Usually, I would have written this days ago. And I did, actually. But here I am now, alone in the publications house on a Monday afternoon, holding up the entire publication process because there was a fairly embarrassing mistake in the one I drafted this weekend.
If your memory works step-by-step, Trump’s evolving stance on immigration feels like a gradual heightening of pitch or a sort of slow burn from bark to bite. At first it was bluster, then it was a slogan. Then hats, tweets, debates, the convention, a 12-state bus-tour, screaming crowds, a victory speech, confirmation hearings. Finally, a pair of executive orders. Each moment blended into the next.
I’ve set up a small table littered with dominoes––bones, as they’re colloquially known––and a second folding chair facing me. Next to me is a piece of cardboard that features the invitation, “Play dominoes with me,” in black Sharpie.
Almost nothing makes sense at the WWE. Look at the ring. Someone is being kicked in the face. Or karate chopped in the throat. Or smacked across the breast. Look at the jumbotron. Cut to an image of three wrestlers riding a unicorn.
It feels futile arranging an interview with someone who already knows where and when you’re going to meet, what you’re going to talk about and, ultimately, every word you’re going to write. More so when you aren’t privy yourself. It’s almost cruel that they let you go through the motions.
But psychics seem to take some sort of perverse pleasure in letting the unendowed anguish. Even otherwise innocuous questions begin to feel like part of the gag.
And as the staff and I reflect on the 19 years of Cipher preceding us, and the challenge of presiding over its 20th anniversary, the idea of formulas and templates is a recurring one. We’ve been handed such a distinct legacy. Where do we want to stay the course? Where do we want to diverge?
Every night before bed when my brother and I were kids, our mom would walk into our room, take a seat at the foot of one of our beds and answer any questions that might have come to us over the course of the day. Usually, the back and forth was light and the questions were easy for her to field.
“Boys pee standing up because they have different parts than girls.”
“I don’t know why your tummy hurts, maybe you ate too much dinner.”
“Yes, two boys can get married, but no, you aren’t allowed to marry your brother… Because it’s against the law… It just is.”
On May 17, 2015 a shoot-out in Waco, Texas between rival biker gangs left nine dead, 18 injured and 165 arrested. Inside the bathroom of a Twin Peaks (a “Breastaurant” a la Hooters specializing in “eats, drinks and scenic views”) a scuffle turned to a brawl. The struggle moved from the bathroom onto the floor of the restaurant and, as it escalated, to the parking lot. Eventually, under the noontime sun, around 100 bikers were punching, kicking, clubbing, stabbing and shooting one another.
On the morning of October 31, Noah Harpham, a tenant in an upstairs apartment of the townhouse, had been pacing around the street. As 35-year-old Iraq vet Andrew Alan Myers, who Naomi refers to as “the kid,” pedaled his bike out of the alley and onto N. Prospect Street, Harpham lifted his head, raised his rifle and fired three rounds into the unsuspecting cyclist.
Bill Clinton tends to avoid the lectern when he campaigns. As he took the stage on February 21 at an event for Hillary, he pulled his mic from the stand and walked across the platform. With a single, subtle movement, he had gone from 42nd President of the United States to Uncle Bill. He oozed familiarity, and as he strolled the stage, each and every student who filled the rafters of Cornerstone Arts Center was one of “us,” and a part of “we.”