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The Sun Magazine

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

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Big cities may shrink

Big cities may shrink to more manageable proportions because of the fuel pinch, some regional planners believe.

Still Running

Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to officially enter the Boston Marathon. She wasn’t looking to make history; she only wanted to run. But in 1967 the marathon was closed to women. So she entered as “K.V. Switzer” and ran in disguise for four miles until the race director, Jock Semple, jumped off the press truck and shouted, “Get the hell out of my race!” The picture of him trying to rip the number off her chest made headlines.

Fourteen Steps

I have heard it said that most people die as they have lived. Judging by my sample group of one (me), I can also say that people plan their suicides as they have lived. Even though I was too depressed to read a book or watch a movie, I was going to have the most well-researched, most thoughtful suicide of all time.

Everyone Thinks That Awful Comes By Itself, But It Doesn’t

Everyone thinks that awful comes by itself, but it doesn’t. It comes hand in hand with normal. No one talks about this. You’re watching the basketball game when the phone rings and you find out your grandfather didn’t wake up this morning. At the scene of the terrible car crash there’s a baseball glove that fell out of one of the cars. The awful is inside the normal. Like normal is pregnant with awful.

American Winter

Once upon a time, before Donald Trump was elected president, there was a woman who lived on a cul-de-sac where an orange cone in the middle of the road reminded drivers to slow down because children played in the street. The houses were built around a grassy circle with a fire pit where grown-ups gathered after the kids’ bedtimes.

Scotty

The story begins with a message on Facebook: “I’m looking for Wayne Scott from the Baltimore area. A Navy veteran, about seventy-two or seventy-three. A relative of yours by any chance?” A phone call to my mother confirms that my father, whose name I inherited and who was close-lipped about his past, had dropped out of high school and joined the Navy when he was seventeen.

My Jets Cap

One day a woman on a subway platform called out to me, “Go, Jets!” while raising her fist. Puzzled, I looked behind me and saw no one. Then I remembered: I was wearing a Jets cap.