### Congratulations?

In the mid 1950s, my grandparents bought a 700-square foot two-bedroom, one-bath, summer home in western North Carolina. They paid \$5000. Their first visitor considered the shoddy construction, the 25-foot wide lot, the peeling paint, the obscure location hundreds of miles from Brooklyn and the rest of the known universe.

John Irving’s character, Garp, defined gradual school as “where you go to school and you gradually find out you don’t want to go to school anymore.“ I, to the contrary, loved graduate school, would still be there if I could. The coursework, professors, and colleagues were invariably awesome. What could

### Loser

A silver medal in the Olympics is better than a bronze medal. Duh. Second place is better–by any reasonable definition of the word “better”–than third place. Given a choice, wouldn’t you want to stand higher on the podium? You certainly would want your child to be second rather than third

### Uncommon Divisors

Division is my thing. I love how a dollar can be perfectly divided into four equal parts each one of which has its own name, a quarter. I love seven as a denominator. The repeating six digits have an eloquent pattern. One seventh equals .142857… Two sevenths is .285714… It’s

### Reject

Fixating on only one potential romantic partner leads nowhere good. Ooh, I love her so much, I’ll never be content with anyone else is the voice of a wallowing adolescent not a rational adult. The reality is that my unrequited affection for Sophia Vergara is my problem–not hers. She will live a

### Nicotine, Opioids, Student Debt

How many loving parents would encourage their children to smoke cigarettes? How many sensible moms and dads would recommend that their kids take recreational opioids? What about student loans? Would any rational parent recommend that their students be graduated with more debt than they are likely to earn in a

### Get Me Rewrite!

If 80% of life is just showing up, then an even greater percentage is filling in forms. “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt” is bad advice when trying to qualify for a loan. When the refinance people ask

### The Finger

A man goes to the doctor’s office. He points to his shoulder, says, “Ouch! That hurts!” The man touches his knee, says, “Ow! That hurts too!” The man touches his forehead, says, “Wow, that hurts a lot!” The doctor says, “Your finger is broken.” I have been pontificating in these columns

### Teacher’s Lament

If snowplow parenting only increased the likelihood that your kid would morph into a sniveling, entitled, feckless, unhappy monster living in your basement borrowing your credit card, I wouldn’t spill any more electrons trying to help you raise a responsible kid who understands that his actions have consequences for him.

### Differences

I adore my wife. Let’s be clear up front. This is not one of those “my wife doesn’t understand me” clichés more appropriate to a lower class of fiction. My blog is not a dating website. My wife is awesome. All that said, Patti and I did stay at an