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Exercise #20: Paper That Changed Your Life

Mental Note #7639471

Larry M. was my roommate for the semester we spent at the University of Dallas Rome Campus. He was one of the gang that traveled to London together before the start of the semester for a week and then took the train to Rome by way of Paris. He was my companion on several weekend trips out of Rome, too, including Florence, Munich, Salzberg, and the ill-fated attempt to get to Malta for Easter, which was aborted in Siracusa, Siciliy, when we found that the boats were all booked up, and then turned semi-tragic when we were robbed at gunpoint in a pizzeria in Messina on the night before Easter.

Larry used to carry a tiny notebook everywhere he went, into which he would write notes about photos he’d taken, places to visit and sights to see, addresses, hours of operation, Italian phrases, and so on. …more

50/50 Fall 2008, Exercise #5: Windfall

I showed up for my appointment at four o’clock. They kept me in the waiting room a little longer than usual. My favorite nurse looked apprehensive when she came to escort me back to an examining room.

“Mr. Raymond, I’ll need you to strip down to your underwear and put on this gown,” she said. She made no eye contact.

“What’s with the ‘Mister Raymond,’ Jennifer? I thought we were on a first-name basis.”

“I’m sorry, Mister— I’m sorry, Jack,” she said. “I have a lot …more

50/50 Fall 2008, Exercise #2: “I’m sorry you are so afraid…”

“I’m sorry you are so afraid, honey, but everything is going to be okay.” My mother kneaded the back of my neck with her right hand. The knuckles of the left one looked white compared to the tan vinyl that covered the steering wheel. We must have been sitting in Dad’s old Plymouth. It was my first day of kindergarten. I remember it like it was yesterday.

I should ask Dad about that old car. What was the model? How long did he drive it? I think he sold it for scrap when I was about eight.

I almost couldn’t believe it, but Dad said that …more