Transforming Monkeys

We’re social creatures. It’s instinctive; we’re primates, pack animals, tribal. We needed each other to live, so natural selection rewarded our ancestors who forged meaningful bonds, not merely based on blood or genes but commonalities of all stripes. An article from the early days of cracked.com sums it up with a lovely moniker: the monkeysphere.…

Transforming Manfeels

NOTE: This post was originally published on The Good Men Project on November 13, 2016 under the title, “Middle Age Lust and the Liberal Confessional.” As that title implies, the article acknowledges the existence of sex. Three decades after we ran the gauntlet of junior high together, my oldest friends are scattered across the globe,…

Transforming Fortysomething Wunderkinds

Last week, I did drinks and a show with DD, an friend from undergrad. 20 years since we hung out. 20 years of grad studies, calamities, marriage, kids, divorce, novels published and plays produced, and now we’re here—reminiscing, flirting, joking, eager to erase the decades of uncomfortable maturity. After I dropped her at home, she…

Transforming Osaka: Rear-View Funhouse Mirror

With Japan now firmly in my rear-view mirror, I feel some self-applied pressure to present a bunch of poorly-informed conclusions about the ancient, infinitely nuanced land through which I just stampeded. It turns out rear-view mirrors aren’t a very good tool for detailed analysis, especially when one is driving forward. Summing up Japan after 10…

Let’s Baseball!

On the train to the Osaka Dome, Jevon warned us that Japanese baseball tends to be a more conservative game—more cautious teamwork and mutual support, less grandstanding. “That’s fine,” I said, “I wouldn’t know the difference anyway.”  I’d been to maybe two previous games in my entire life, and honestly they felt pretty prudent, especially…

Transforming Reunions

Soon, alarmingly soon, I’m going to Japan for the first time. I have my passport, thank Ganesha, and I have enough new podcasts on my phone to while away the intercontinental flight, but otherwise I’m bleakly unprepared. I’m heading into foreign territory with no language skills and hardly any currency. Worst of all, I’m armed…