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Human Parts
A publication from Medium about humanity: yours, mine, and ours.

THIS IS US

And taught me what’s really important in life

Image by Erik Drost via Wikimedia Commons

The NBA post-season ended in July, the Olympics came and went in August, the US Open was over before I knew it in September, so when the football season kicked off last weekend, I was thrilled. Before Covid, I could not have told you the difference between a shortstop and a running back, but as pandemic life crawled forward with no end in sight, I’ve gone from being a casual sports viewer to a total fanatic. …


LIVED THROUGH THIS

What it’s like to live in a 50 square-foot micro apartment in Seoul

Source: Sim Gyu-Dong, “Goshitel”

In the first week, I broke everything: a $2 plate from Daiso, which I’d loved for its spunky polka-dots. A cylindrical holder for my travel-friendly toothbrush and mini toothpaste. Finally, a precious Royal Albert mug I’d been given as a gift that spring.

Crash.

I looked numbly at the elegant ceramic shards spread across the jaundiced linoleum floor—cracked pieces of beautifully printed lavender and rose, now made useless — and tried to move past my dismay.

“I couldn’t have helped it,” I murmured to myself. Every time I spread my arms, something else topples over.

I wasn’t clumsy. I was…


EXPRESS YOURSELF

We contain multitudes; should our avatars reflect that?

watercolor of a little blue rounded monster shaped a little like an airplane window. He has triangular teeth in a smiling mouth that extends beyond his body, set close to to the top of the “window,” and a heart, and is wearing red sneakers and waving with stick-figure arms. Hand-lettering in typeface script reads “hi. this is bunt.”
illustrations Yi Shun Lai

The other week I woke up in an absolute, hellfire snit. I had not been that cranky in a long time. (I know you have been there.)

While I was lying there in bed, kvetching out loud and in general making a nuisance of myself, I recalled a creature I’d made years ago. I call him bunt.

Like most of my artwork, bunt is the result of a combination of things: One, I was feeling pretty yuck, because it was the weekend after the 2016 election had been called for D0nald Tr*mp. Two, I was also feeling happy, because we…


THIS IS US

A simple guide

You bring him home from the hospital, in our case so early that you haven’t yet bought him a bed.

You look at him, inscrutable in a quickly assembled bassinet, and set about understanding him.

You hold him.

You hold him until, and while, he learns to walk, then hold out your hands so that he has somewhere to practice walking to.

You hold him only when he wants you to (and perhaps just a little more).

You imagine him in the world, first looming above others, their turning to him; then small, unknown, alone.

You put on his socks…


THIS IS US

Thirteen days from Boston to Los Angeles, with my mother and brother

illustration: Nikita Klimov

I am from America. One Nation, Under God. I don’t live in America anymore though. I live in far-away countries that are sometimes under God, but mostly under skies, clouds, stars, the sun, the moon, and sometimes birds.

I decided to return home after nearly a decade for a road trip — a three-thousand-mile drive with my mother and brother in a Chrysler Seabreeze from Boston, Massachusetts (where I grew up) to L.A.

Sitting in the back of a car for long stretches opens the mind up to a lot of weird thoughts. About three hours after we set out…


LIVED THROUGH THIS

Living with ALS has changed the way people perceive me, and it’s disconcerting

Back when I was in elementary school, there were always kids who were pariahs. Kids with certain kinds of deformities, or speech impediments, or habits of drooling. We knew we were not supposed to mock these kids, and so we didn’t taunt them openly, but we shunned them in subtle ways nonetheless. We would avoid them, or whisper about them, or choose them last for our teams, thinking our behavior would go unnoticed. But of course it was noticed. Noticed by the poor kid herself, noticed by the other students, noticed even by the teachers. …


Imaginations ran wild

Photo: Getty Images / StockRocket

My mom was all about healthy snacks but knew enough about branding not to call them “healthy snacks” so she’d just ask if we wanted “something to eat.”

A lot of our household items felt either like sentimental family heirlooms or like timeless, origin-less utilitarian practicalities that had always been there, like carbon or darkness.

The indestructible, colorless blender.

A bagel guillotine so old and reliable I never learned to use a knife.

An eternal Pyrex serving dish with five sections, four of which were like planets orbiting the Sun of the center console, designed to hold a container of…


Planet Soul

The paradox of being both human and divine

Photo by Rhett Wesley on Unsplash

The light on my alarm clock slowly glows brighter, signaling it’s 5 AM and time for me to get out of bed. I start my morning early before anyone else in the house wakes up. This is my favorite time of day. It’s also a time when the veil between spirit and matter is at its thinnest, so I try to keep it sacred.

Today, I’ll walk the dog, feed the chickens, and drive my children to various activities. I’ll fold laundry and buy groceries. If I’m lucky, I’ll get some work done.

I’ll likely say something that pisses someone…

Human Parts

A publication from Medium about humanity: yours, mine, and ours.

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