1. The way, during the months-long rainy seasons in Liberia, my sister and I would run outside to play after a storm and our mother would always shout, “Put some shoes on! You’ll get ringworm!”
2. The way, during ninth grade at the International School in Dhahran, I never got back my paperback copy of Philip José Farmer’s Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life, because the friend I’d loaned it to killed himself three weeks later.
3. The way, during the last few weeks of basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, Martinez would sit on his bunk & shine his boots for at least an hour each night, working that Kiwi polish in with cloth torn from an old T-shirt, spitting on the slick black leather and working the polish in some more, over and over, layer after layer, until it was time for lights out.
4. The way, during the months I lived in a Scientologist-run apartment building in Los Angeles, the lobby bulletin board was usually crowded with index-card notes from tenants wanting to sell their used E-meters.
5. The way, during the reception for Mark Greenberg’s “Be Strong For Grandma” exhibition of paintings in downtown Orlando, when I referred to my pet boa constrictor as “kind of like a legless limbic system,” some education-proud woman snarled at me, “That’s not how the brain works! You shouldn’t talk about things you don’t fucking understand.”
6. The way, during my marriage to Molly Rice, I once explained black holes to her — and, when I told her how their gravitational pull is so strong that not even light can escape, she started crying. And the next day, when I told our Magnolia Cafe co-worker (and Molly’s former bandmate) Greg “Psycho” Jones about her reaction, he said, “Yeah, that’s the difference between me and Molly: Tell her about a black hole, she’s gonna cry. Tell me about a black hole, I’m gonna set a fucking house on fire.”
7. The way, during our quotidian lives, we walk again and again through deepening forests of memory and sometimes discover the brightest bodies of fungus growing on trees that were previously bare.