Tag Archives: my memoir

Me, Albee and the Butterfly Effect: Scholars & Rogues Honors

An icon of the American theatre, Edward Albee, died this week. Scholars & Rogues honors him and notes the small ways that the influence of great artists can affect our lives for years to come.

The Zoo Story by Edward Albee, New Theatre Company, The Factory Theatre, Boston, 2/23/12-3/4/12

The Zoo Story by Edward Albee, New Theatre Company, The Factory Theatre, Boston, 2/23/12-3/4/12

We read The Zoo Story in one of my classes at Wake Forest – maybe freshman or sophomore year. I absolutely loved it. I think Jerry spoke to my teenage sense of who I was and what I didn’t want to be, and this dynamic was reinforced by the culture of the university. Wake was conservative and elite. I was conservative, but working class. Many of my fellow students were preparing themselves for sensible, practical, conventional lives. I wanted to be a poet. So while I don’t believe I necessarily understood that tension then the way I do now, I felt an immediacy in Peter and Jerry’s confrontation that, truth be told, still resonates for me today.  Read more

Cerebellar ataxia and me: trying to live while the brain is dying

Spinocerebellar ataxia sucks the joy out of another day…

As I have mentioned before, I have a degenerative brain condition. It’s called spinocerebellar ataxia, and is essentially an atrophying of the portion of the brain that coordinates and regulates muscular activity. If you read the details at NIH you’ll probably understand pretty quickly just how nasty it really is. It has taken away a lot of what I love in life and is, for now, uncurable. For the most part, there is also no treatment for the symptoms.

My doctors at the University of Colorado Health Center are some of the best in the business, and we have had frank conversations about what this disease means for me. Read more

My Memoir: Dodgeball

It was the greatest moment of my life.

I attended a high school in rural North Carolina that was probably typical of rural high schools in every way, up to and including the sadistic coach/science teacher archetype. At our school it was Coach Kelly. He ran the wrestling program, was an assistant football coach, and, of course, an educator specializing in the lower division sciences. Side note: my high school has never produced a Nobel winner.

Anyhow, it was either my freshman or sophomore year and I had Mr. Kelly for PE. One day, when it was either too wet or too cold to go outside, the activity was Dodgeball. Read more

My Memoir: ice cream

Sam-Smith-MemoirWhen I was a kid my grandparents and I would sit on the couch and watch television in the evenings. We had all kinds of favorites. Beverly HillbilliesAndy GriffithAll in the FamilyHee-Haw, Happy DaysThe Brady BunchThe Rockford FilesThe Partridge FamilyLaverne & Shirley, you name it. Those were great times, even though we only had black and white. And over the air, so usually rabbit ears with enough tin foil hanging off them to wrap a decade’s worth of Thanksgiving leftovers.

Anyway, every once in awhile Grandmother would look over at me and say, “do you want some ice cream?” Read more

My memoir: Sam vs Peaches

I’m the Forrest Gump of apples.

My favorite desserts often involve apples. Apple pie, apple cobbler, apple crisp, apple tarts, baked apples, apple dumplings, stewed apples, apple danish, apple butter, apple kugel, applesauce, apple cake, apple cookies – especially those soft Archways… [sigh] I’m sort of the Forrest Gump of apples.

But my childhood was a frustrating one. My grandmother (I lived with my grandparents) was a great baker, and her pies and cobblers were delicious. Obviously I wanted apple pie and apple cobbler. Like, every meal.

But I had a problem: my grandfather preferred peaches. Read more

Je suis Mourinho

Is José Mourinho an all-time great, or merely the greatest of a generation?Jose Mourinho

Imagine the following scenario.

After last year’s Super Bowl win the New England Patriots enter the 2015-16 season as strong contenders to repeat. However, for reasons that aren’t immediately clear, they come out of the gate slowly, losing a series of games they’d be expected to win. As the middle of the season approaches, things have grown dire. The Pats are 1-6, rumors swirl that Bill Belichick has lost the locker room, and nobody except the weakside linebacker is playing worth a damn. Linemen can’t block, all-pro receivers have forgotten how to catch and Tom Brady has thrown 20 interceptions against zero touchdown passes.

Bob Kraft finally throws in the towel and fires Belichick. In the next game, with the secondary coach acting as interim head coach, the Patriots look like their old selves as they roll Cleveland 35-3.

Insane, huh? But that’s more or less exactly what has happened with English Premier League Champions Chelsea FC this season. Read more

The Tuesday before Thanksgiving: a moment of symmetry in a ragged life

It’s been a strange couple of years.

In August 2013 I moved to Seattle to take a new job. I was leaving the city I love, leaving my friends and my life and diving blind into the great unknown. I’ve done this before, several times, but it gets harder as you get older, especially when it feels like you’re running from things instead of toward them. Still, I was optimistic and looking forward to the new opportunity.

Three months later – on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, to be precise – the designated sociopath from the home office in Charlottesville walked into the building, closed the office and fired everyone. Read more