Eternity and Pickle Tops

On that far-off night in August of 1962, the moon floated huge and yellow over dark Virginia forests that stretched away and away to the glittering broad Potomac River. Chip Thompson and I trudged along the shoulder of US Route 301 from the Circle toward Dahlgren. We were sixteen. The county—King George County in the …

Going Seriously Boom: Aboard a Nukey-Boomer Submarine

We stood, the captain and I, high in the sail, the rounded steel dorsal fin that used to be called the conning tower, as the sun rose red over the Cascade Mountains of the Pacific Northwest. A bitter cold wind raced over the Hood Canal, leading to the open Pacific; the water was black and …

Aboard the M1 Abrams, Maserati of Tanks

To an observer on one of Fort Hood’s flattened prominences, the Abrams M1 tank would seem a dark mote below a high plume of dust, a glint of periscopes, a small furor lost in the vastness and pastels of central Texas. Not even the grandest of tanks can intimidate a landscape. By day and night …

A Veteran Writes: A Six Pack, Bad Memories, and a Typewriter

I begin to weary of the stories about veterans that are now in vogue with the newspapers, the stories that dissect the veteran’s psyche as if prying apart a laboratory frog-patronizing stories written by style-section reporters who know all there is to know about chocolate mousse, ladies’ fashions, and the wonderful desserts that can be …

The Hitchhiking Years: How We Were

The big roads were safe then, or we thought they were. Many of us, the more adventurous, poured onto the highways, just going, moving, looking. We were devotees of the long-haul thumb, crossing and recrossing the continent, dropping into Mexico, whatever. A camaraderie held. There were rules. On an onramp it was first come first …

The Great Fizzled Playboy Undersea Orgasmic Male Fantasy Didn’t Happen Photo Shoot: We Coulda Been Contenders but Heartbreak Got There First

It was three a.m. in late December and I and Stu Miller, a federal lobbyist and former motorcycle racer, were zooming around the DC beltway in his male-menopause red Miata and discussing what to do for the Millenium. The possibilities were dismal. “God, some black-tie thing on the Hill? I’d rather slit my wrists,” Stu …

The Color of Education, Harper”s 1985

Should anyone in authority say anything sensible about racial policy, an event unlikely to occur before the next Ice Age, he would have to say that when it is not merely futile it often injures the people it is supposed to help; that it succeeds in antagonizing whites without benefiting blacks; that it has become …