At the heart of it, all we can really offer each other is our full attention. When people are dying, their tolerance for bullshit is minimal. They will quickly sniff out insincerity.
When you’re a child, you have the little bit and it has you. You throw it up and clap your hands. Your father momentarily catches it, but it is yours in your little animal eyes, your tender knees, the way a banana unwraps in your small hands, unzips as you slowly pull down the peel and reveal the soft, pale fruit.
She waits tables on the breakfast shift at Honey’s, out by the interstate. Late one night, she gets a phone call from her sister: her father has had a stroke; they don’t know if he’s going to make it.
All my teachers, from nursery school on, are alive inside me. Before long, their voice — someone’s voice, certainly not my own — is ringing out from my throat, authoritative, confident, as if I know what I’m doing.
I’m not sure I like any of the three lines that always work for me. They’re all from the “Did you ever notice?” category of jokes, an overused category, but one with which even rookie comedians can kill the most sober of audiences.