Some people want bad things to happen. It’s a quirk peculiar to smart and not so bright people alike and probably has some unclear purpose in the human genome. On the evening of December 31st, 1999, I was assigned to help police the crowds gathering at Times Square to welcome the New Year. A few hours separated the relative calm I was experiencing and the Y2K nightmare certain pundits claimed would occur when the clock struck midnight. A middle age man wearing a shirt that read HUMPTY DUMPTY WAS PUSHED asked me if the NYPD was prepared for the ...

I cannot seem to leave the Bronx behind me. My New York accent and a deviated septum are beginning to make me feel like a pilgrim in my native land. It seems that almost everywhere I speak children ask, “Where are you from?” Southerners are particularly sensitive to the tone and cadence of my voice. A young boy in Alabama listened to me order a burger and fries in a fast food restaurant and then remarked, “Y’all talk funny.” Y’all? I realize the National Teacher of the Year should be able to recite Dixie and The Battle Hymn ...

I last visited the White House in the summer of 1968. Richard Millhouse Nixon was president and I remember a lot of people with long hair and colorful clothes shouting in the direction of the president’s home. My father told me these people were called “hippies” and they were protesting the Vietnam War. “Why here?” I asked my dad. He replied that hippies had a lot of time to travel and protest, and often go to places like Washington, D.C. “Do they work?” “No,” my father answered. I thought being a hippy was a pretty good lifestyle, with ...


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