#979: Brian. Little Girl.

September 12th, 2018 § permalink

When your first impression is of youth, it’s hard to start that story.

What does it mean when you remember someone as young? How young? Younger than me? Younger than the composite age of my aggregate readership? Younger than my prejudices of someone too damn fool to listen to good music and respect their my-aged elders?

Sometimes, it’s easy to describe someone as young. Brian was young, too young to need the quad cane at least. » Read the rest of this entry «

#972: The Barber Battle Book

August 27th, 2018 § permalink

My barbershop plays rock ‘n’ roll.

They have biker and shave-culture memorabilia on the walls and stacks of Hells Angels zines next to vintage ’70s Playboys. They have a “pint club” where you can pay $20 for a year of free beer, plus smiling, tattooed men who take as much time as it takes to make sure you’re perfectly happy.

No appointments, cash only. When you walk in, you sign your name on a chalkboard and they call you in turn.

This is how we get haircuts in 21st century America. And I wonder if the smiling man with the thick blonde ponytail, the man calling my name and brushing off my chair, knows we live in the city that shaped how the nation cuts hair. » Read the rest of this entry «

#968: White Babies

August 17th, 2018 § permalink

I want to wait until after my kid’s born to post this.

As I write this, it’s early-mid August. My wife and I are in the “any day now, any moment now” phase. She’s sprinting like a madwoman, running every errand, cleaning every surface, complaining all the while that she’s being lazy and lumpy. She’s like that. Good enough is never enough. I admire that in her.

But since we don’t know the moment she’ll get a pain and I’ll get a call, I don’t want to schedule this story yet. I don’t want to look back on the moment of my daughter or son’s birth and have it be the day I posted a story about the hate sign dangling lazily in the first neighborhood my child will know. » Read the rest of this entry «

#962: In Praise of Alleys

August 3rd, 2018 § permalink

Sometimes they’re ugly.

Sometimes they’re dirty.

Sometimes they’re actually streets and once in a while they’re made of wood.

But I sing the alley electric. » Read the rest of this entry «

#960: The King of Quiet Moments

July 30th, 2018 § permalink

In my neighborhood, there’s a school for the French. Next to it is a French café owned by a French woman who smiles like a diamond sparkles and whose forearms drip and dangle with tattoos.  » Read the rest of this entry «

#933: Milkshake Day

May 28th, 2018 § permalink

She doesn’t know why the dick pics are flaccid sometimes.

I mean, she has other questions too. » Read the rest of this entry «

#928: Comparing and the Train

May 16th, 2018 § permalink

I hauled some boxes from storage this week and made the mistake of looking at my past.

Letters, birthday cards, photos of people I had forgotten about and of people I won’t ever be able to. Trinkets and trophies hard-won but now more a matter of storage space than personal pride.

I’ve googled some people from that shared past, disparate present. Of course their photos are lovely and their web presence curated. Of course no one posts the moments of whimsy and maudlin and floating, aimless sad. No one of this crowd but me was dumb enough to put anything but happy things online.

So I went to my happy place — the Chicago public transit system. » Read the rest of this entry «

#926: My Mother Keeps Making Fun of Me About Cannibalism

May 11th, 2018 § permalink

In honor of Mother’s Day on Sunday, a text conversation between me and my mother.

For context, in the May 4 story #923: Simon Pure about meeting a friend’s baby for the first time, I accidentally wrote that we were putting “grilled unions” on the hamburgers instead of “onions.” » Read the rest of this entry «

#925: A Walk in the Rain

May 9th, 2018 § permalink

I want to write about four men of Polish, Ukrainian, Lithuanian or some other ethnicity that meant their words sounded like Klingon head colds.

They hid from the rain under the small alcove created by the locked glass doors of the laundromat that went away more than a year ago. Despite the building owners’ window-posted plans of a luxury bar/restaurant deal filling the space, new suitors never courted the corner lot once the poor people clothes washery was ousted.

Now it’s a glass-walled corner lot, vacant but for the Halloween costume shop that stops by in September. It not being September, the lot’s only purpose is to provide a small alcove for orange-hoodied construction workers to hide from the rain. » Read the rest of this entry «

#908: The Colloquium

March 30th, 2018 § permalink

“Sal’s late,” the fry cook said.

“He was late yesterday too,” the man on the end of the linoleum counter said as the waitress topped off his coffee.

“It’s always quiet ‘til Sal gets here,” the waitress said, rushing back to refill the pot. » Read the rest of this entry «

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