Posts Tagged ‘Summer’
January 31, 2013 | by Drew Bratcher
Before our fathers lost their jobs, before the kid at school collapsed on the practice field, before our grandmothers forgot our names, before the first big uprooting, the tug of bourbon, and the crises of faith, there was a shameless season along the cattail-flanked pikes of northeast Nashville, a season as tough to fathom now as it is mortifying to confess, when our biggest concern, at least on weekend nights late, was whose house to roll with toilet paper.
We were restive, brother. We were hemmed in by hills. There were no wars to fight. High-speed Internet had yet to invade the South. So under cover of catching a movie or playing pickup in the church gym, we pooled pocket money and raked the grocery clean of twelve- and twenty-four-packs of tissue. The cashier women could have tipped off the cops. There was no mistaking our intent for a collective case of irritable bowel syndrome. Still they shooed us through the sliding doors, perhaps wagering we might repay their clemency by passing over their cul-de-sacs.
We rolled Laura, the sweetest girl you ever met, and Tyler, the most likely in our class to find a cure for cancer. We rolled whole blocks of strangers. We rolled our next-door neighbors. We rolled Laura again. And in one ballsy feat not likely to be bested this millennium, we rolled our high school basketball coach, a Brobdingnagian who, when he got to shouting, sounded like Darth Vader passing a kidney stone in an echo chamber. Read More »
September 26, 2012 | by Jon Canter
An old Jewish man is hit by a car. As he lies in the road, dazed and bleeding, a woman rushes over, takes off her jacket, folds it, and puts it under his head.
“Are you comfortable?” she asks.
“Meh. I make a living.”
I was eight when my father told me this joke. I wasn’t sure I understood it. Jews worried more about making a living than being run over. Was that it? One thing I was sure of was that the road was in Golders Green, in northwest London, where I grew up and was bar mitzvahed.
Golders Green made me. Jews made me, with their jokes and their food and their pride and their warmth and their anxiety and their love of scholarship. I cannot be unmade, even though I haven’t been inside a synagogue since my bar mitzvah.
How far can you go from Golders Green and still be Jewish?
July 12, 2012 | by Jenny Hendrix
The town that I grew up in holds what people like to call, with a kind of pride in poverty, the World’s Shortest Parade on the fourth of July. A number of small towns make similar claims, but our parade, next to the beach on Maxwelton Road in Clinton, Washington, deserves it. From the field by the old Steiner farm it continues just two blocks, ending at Dave Mackie park, where a series of foot, sack, and three-legged races are run and the national anthem sung. It’s not required to register in advance to march; one simply arrives and lines up in either a motorized or non-motorized line. This year, the parade’s ninety-seventh iteration, the lineup included a number of dogs, a few Republicans, one guy in a gorilla suit, many bikes (some of them “Occupied”) and a truck full of violinists. As we waited for the start, a bored-looking high school baseball team called the Crabs slouched, chins in hand, on their hay bales, and a grandmotherly woman in a mermaid costume had her picture taken with one of two groups of pirates.Read More »
June 22, 2012 | by The Paris Review
Last night Daniel Smith taught me the word anxiolytics. It means “anxiety reducers.” (Dan is the author of Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety, so he should know.) His favorite nonchemical anxiolytic is Singin’ in the Rain. Mine, for now, is “Jesus Dropped the Charges,” by the O’Neal Twins. —Lorin Stein
The 1935 Silly Symphony cartoon “Cookie Carnival” raises so many questions, but most pressing: What is a rum cookie? The highly enlightening Wikipedia article informs us that the animated short, in which various varieties of baked good compete for the title of Cookie Queen, is a take on the Atlantic City bathing-beauty contests of the day, precursors to Miss America pageants. (Incidentally, the gingerbread hobo is voiced by the same actor who immortalized Goofy.) As a friend of mine commented, “Misses Licorice and Coconut were robbed.” And it’s true: Sugar Cookie’s easy victory (after she dons a blonde taffy wig, that is) is a testament to how little standards of beauty have changed, however much baked goods have. —Sadie Stein
Leanne Shapton’s Swimming Studies, which comes out in early July, needs to be on everyone’s bookshelf this summer. Or, more fittingly, in the pool house. And the latest Vanity Fair has a fun article about the origins of that hideously romantic painting The Singing Butler, which I’m sure you’ll recognize once you see it. —Thessaly La Force
“Helpless,” by Poindexter. I heard this song playing in a store downtown and was convinced it was a new track by French electro band Phoenix. Poindexter gets it right with well-placed cymbal crashes and the type of moody synth that sound tracks an eighties teenage tryst on a foggy night. You can buy “Helpless” off fashion’s jack of all trades (Kitsune) album Kitsune America. SO DO IT. —Noah Wunsch
June 30, 2011 | by Cody Wiewandt
Team |1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8 Total VF |0|1|0|0|0|1|1|1 4 TPR |2|1|0|0|0|0|0|0 3
There’s no easy way to say this, so I’ll just come out with it: yesterday we lost to Vanity Fair in softball. I know, I know—we’re embarrassed, we’re heartbroken, and to say that we were demoralized after the game is an understatement. (Oh, how we wept!) If life were a sports movie, this would be the game right before our turnaround, the low point that brings us back together, spurring us on to greatness. Our grizzled coach would make a passionate speech, and our distracted star player would wake up and dedicate himself to the team. Cut to the montage where we hit home runs and laugh at our practical jokes, topped off by a spinning newspaper with a headline like: “TPR ONLY ONE GAME OUT OF FIRST!” This isn’t a movie though, and thinking about those Vanity Fair hooligans pouring champagne all over each other after the game kept me awake last night, and probably will for weeks.
It started off well enough: after two innings we were up three to one, and it seemed like the rest of the game would be a walk in the park or a day at the beach or a peach on a beach or something like that. I started thinking about what I would write, certain I would preface it with “Not to be mean, but Vanity Fair really isn’t good at softball.” What hubris. From the third inning on, our bats were silent, our mitts were loose, and before you could say “Siddhartha Finch” we were in extra innings. After holding us at no runs in the top half of the eighth, they scored the winning run on a sharp single into right field. C’est la vie.
In the end, we let our—dare I say vanity?—get the best of us. We also let their third baseman—a big bald guy wearing jorts (jean shorts) and drinking a Coors Light—get the best of us when he told us to quit with our “literary softball bullshit.” He reminded me of my seventh grade gym teacher. He might actually have been my seventh grade gym teacher.
In a game like this there aren’t many highlights, but it would seem like adding salt to the wound if I failed to mention a spectacular catch by our right fielder Karen “The Franchise” Maine and the equally spectacular pitching performance by Devin “Meal Ticket” McIntyre. Meal Ticket, we should have pulled you an inning earlier; this loss isn’t on you, so don’t beat yourself up. You two surely can hold your heads high; the rest of us can remind ourselves that even though we lost, our mothers still love us.
June 28, 2011 | by Emily Witt
The Academy of American Poets promised youth. “All very hip, young, cool poets,” said the invite for a recent Thursday-night reading on the rooftop of the Arsenal Building in Central Park. And it wasn’t just that night’s reading. “The entire reading series,” the e-mail emphasized, “features hip, cool poets.”
On the evening of the hip, cool reading on the rooftop, the clouds hung low and threatened precipitation. The workers of Manhattan, newly released from their cubicles, surged up Fifth Avenue to Central Park, breathing in the cultivated scents of high-end retail that punctuated the doorway of each storefront.
“I’m sick of hearing about Barack Obama,” said someone walking behind me on Fifth Avenue, as I, newly released from my cubicle, inhaled the spicy, luxurious air that poured out the doorway of Henri Bendel. “You know?” she said to her companion. “I’m sick of the jokes.”
The skyscrapers all had trees growing from their atria or complex terraces of ferns sprouting beneath their glass panes. They looked like magazine ads for oil companies. Mr. Softee trucks lined 59th Street, which was also seething with joggers. Around the stoplights the young joggers clustered, running in place. They all wore T-shirts that read “The J. P. Morgan Corporate Challenge.” They jogged to and fro on some sort of athletic scavenger hunt; hip, young, cool corporate types on what appeared to be a fitness mission that promised team building but also possibly resulted in charitable contributions. (I looked it up later: “Forty companies celebrated fitness and camaraderie in one of the world’s greatest urban parks, while raising funds for the Central Park Conservancy.”)