Adios, Abuela/The End of a Super power

When my great-grandfather died about 20 years ago, he wasn’t the first person I’d ever known to die, but he was the first to share my blood and to have shared a conversation with me to die. I remember feeling sad for his passing, and wondering how it made my mother feel, since he was her grandfather, but my emotions were vicarious. I did some math.

Many of my friends in school had grandparents way older than mine. Many had experienced the death of a loved one, usually grandparents. In elementary school, that always seemed the most reasonable tragedy. There were other bombshells — I knew a girl who died from an accidental stabbing, on Thanksgiving, as well as other infrequent cases of sibling or parental death — but dead grandparents were de rigeur, a dime a dozen, the coin of the realm.



I fell in love with superheroes and comic books around this time. My first love was Spiderman; my life love, Adam Warlock. So many heroes powers symmetry or asymmetry (or both) their personalities and histories.
Superman is a near-ominpotent alien whose powers stem from his unique reaction to the rays of our sun; his Achilles heel is kryptonite, a near-nonexistent alien element his powers have a unique reaction to. Reed Richards’ incredible brain stretches light years beyond even the exceptional human limits; as Mr. Fantastic, he can extend his body to unprecedented forms and extremes. Bruce Banner’s wrath and raging lead him to become The Hulk, a juggernaut whose strength lets him overcome if not transcend any and all obstacles, but also one whose unpredictable wrathful rages render his powers a mixed blessing at best.
What if I had a superpower? What if no one I loved would ever die? What if it was as simple as deciding it should be so? Borges wrote Todos los hombres, en el futuro, serán capaces de todas las ideas — “Every man should be capable of all ideas and I understand that in the future this will be the case.” Ideas once considered impossible are always being exposed as achievable, ergo “anything is possible,” ergo someone somewhere would have the power to keep everyone they love alive, forever, if only they had the imagination to consider it, and the commitment to never let the idea slide away.

My paternal grandmother died today. Continue reading

Knicks 104, Spurs 100 (OT)

sas nyk logo

The Knicks beat the Spurs! The worst team in the NBA beat the defending champs! I wrote the recap of one of the most dramatic games of the season. I also exposed my disdain for/ignorance of high school science, mixing up potential and kinetic energy. I tried to excuse the error by admitting that chemistry was the one subject I’ve ever studied I couldn’t get into. A commenter pointed out “Isn’t energy physics?”

I rest my case.

Bigger is Better

When I moved to Long Island in 2009, I left my (now) former bed behind upstate. For a few years, I lived in furnished apartments. Then for a few years, I lived with a girlfriend who had a bed. One day, nearly two years ago, my mother upstate called asking about some of my old things she wanted to get rid of to clear up room in her basement. She asked if I still needed my bed. My girlfriend and I agreed I should let my mom toss it, since we were cool sharing her bed. So I told my mother to go on and throw it out. A week later, my girlfriend broke up with me. I was a man without a woman. Even worse, I was a man without a bed.



Over the next 600+ nights, I’ve lived in five places. The only two nights since I slept in a bed was one night in a hotel because my dick landlord hired dick workers who left ceiling dust and plaster all over my apartment and didn’t feel like cleaning it, and the January day I had to cut my upstate-to-downstate trip short and stay at a hotel because of a snowstorm. But I come not to bury all the non-beds I slept in, but to praise them. In those 600+ nights, I slept Continue reading

Days I Love My Job

languagesOn Fridays at work from 12-1 and 1-2 the student-run organization I helped found last year meets. I’ve written about Foreign And Native Speakers (FANS) before; in sum, students come together to talk, sometimes in groups as large as 25 and sometimes split into smaller groups of 4-5. There are students from all over the world, representing multiple fluency levels and cultures/languages — the United States, the Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil, Nigeria, Egypt, Iran, Japan, China, South Korea, Bangladesh, India, Taiwan, and more.

Today’s the last day before spring break, so a lot of students are already out of town. But still, even on a Friday, even for an extracurricular activity most of them attend strictly because of personal desire, we had both meetings today. And even after the last meeting ended, three students stayed after for over an hour while we talked about the similarities and differences in the cultural vagaries and linguistic wowsers between Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, Russian, English, and Spanish, as well as what distinguishes modern Chinese written characters from traditional ones, how the Chinese characters influence other Asian languages, and what separates American dialects from one another. For example Continue reading

State Farm Insurance Fraud/Popping My Identity Fraud Cherry

Like a good neighbor my ass

Like a good neighbor my ass

Hundreds of dollars are missing from my bank account. Apparently it all went to State Farm. I have as much to do with State Farm as I did with the Armenian genocide, i.e. nothing.

I called the number listed for State Farm on my bank statement. No answer, so I looked them up online and called the listed number. The woman from the credit card department transferred me to their “insurance” department. I told the woman there what happened, expecting the usual resistance and hoops to jump through. Instead, she put me on hold while she said she was getting the form to process mailing my refund. When she returned, I figured we’d establish some formal relationship and that she’d need to give me contact information to send them proof of my claim. Instead, she asked me for my name.

Then my phone number.

Then my email (I gave her my work email).

Then “just” the last four digits of my bank card. Continue reading