The Reverse Panhandler of OKC

Doug Eaton, of Oklahoma City, used to be an insurance executive once upon a time. He was other things before and he has been other things since. But all you need to know about him, for the purposes of this story, is how he spent his 65th birthday. As the milestone approached, Doug found himself…

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New Year’s Eve Career Change

There is a very fine Canadian fiction writer named Jaspreet Singh. A couple decades ago, when he was in his early thirties, he was a chemical engineer working as a senior researcher at a multinational paper company in Wisconsin. It was the kind of job that promises a life of high status, income and job…

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Day Trip into the Abyss

BBC photo “I really feel like in one day I’ve been to another planet and come back.” It was noon on March 26, 2012, and the film director James Cameron had surfaced in the Western Pacific ocean. Blinking in the sun, he looked like, well, a man who’d just been as far down as down…

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The Rocket’s Second Shift

When he showed up at the Montreal Forum an hour before puck drop that night, three days after Christmas in 1944, Maurice Richard told coach Dick Irvin not to expect much of a game from him. He was pooped. “Pooped?” Irvin inquired. “How do you mean, pooped?” Richard explained that it was moving day. He’d…

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Dolly Parton’s Big Songwriting Day

At some point, if we’re lucky, Hrishikesh Hirway will devote an episode of his new Netflix series Song Exploder to getting to the heart of what really happened that day in 1973 when Dolly Parton caught lightning in a bottle twice. He’ll get her sitting alone — she always writes alone – in a chair…

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The Triumphant Day of Fernando Pessoa

On March 8, 1914, in Lisbon, Portugal, “I found myself standing before a tall chest of drawers, took up a piece of paper, began to write, remaining upright all the while since I always stand when I can. I wrote thirty some poems in a row, all in a kind of ecstasy, the nature of…

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King Lear Can Wait

The guilt-trip phase of this lockdown is mercifully over. Remember about six weeks ago when people seized on the idea that this is actually an opportunity for creative types? That we all could — should — be super-productive with the oceans of time that have opened up? The backlash was swift. “It’s tough enough to…

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Lessons in follow-through from the backyard marathoners

Say this about the Covid-19 lockdown: it has separated those who keep their promises from those who are happy to take a mulligan in these extraordinary circumstances. By now you’ve likely heard of a UK man named James Campbell, and not because he is a Scottish record-holder in the javelin. A month ago, grounded in…

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Pi and I Scream

With Spring Break upon us and there’s nowhere to go because everything’s cancelled and everything’s closed, what better way to spend the cooped-up hours than thinking about something equally irrational and never-ending: Pi. Happy Pi Day, folks. When math geeks the world over consider the almost mystic ratio of the circumference of a circle to…

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Workplace Switcheroo: CEOs swap jobs

“Trading places,” as a social experiment and story hook, is older than Eddie Murphy, older than Mark Twain, older even than Shakespeare. But it’s likely no two CEOs had stepped into each others’ shoes before Kip Tindell and Maxine Clark gave it a go one February day. Tindell, co-founder of the Missouri-based Container Store, hopped…

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