“Tell your sister you’re sorry.”

“Apologize to Evan for breaking his pencil.”

Regardless of the setting — either at home or in the classroom — the only guarantee I could count on is that the resulting apology would be halfhearted and insincere. Furthermore, it would never lead to what I really wanted: a change in behavior.

For 34 years I taught in public schools. During eleven of those years, I co-parented my partner’s children from his previous marriage.

In neither of those scenarios did I ever ask a child to commit a lie by saying that he was sorry for…


Let’s look for something other than understanding

Most of us are now the same sex we were when we were born. We will not only die that way, but we will also likely die without having given serious consideration to being the opposite sex. Though we are the majority of the world’s population, it behooves us to focus our awareness in the direction of a misunderstood and, unfortunately, maligned minority: transgender people.

I am a 73-year-old man who was born male. Like most people, I never questioned my birth sex, though I did experience a period of seven or eight years when I was struggling with my…


Photo by Tom Barrett on Unsplash

For most of us, the word millionaire leads us to images of people living a lavish lifestyle replete with servants, fancy cars, hotels, yachts, and sumptuous food all played to the neverending pops of champagne corks. In short, conspicuous consumption. And, being conspicuous, millionaires make sure everyone within their view knows who they are.

Every once in awhile, though, you read in the news about a janitor or postal worker who had secretly been a millionaire; nobody knew it until they died because they had been inconspicuous: a person who had no need to impress anyone by flaunting his worth.


This essay eventually gets around to our need to wear face masks during the pandemic.

In our country now, as the pandemic rages, with many people refusing to wear masks as a means of protecting themselves and others, I have had the occasion to take a backward look at some of my personal experiences, as a means of being able to have a better understanding of what the hell is going on here with people’s attitudes about face masks.

A little bit of background. Or, rather, a lot of background.

In his introduction to Making America: The Society & Culture of the United States, the book’s editor, Luther S. Luedtke offers on pages 19 and 20 a list of what he calls “America’s traditional core values.”


Read on!

I recently wrote and published on my blog a fairly long accounting of how I am different from most people I have ever encountered. While they are quick to conform to the interests and tastes of everyone around them, I am just the opposite.

One difference is that I very much look like I fit in. No green hair or attention-getting clothing for me, which makes my outsider status difficult to spot with the naked eye.

License plate from a friend’s car. As he explained it, his grandmother used to say, “You are you and I am I.”

I titled my writing “Outsider in My Own Country: Proud to be Un-American.” …


One of many recent residential properties built in recent years in San Francisco

A few people I know have recently created Facebook posts about residential real estate and some of the consequences of our current pandemic.

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a real estate professional. All the same, I am curious to see how these factors will play out over the course of the next year or two:

1. Many people have illegally kept apartments off the rental market, in favor of listing them on such platforms as Airbnb, VRBO, and a few others. Now, with these apartments EMPTY and generating no income, what will happen to them?

2…


Most of us were raised to believe that it’s improper to talk openly about our bodily functions — especially the ones we employ in the bathroom. This sensibility has given rise to the huge number of euphemisms that refer to our bodily waste.

I can pinpoint the time that this perspective got turned on its head for me. It was the summer of 2003, and I was training with 55 other people to be Peace Corps Volunteers in Mauritania, West Africa.

Our first shock came to us shortly after we arrived in Nouakchott, the capital. One of the first bits…


This reflection began as a result of a text from my partner Bill this morning:

“My mom is pressuring me to stay in one place. Here or there.”

“Here” refers to the location from which he was writing: her suburban home about forty minutes from “there,” where I live, in San Francisco.

image from CNN

Our situation is that he spends the week nights with his 90-year-old mother, who lives by herself in her own suburban home, and the weekends with me.

This characterizes what I refer to as Phase 3 of our relationship. Though it’s not ideal, it is by far the…


I just read Kim Duke’s “Soul-Saving Salad Dressing” story, which propelled me to share my own recipe for an admittedly more complicated salad dressing that I have been making during the last few years.

I find that this has a rich and savory taste that accompanies not only salads, but steamed vegetables as well.

I’m quite fortunate in that I can get most ingredients from bulk bins and containers at a local coop where I shop. The only exceptions are the lemon juice, Balsamic vinegar, and Dijon mustard.

I begin by putting these ingredients in a blender jar:

2 Tablespoons each:

nutritional yeast

lemon juice

(I begin with the nutritional yeast because it’s the only dry ingredient that needs a Tablespoon, so once that is in there, everything else is wet and I don’t…


Why?

Why did my loved one get cancer and die so young?

Why didn’t I get that job?

Why me?

In seeking reasons for things having unfolded as they have, some people are fond of saying, “Everything happens for a reason.” If you believe this, your biggest enemy is yourself, because not only are you going to spend time and energy searching for reasons, but the odds are good that you’re never going to have a reason that satisfies you.

We humans are an inquisitive lot. While it may be our nature to look for understanding about why certain inexplicable…

Jay Davidson

Retired teacher (San Francisco, 1969–2003); Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Mauritania, 2003–2005); public speaker, artist, writer, world citizen & traveler

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