Category: Sketches

 

Experts

The typical parenting expert, like experts in other fields, is prone to sound exceedingly sure of himself. An expert doesn’t so much argue the various sides of an issue as plant his flag firmly on one side. That’s because an expert whose argument reeks of restraint or nuance often doesn’t get much attention. An expert must be bold if he hopes to alchemize his homespun theory into conventional wisdom. His best chance of doing so is to engage the public’s emotions, for emotion is the enemy of rational argument. And as emotions go, one of them—fear—is more potent than the rest. The superpredator, Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, mad-cow disease, crib death: how can we fail to heed the expert’s advice on these horrors when, like that mean uncle telling too-scary stories to too-young children, he has reduced us to quivers?

Steven D. Levitt

Sensory input

As I passed walls of drawers inside a dimly lit, crowded corridor, the sounds of people levels below looking at the great stuffed elephant faded. I began to feel claustrophobic. I remembered being so desperate for sensory input after eight hours of class inside this place that when I finally escaped at the end of the day, crowded sidewalks were welcome, the noise of traffic a relief.

Patricia Cornwell | All That Remains

 

Injuries

I really could not remember exactly what had been said or explain what had gone wrong. We fought when we weren’t sure what we were fighting about until the focus became our injuries and not the differences that had caused them.

Patricia Cornwell | All That Remains

Errors

A little defensive strategy was in order. Criminals who escape apprehension are not perfect but lucky. They make mistakes. All of them do. The problem is recognizing the errors, realizing their significance, and determining what was intentional and what was not.

Patricia Cornwell | All That Remains

Services

They were mirrors, their images of themselves reflections of the significant people in their lives. They derived their importance from the services they rendered, survived by killing off their expectations in inches, and then one day woke up mad as hell.

Patricia Cornwell | All that Remains