Connie watched the more seasoned moms chat with each other on the opposite side of the playground and wondered how long, exactly, she would have to be a mother before the ladies invited her to join their inner circle.

Was it a matter of paying dues, Connie asked herself, or did the ladies simply not want to be around her? She wasn’t sure.

While the ladies had eight years’ worth of stories to share about the trials and tribulations of motherhood, Connie was much further behind in her experience. Her little Bobby just turned five years old last week, and…


George walked through the door and surveyed the scene with the usual trepidation. He didn’t know anyone else in the room, despite making a regular appearance at Junior’s Ale House for the past three months at 5:30 pm every evening. This worried George, not knowing anyone. The bar was filled with the same happy hour crowd. They often commiserated with each other about their banal workdays, or the dread of the inevitable commute back to their boring spouses and bored children. …


If you have ever taken the New Haven line from Grand Central Terminal, you’ll know that there’s a certain point on every train ride, usually after the Stamford stop, when you run out of things to do. From this moment forward, until you reach your final destination, all that’s left is the waiting.

One winter, when I was twenty-four or twenty-five, I was in between apartments and had to commute from Connecticut to New York City for work.

I don’t want to talk about the shame of commuting from Connecticut to New York City for work, though it must be…


“I forgot to bring an umbrella. I really hope it doesn’t rain tonight.”

Chelsea always played with the ends of her hair when she was nervous. She was twirling her curls at a more rapid pace than usual, as if the chance of rain wasn’t just an inconvenience, but a more sinister intrusion. Proof, yet again, that the world was conspiring against her.

She turned to me with an anxious look, and I mustered the strength to smile.

“It’s going to be fine,” I said. “We can always call an Uber.”

She turned back toward the window and studied the…


One evening, I decided to wear a Soviet Union t-shirt to the dinner table. To understand why this radical act of rebellion was a big deal, you must first understand my family.

You don’t need to know every detail. Perhaps, for our purposes here, it would suffice to learn that my father, an Italian American born in the 1950s, wasn’t exactly sympathetic to the Marxist cause. A conservative to his bones, my father belonged to the party of Ronald Reagan. He watched John Wayne movies. His favorite television show, when he had the time to watch television, was American Pickers…


I did not weep when I first heard the news of his suicide. I suppose, at age 14, I didn’t know what suicide was. I knew of the word, of course, but I couldn’t fully grasp its meaning. I didn’t know, for example, that more than one life ended. I didn’t know that the bodies of all those who loved him would also be hanging from the rope, lifeless, awaiting a return that would never come.

Billy’s suicide was the tragedy that ended my childhood. The day before, my world was wiffle ball games and go-kart rides. Then, suddenly, visions…


Despite a male-dominated entertainment industry, women continue to demonstrate their power and influence in the pop music arena

Madonna performs “Like a Virgin” at the 1984 MTV Video Music Awards

When Madonna rolled around on stage in a wedding dress at the 1984 MTV Video Music Awards, no one could have predicted the impact she would have on the music industry. Over 30 years have passed since this now iconic moment in popular culture, and the historian’s privilege of retrospection confirms that this performance, more than any other, signified a new wave of American pop music.

From the early years of the 2000s, with emerging pop stars like P!nk, Beyoncé, Kelly Clarkson, Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilera, to the reemergence of always relevant legends such as Janet Jackson and Kylie…


Michael Shannon’ Curtis is haunted by hallucinations in Jeff Nichols’ ‘Take Shelter’

Remember when the big battle within Hollywood was not which superfluous awards show lacked diversity, but the more intellectually stimulating film versus digital debate?

By now, it’s clear that the film purists lost. The majority of movies made today are shot on digital, and the majority of movie theaters have implemented digital projection. Moviegoers, whether lining up to see the latest Marvel blockbuster, or watching whatever random made for Netflix rom-com they stumble upon before bed, can hardly tell the difference. It was a debate manufactured by, and catered to, those within the industry, or those in academia who study…


When Lester Johnson jumped off the Williamsburg Bridge last Wednesday, Marcus wasn’t surprised to learn the bad news. In the immediate aftermath, Marcus was overcome with the usual sadness that accompanies such tragedies, but now, as he stares at the closed casket on display, all he can think about are the difficulties Lester faced for over a decade, ever since Lauren found out about the drugs and the debts and filed for divorce, and he understands that Lester’s final plunge into eternal darkness, while unfortunate, isn’t exactly unexplainable.

Surrounded by the few family members Lester didn’t manage to alienate during…


All Lily wants in this moment is a handsome man she can show off to her best friend Melissa, who is selfishly using Saturday brunch as an opportunity to boast about her good fortune for having finally found, after countless uninspiring Joes and Jims and at least one Jesse, the husband of her dreams. Lily was introduced to Jason during those early stages of courtship five years ago and proclaimed, with unwavering passion to anyone who would listen, that Jason was not the desirable hunk Melissa propped him up as, but Lily realized some time ago that all the other…

Jon Alexander

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