I don’t want to come across as self-absorbed by writing a snippet of memoir here, I can’t take myself that seriously.  But I’m going to write it anyway.  So I guess the question is: how can I justify rolling gleefully in the decadent pig-trough that is the subject of Me?  Ahh, screw it.  Here goes.

When I was about six years old, living with my mom and my sister in the foothills of the Cascade mountains in Oregon, I received my first lesson in karma.  I have a few other memories from that house too – whistling for the first time, eating toothpaste, eating huckleberries, the tire swing in the front yard – but my lesson in karma is what really sticks out.

I’d like to think I was generally a good-natured young fellow, but somehow I got an idea that reminds me of the way Dr. Seuss’s Grinch smiles: I decided that I would place a tack on the stairs, and that my sister would step on it.  In my defense, I’m confident she was being super-mean to me that day, and I must have been really angry because I remember thinking how glorious it would be when my devious plan came to fruition.

So I carefully placed a tack on one of the creaking wood steps and ran upstairs to whatever corner seemed like the most strategic hideout.  And there, with the attention span of a common housefly on crack-cocaine, I waited.  And I waited.  And waited…

The next thing I remember is mom calling my name.  I ran down the stairs and – KERPOW! – the tack I had placed there sunk full force into my heel.  Crying out, I gasped as a deep throbbing pain rattled the nerve endings in my foot.  I hopped to my mother, wailing.  She removed the object in question and gave me comfort I knew full well I didn’t deserve, a few drops of blood speckling the floor.

It is without pride that I report this fact: I didn’t tell the truth about how it really happened.  Not to mention the keen realization, even at the age of six, that I was without a doubt one of the stupidest children to ever breathe this planet’s air.  And that was my first big lesson in karma.

The optimistic part of me and the proudly cynical part of me resent each other with all they’ve got.  They’re always looking squinty-eyed at one another, like two gunslingers at opposite ends of the dusty road that runs through the center of town in spaghetti-western movies.  But neither one of them ever draws.  It’s an eternal stalemate.


“The amuse-bouche is the best way for a great chef to express his big ideas in small bites.”           -Jean-Georges Vongerichten

“I’ve always just wanted to earn my living by writing.  The best thing is to go into my study in the morning and put words together.”  -Robert Harris