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Chicago

How to Have an Opinion

13 minute read

Published:

Professor Lyons possessed the sort of casual self-importance which only former consulting attorneys and underpaid professors are capable of. He had elbow patches on his jacket. His favorite movie was The Big Lebowski. Every day, he carried a leather messenger bag stuffed with graded papers, syllabi, that day’s reading, and several cans of green La Croix, which he drank periodically throughout the class while one or another “that kid” spouted their opinion – as if the Wisconsonian sparkling water lent him willpower to listen. Read more

How to Hold Office Hours

5 minute read

Published:

Professor O’Leary wore circular spectacles and a wide brimmed wizard’s hat. Actually, it may have been a modest bucket hat, but the man so much resembled a wizard himself that the gray conical cap seems more likely in my mind. Read more

Missouri

How to Get Pinned

13 minute read

Published:

Eight months out of the year, most people called it the multipurpose room. It had the proportions of a dance studio or a chemistry lab – although it was neither – and inhabited the same basement hallway as the weight room and the lockers, containing neither weights nor changing areas. Two collapsible pitching cages hinted at one function, tucked against the near side wall, but for the most part their rolled-up turf served as a convenient bench for changing out of tennis shoes, not in use. Above these, gray steel beams supported the corrugated ceiling, covered in an insulating foam. The foam was peppered with tiny black dots, which once served as the only entertainment during a mandatory screening of “Your Body,” that the Health teacher showed, using a TV cart as wide as the doorway, well-equipped with both video-casette and DVD players, minus one remote. We sat on the floor, since the makeshift classroom had little in the way of seating. It was not, after all, really a classroom. Read more

How to go Casting

3 minute read

Published:

The lake is fifteen minutes from my parents’ house, which makes up for some of its other qualities. Dense thickets and collapsing mud walls encircle the water, interrupted by abandoned camping chairs and a mossy picnic table, which sinks into the Missouri mud. After a rainstorm, the Meramec surges into the lake, depositing Anheuser Busch cans and Marlboro butts all along the shallow cover, where bass like to hide. A thick, foamy film clings to the surface. Mercury levels make the fish not-quite-edible. A park pavillion overlooks the scenery on one end, a boat ramp on the other. Read more