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J.E. Fishman Archive

J.E. Fishman

Hair Today

October 7th, 2009
by J.E. Fishman

WILMINGTON, DE -

By happenstance or predilection, I am generally surrounded by people who embrace change with the enthusiasm of a koala hugging a porcupine.  For example, my parents stayed on the same floor of the same hotel every winter in Boca Raton for more than a decade before moving there from Great Neck.  And for the past ten years, they’ve stayed in the same hotel in Great Neck every summer when they’re not in Boca. (more…)


J.E. Fishman

Age of Innocence

September 1st, 2009
by J.E. Fishman

NEW YORK, NY-

My daughter will be eight years old in three weeks and she’s convinced she knows with great precision how the entire world works.

“Gay means a boy likes a boy or a girl likes a girl,” she announces with confidence one day.  “And what’s the word for the regular way again?”

“Straight,” I tell her.

“Oh, yeah.  Right.”

“How does a woman get pregnant?” I ask another time.

Her shrug says, duh.  “She gets married.” (more…)


J.E. Fishman

At Loggerheads

August 11th, 2009
by J.E. Fishman

BALD HEAD ISLAND, NC—

We left home for Bald Head Island under an invasion of gnats.  They started turning up in the master bathroom, and it got to the point where I was killing a dozen or more a day.  The slaughter was not traumatic for me in any way.  The gnats were slow, unthreatening.  You could close your hand around them or — my preferred method — wait for one to land and crush it neatly under a fingertip.  If one alit in the sink, you might end its existence with a splash.

I didn’t think of the gnats again until we were well ensconced on Bald Head, until we saw the baby sea turtles.

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J.E. Fishman

Fool’s Gold

July 28th, 2009
by J.E. Fishman

RICHMOND, VA —

My daughter, not yet eight, has grown suddenly careful with her money.  She’s not greedy.  (She often forgets to ask for her allowance.)  But, now that she’s figured out that money is finite, she spends what she has with great deliberation.

Prior to our recent beach vacation, she planned a lemonade venture for weeks in her mind, fantasizing about the preparation of the drinks, the inevitable line of customers, the transactions.  Our family has a running conversational riff about one day opening a store selling only her favorite foods: salmon sashimi, cucumber, chocolate, a few others equally eclectic.  She’s sophisticated enough to know it’s a joke.  So when she contemplated the lemonade stand she settled on two items she thought would have a better shot than sashimi: lemonade and chocolate brownies. (more…)


J.E. Fishman

The Prisoner of Bedford Hills

July 13th, 2009
by J.E. Fishman

WILMINGTON, DE-

In northern Westchester County, New York, not long ago, a man I know tried to end his life in a most horrible way.  It happened in the town of Bedford, famous for its tree-lined roads, for the millionaires who live along them, and, incongruously, for its maximum security prison.

The Bedford Hills Correctional Facility — named for one of the town’s three hamlets — sits hard by the highway, just over a mile from the train station, surrounded by tall fences and barbed wire.  Woods encircle the compound.  From the ground, it reveals itself by a single approach.

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J.E. Fishman

Better to Reign?

June 25th, 2009
by J.E. Fishman

SOMEWHERE VERY HOT, USA-

Does anyone worry about the Seven Deadly Sins anymore?

I don’t mean the machinations of the lunatic featured in Se7en, starring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman…

…or the Seven Deadly Sins computer game (Partial description from the Kongregate website: “Enter the quiet English town of Gorpsdale and use your skill, guile and ingenuity to find suitable ways of breaking each sin” — suitable?)…

…or the rock group Seven Deadly Sins…

…or songs of the same name by the Traveling Wilburys, Flogging Molly, Lotte Lenya or a dozen groups you never heard of.

No.  I don’t mean a trivial expression dripping with convenient irony — intended or otherwise.  The Seven Deadly sins — ha ha.  They’ll send you You Know Where — wink wink. (more…)


J.E. Fishman

Dramatic Entrance

June 17th, 2009
by J.E. Fishman

WILMINGTON, DE-

She had my thing in her hand when the monkey swung in.

Like the monkey, I wish to make a dramatic entrance.

But what constitutes a great dramatic entrance?  Is it some thing or some act that rises above ordinary by its very existence or action?  Or is it an invitation for one’s imagination to go someplace it hasn’t been lately — or someplace it has never been?

The great dramatic entrance — whether it’s an opening sentence, an architectural feature or a theatrical introduction — has a come-hither quality, I think.   It startles one pleasurably with certain unspoken possibilities.

Some people’s flair for the dramatic goes way back.  Take the du Pont family, for instance.  They fled the French Revolution, it is said, and landed on these shores on New Year’s Day 1800 — kissing the still-new world on the first day of a new century.

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