worth...

Too True


In the online dating world, you are your picture and your profile. So as I prepare to dip a toe into that world, I’m thinking a lot about which pictures to post and what to say in my profile. The...

Dying Alone


It seems like everywhere I look these days I see dating advice articles. When I was married I never saw them, but now that I am a newly single man contemplating entry into the modern dating world I see them...



In college he was known as “Aruba.” Freshman year, he was always telling us he was “off to Aruba” or “just back from Aruba,” so if you were describing him to someone, you’d say “you know, that guy who’s always...

Serendipitous Reading


I live for serendipitous reading experiences. Take, for instance, four strands in my recent reading: Strand 1: Errol Morris/Saul Kripke I am an avid consumer of the lengthy essays Errol Morris occasionally publishes in The New York Times and, in...



In my quest to be a cliche, when my wife and I separated I moved to the beach. So to get my kids, I now drive a long, windy canyon road that’s just a single lane in each direction. Its...



Karma is a bitch. E.g., Snow Day at Shady Glen! Not a real snow day, mind you, this being Southern California, where it’s 80 degrees in December, but a Snow Day Shady Glen style. This means tons of shaved ice...



Sitting in another comic book movie with my 11-year-old son, my thoughts turn to my own superpowers. Yes, I have superpowers. At least three. One is the power to disappear. I am the invisible man. Especially at parties. One minute...

The History of Today


Never start a story before you know how it ends. In January I posted "The Headache, Part 1." This was intended to be the first of a multi-part saga chronicling my two-and-a-half year bout with migraines so severe they were,...

The Headache, Part 1


Summer 2009. A double bat mitzvah. Two sisters. We know their parents well, so we’re there in the temple for the full ceremony. Can’t just waltz in later for the reception. No sir, we’re sitting through the entire ceremony. In...

Empty Middle Seat


Years ago I met a very rich person. This very rich person had so much money that if he just invested it in a money market fund, he would earn more in one day than I earned in an entire...

The Banker, Take 2


He’s an investment banker. I’ve known him for ten years. “Known” only in the working sense, never in the social sense. His bank is one of the banks that works with my company, so when his bank does a deal...

The Banker


He’s an investment banker. I’ve known him for ten years. “Known” only in the working sense, never in the social sense. His bank is one of the banks that works with my company, so when his bank does a deal...