BY BEN SLOTKY
Tortoise and Grass by Tambako The Jaguar / Flickr
At what point is it okay to tell your kids that they’re dumb? Like when should you tell them that they’re dumb? And I know, I know. There’s never a good time, right? Like I know, you’ll always have an excuse for why you don’t tell them they’re dumb. Maybe you’re too busy, maybe you’ve got things to do. That could happen, right?
[crouching down, looking out into light]
That’s a possibility, you’ve got a lot of things to do, you can’t tell them they’re dumb all of the time, right? Or maybe they’re about to get smart. Maybe they’re, right, maybe they’re like almost not going to be dumb anymore, yes, I get that.
Maybe it’s close to their birthday or Christmas. You don’t want to spoil it by being like, “Hey, you’re dumb!” I get that ma’am, I do and I do but what I’m asking here is, and I’ll go ahead and say it again, and I’ll hunch over a bit here, like this here, and what I’m asking is when?
Is it okay?
[Looks up, slight smile.]
BY ARRON BURROWS
Squishface #1 by Lynae Zebest / Flickr
Going over the Walt Whitman Memorial bridge, I see a sign that declared, ”Greatness never quits!” I think about that sign, until my father drops my wife and me off at the Philadelphia airport. It’s raining. Greatness, just what does that mean?
We get pushed, shoved, licked, and prodded through security. Make our way to gate E8 and sit in the waiting area. I wonder if any of the people around us will ever achieve greatness: the girl smiling at her phone with the travel pillow, the two older women sitting on the floor playing Mahjong, the couple whispering in each other’s ears, or the guy with the long beard staring at me as I write this. He smiles. If you could only count using your teeth, this guy would be limited to bunches of three.
He is rocking back and forth, glaring at me. I’m getting more concerned. A piece of food is dangling from his beard. I think it’s ham. Other passengers have begun to move away from him. My wife mentions that perhaps we should also move. No. I will not be frightened; Greatness never quits.
BY RASMENIA MASSOUD
Word by Tinnytintin / Flickr
I tell people she's dead. It isn't the truth, but it isn't a lie. Breathing isn't proof of life. Breathing sometimes happens only because the body hasn't caught up yet. It will sooner or later. In time, her body will realize that she's already gone. Not because she's special, but because it happens to everyone.
Explanations are exhausting. Telling people she died is easier than explaining why I don't talk to her. Why there is no place for her in my life. Why I despise her.
Most people think hating makes a person bad. That anger is a negative thing. Good for them. They found a happier way. In their ignorance, they have no idea how these things can keep a person alive.
Really alive. More than just breathing.
It's fewer words to say that she's dead. It saves time.