My friend Jonah sent me the above text. It led — ineluctably — to the following:

Today we acknowledge the passing of Walter Stanley Gates, one of the most scandal-plagued individuals in American history.

Born in 1948 in Walnut Grove, GA, Gates was a mischievous child who spent much of his youth in and out of juvenile detention. It was only when he discovered his natural aptitude for athletics (while outrunning the entire Walnut Grove police force during a shoplifting spree) that young Gates managed to find some direction. …

“Is your life worth more than a bee’s?”

Every semester, Professor Morton opened his Intro to Philosophy class with this question. He’d been doing it for so long — had it really been 27 years? — that he knew exactly how the discussion would play out.

Knee-jerk exceptionalism of the “human lives are worth way more than bugs” variety would be delivered by the backwards-hat frat bro, this year occupying the middle seat in the back row. The request for clarification — as in, “What exactly do you mean by ‘worth’? Whose terms?” — would come from the mousey blonde…

“Is there room for two at this table for three?”

That was how Ben introduced himself to Laurel. Except “introduced” is the wrong word. The library was crowded that day and Laurel was sitting in the middle seat at a long table with three available spots, the best table in the entire library, the one overlooking Alpine Park across the street, the table with the six-plug power strip tacked to the wall above the table’s surface for easy access, the table where two of the three hard-backed chairs had seat cushions.

Laurel was, as previously noted, sitting in the middle…

On Sunday, November 23, 2009, the author embarked on an eight-night, nine-day, round-trip leisure cruise from New York City to the Bahamas aboard the Carnival Dream, at the time the largest and most technologically advanced ship in the Carnival fleet.


Where to begin? Is the world big enough for two essays about cruise vacations written by middle-class, late-30s white guys? To channel Lloyd Bentsen talking to Dan Quayle in the 1988 vice-presidential debate, “I’ve read David Foster Wallace. I admire David Foster Wallace. David Foster Wallace was a great writer. Sir, you are no David Foster Wallace.” So why…

An apocalyptic feminist manifesto disguised as an epic poem

Eve took the rap for original sin.
Ergo the heave-ho of women and men,
Tossed out of heaven and tilting towards hell,
Blamed all on a pomme-eating mademoiselle.

After that it was her fault and his to repair.
“We’ll take it from here, ladies. Go find a chair.”
The first piece of business, the touchstone, the key?
Invent a new concept; hence, misogyny.

“You blew it in Eden. It’s our turn on earth.
It’s time to show women how little they’re worth.”
And along came the long-standing patriarchy
Whose results — over time — are quite easy to see.


Breaking it down for the lovers out there on Valentine’s Day

What thing is this — a simple kiss?
It seems a contradiction.
In all my life, not once or twice
Have I enjoyed such fiction.

Confess I must. Sagacious lust?
I’ve yet to feel love’s foment.
My first lip lock came as a shock,
A reflex in the moment.

That fateful first my ideal burst.
I wish the chance had missed me.
She said, “You’re cute.” I played the mute
And suddenly she kissed me.

No fireworks. No buckled knee.
No static electricity.
No angels’ voices from on high.
No nightingale’s sweet lullaby.
No cause to jump or scream or shout.
No thrill worth writing…

A by-no-means-comprehensive guide to writing for the advertising industry.

While she was in grad school, a friend of mine relayed this quote from her anatomy professor: “I can’t verify the accuracy of the information I’m giving you.” The same is true for what you are about to read. If it doesn’t appeal to you or ring true then, by all means, disregard it. In this business, you’ve got to trust your instincts. Until the creative director, account team or client weighs in and overrules you, do your own thing. Your job is not to “put your client cap on” or “play devil’s advocate.” …

Ryan Edmonson

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