Each week, the Sunday Post highlights a few articles good for slow consumption over a cup of coffee (or tea, if that's your pleasure). Settle in for a while; we saved you a seat. You can also look through the archives.
Meehan Crist was skating in the wrong direction and missed the moment her mother fell, slamming her head against the ice and sending shockwaves through her brain. Crist’s essay about the slow discovery of the depth of the injury — and the gradual disintegration of her mother’s personality — travels loss, neuroscience, and the history of our understanding of the mind, the heart, and the self. (H/t Ed Yong for this one; see also jumping spiders, below.)
I have been wondering when the silence began. Maybe it started when I was trying so hard to stay quiet so she could get better.
Or maybe it came later, when I had tired of getting “I don’t know” as an answer and stopped asking questions.
Then again, maybe I didn’t ask much in the first place. Perhaps I was too shy to intrude on the adult world of illness and recovery, or too wrapped up in my own world to notice the silence stealing around me and settling into place.
The inimitable David Sedaris on the ten stages of grieving Trump’s election. Spoiler: none of them are “acceptance.”
Back in the room, I turn on the radio and look at the electoral map online. I go to bed, reach for my iPad. Shut my eyes, reach for my iPad. When the election is called for Trump, I lie there, unable to sleep. In the middle of the night, I go to the fitness center and watch the little TV embedded in my elliptical machine. The news had been telling me for months that Clinton was a shoo-in. Now they want me to listen as they soul search and determine how they got it so wrong. “Fuck you,” I say to the little screen.
If you describe your job as “a day job” (instead of just “my job”), you’ve probably spent at least one long dark night trying to figure out how to connect it with the real person you really are. Then, of course, you got up the next day, regained your sense of irony, and went to work. Here’s Rumaan Alam making sense of his day job in advertising and the virtue of bad ideas.
When I worked in advertising, one of my clients, one of this country’s largest retailers, used the language of storytelling, which further helped me take solace in my work (the money was quite good, too). They told stories and then sold things, and the story changed every so often, so that the months of the year were like the installments in a collection of short stories. You can guess how some of those stories went: the story was Christmas or the story was Summer or the story was cleaning and organizing or the story was Father’s Day or the story was Mother’s Day and the moral of the story was buy stuff.
It would be very responsible of you to read The Atlantic’s fascinating, in-depth profile of white supremacist Richard Spencer, written by his eighth-grade lab partner. (Is there any fate worse than to be famous enough to be profiled by someone who knew you in high school? Especially if that someone is Graeme Wood?)
Meanwhile, fellow astronomer Alex Parker had read Lomax’s tweets. “Have you tried lasers?” he replied. “Seriously though, some jumping spiders will chase laser pointers like cats do.”
There are, indeed, many Youtube videos of them doing exactly that. But Emily Levesque — Lomax’s colleague, with an office two doors down — wanted to see it for herself.
Speaking of antiheroes (someone must be, somewhere): Jesse Barron follows the story of Andrew Left, a short-seller who makes a ton of cash by exposing corporate fraud to manipulate stock prices. Left helped bring down Valeant Pharmaceutials, a company that made its own money by buying drug patents and yanking up the prices to impossible heights. You’d hire this guy to protect your town against the corrupt sheriff — then be glad to see him ride away again.
I met Left for the first time last May. After leaving my job as a fact-checker at a magazine — the pay was terrible, but the business cards said “Assistant Editor” — I was padding out my freelance income with some part-time work for finance types, editing letters and writing reports. The door creaked ajar into a totally different world. I started reading short-seller blogs at night, obsessed with the feeling that invisible forces controlling my life were flashing into visibility. That’s why my wife’s prescription cost $300 a month. That’s why the world was how it was. I wrote Left in April and asked if we could meet. In May, he sent a text: He had dirt on an online postage seller. Did I want to come to Los Angeles?