The media must stop underestimating the severity of this illness

Photo by Hailey Kean on Unsplash

I can still remember the incredulous expression on my mother’s face as I tried to walk her through all the different precautions I knew she would have to take to protect herself from the coronavirus.

“Don’t go anywhere you don’t need to go,” I told her. “And when you do go out, bring a box of latex gloves with you everywhere. Wear them when you open doors, take money out of ATM machines, and pick up your prescriptions. When you’re done, throw them away in a trash can and use hand sanitizer on your hands before you touch anything else.”


The single life isn’t as great as you remember

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

The closer I get to 40, the more frequently I encounter married, middle-aged men who claim they envy me because I’m still single — and it’s starting to get just a little bit irritating.

Before I go any further, I need to point out that some of the men who have confessed their jealousy to me are clearly stuck in unhappy marriages, and I certainly don’t blame those men for feeling the way they do. …


Is it really so bad to grow old?

Photo by Fabrizio Azzarri on Unsplash

What is the value of a consoling arm around your shoulders as you let out a good cry? Or the attentive gaze of a friendly coworker listening to you vent about your overbearing boss? Or the well-timed joke meant to momentarily distract you from the mountain of bills sitting on the kitchen table? Or the familiar smile of the one true love who makes your heart do somersaults every time you lay your eyes upon them?

Discussions about the value of human life often revolve around contributions and achievements that can be measured — the number of records set over…


How I Changed My Mind

I used to think ‘an eye for an eye’ was fair and just, but I’ve seen enough to know it’s not

San Quentin State Prison. Photo: Jitze Couperus via Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Every writer writes for different reasons. Some people write to inform. Others to vent. For many, writing is a hobby. For a select few, it’s a profession. For me, writing serves several different purposes, one of which is to act as a tool that I can use to refine my ideas about the world and the institutions, philosophies, and cultures that govern it.

Next to my laptop is a stack of essays I wrote many years ago. Every now and then, I pull one out of the pile, pick it apart, and attempt to piece together a persuasive counterargument for…


Photo by Quentin Rey on Unsplash

WARNING: This piece contains LOTS OF BIG SPOILERS from the new Joker movie. If you haven’t seen it yet, stop right here and do not go any further— unless of course you’re not planning to ever see the movie, in which case, please continue on!

I’ve been battling a severe form of obsessive-compulsive disorder for more than twenty years of my life. In college, it cost me not one, not two, but three different jobs. I’ve lost countless close friends who just couldn’t make heads or tails of my compulsions. I once went two full years without a single hug…


Your intentions tell me something important about who you are and help me decide how to respond to your bad actions

Photo by Harli Marten on Unsplash

Human beings screw up all the time. Our propensity for making bad decisions and engaging in harmful acts is literally baked into our DNA. It is therefore safe to say that each and every one of us is not only capable of committing harm, but that we simply can’t avoid committing harm.

The question is, then, how are we to determine the degree to which a person needs to be punished for harmful behavior? The answer depends largely on what you think the purpose of a punishment should be. If you believe, as many progressives say they do, that it…


An unexpected lesson learned from the unlikeliest of sources

Photo by Shelby Deeter on Unsplash

On her face, an expression of abject despair endured through days both bright and blue. On his, a melancholic melody sang forth from the weather-worn crevices and contours that betrayed his true age. They never smiled. They never laughed. They appeared to be absolutely miserable, and there was no indication that fate was prepared to spare them even the slightest bit of mercy.

Their names were James and Julia. When I first met them back in the summer of 2004, they were sitting quietly on a North Philly park bench, her…


Lessons learned from my struggle with religious scrupulosity

Photo by James Coleman on Unsplash

When I was a child attending Catholic school, I was given an easy-to-follow set of rules that I was repeatedly told would assure my good standing with my family, my friends, and my heavenly maker above. I never dared to question why any of these rules existed, whether they were applicable to every situation in which I might one day find myself, or whether any of them could even stand on their own merits. …


The true value of a thing is found in the stories it has to share

Image Credit: darksouls1 via Pixabay

Regina sat stone-still in her grandfather’s throne listening to the frenzied roars of enraged citizens gathered outside the front gate. That’s it! Reveal yourselves! Show the world who you really are, she thought to herself.

A faint rasp tickled her ear — the sound of an intruder’s rusted iron lever chewing away at the frame of a bolted library window. She leapt to her feet and dashed into the hallway. They must have climbed over the rear wall, but how on earth did they survive the descent?


If Biden becomes president, making modest overtures to moderates would serve his governing interests

(Drew Angerer/Getty)

If Joe Biden wins the presidential election, there are three ways he can choose to handle the enormous partisan divide that has torn this country apart over the last several years.

The first option is to ignore it, which he should not and — judging by what we know of him — will not do. A unified American electorate isn’t a necessary precondition for what he wants to achieve, nor is it a realistic goal. But if he plans to follow through on his campaign promises, he’ll almost certainly need some assistance from outside his party to do it. …

D.A. Kirk

Outer space enthusiast. Japanese history junkie. I write about politics, culture, and mental illness. Disagreement is a precursor to progress.

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