Part 1: Documenting Lives: From cave drawings to Facebook posts, we humans have been obsessed with documenting our lives since we took our first few steps on the planet. Aging seems to play a part in this obsession. (Read More) Part 2: Parents document for their kids: Go to any talent show, dance recital, soccer game or concert that involves kids and get ready to be distracted. The sound of cameras clicking and video recorders powering on and off is an… (Read More) Part 3: Preserving Grandparents’stories: My father died two days after my wedding. I received the news at the airport in Hawaii. My wife and I had just arrived, excited to begin our honeymoon adventure. While walking to the baggage claim, I… (Read More)
I met Frank at a deli of all places. No, I didn’t frequent delicatessens in order to meet available young men. In fact, I had never even seen another person at the shop besides Mr. Prattle, the friendly butcher, who always wore a large white apron that covered up his extremely massive belly. Little did he know that his apron was conspiring against him, rather than working for him. The ploy would have worked except that his apron was always smeared with the juices of various meats, giving my eyes little choice but to focus their fullest attention directly at his midsection. However, when I walked into the deli that morning I didn’t even notice portly Mr. Prattle; I only had eyes for Frank.
It was already pitch black when I heaved my backpack off the train floor and stepped out into a cold, rainy night in a town close to Lake Geneva, Switzerland. This was the last leg of my European tour, a trip I had meticulously planned in order to attend the various music festivals offered each summer. The Montreux Jazz Festival was the culmination of my trip, a festival I had dreamed about attending ever since I discovered Dexter Gordon, Live at Montreux, at an old used record store. I must have played that record a thousand times, each time imagining myself in the crowd, taking in his soulful music. I had to pinch myself. I was actually here. I couldn’t have been more excited. Except for one small problem. The…
When my boots first hit the sand, they joined the hundreds of other boots scattered across that picturesque beach in the north of France. The boots weren’t there to relax and take in the view; they were there on a mission to dislodge the enemy. My boots didn’t listen at first. They stuck in the sand and didn’t move, as if to say, “Let someone else do the dirty work for a change.” But when the bullets starting flying and soldiers started falling, my boots ran for their life and carried me with them.
I always dreamed of having a family. Somehow even as a kid, I knew I wanted to be a dad someday. This made no sense from a practical standpoint, because at the time I hardly knew how to take care of myself. And who was I—a kid who rarely bathed, often wore the same clothes for weeks, and never brushed or flossed—to think that I might actually one day be responsible enough to take care of another human being? But I must have been onto something because here I am many years later doing just that, or at least trying my darndest to keep my head above water as I perform my parental duties as best I can.