How I Almost Became a Professional Wrestler (and Other Near-Careers)

When I was 5 years old, I decided to become a wrestler. The All-Star kind, not the Olympic sort. My future lay within the confines of a black and white television, where the inhabitants sported thigh-hugging tights, sequins as blinding as flashbulbs, lace-up leather boots, and mullets. I had a …

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Lessons Learned: Not My Grandmother’s First Rodeo

Gram & Gramps on a Texas sidewalk

I figured out that my grandmother really loved me on a bitter winter’s afternoon in St. Paul, Minnesota when I was 5 years old. Gram doled out hugs at frequent and random intervals, redolent with menthol cigarettes and sweet tea, but in the midst of a three-day, howling blizzard—one of …

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What’s Your Favorite Shark? Curiosity and Creativity

“What’s your favorite shark?” Questions like that one, coming from an eight-year-old boy I’ll call Simon, at 6:00 in the morning, b.c. (before coffee) were part of why I loved working aboard a sailing charter boat. Other benefits of the job were: rum, snorkeling and swimming every day (sometimes with …

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