The first graffiti I ever saw were unremarkable messages etched into my middle school’s peeling wooden desks: people’s initials conjoined inside hearts, a mysterious pointy S shape, and invitations to “put an x if youre bored.”
Are you a dog person or a cat person? The question is laden with meaning. I have never had a pet, but the cat versus dog distinction is one I can understand. It is not about which animal’s wet fur you would prefer to clean up off your couch, but which traits you value the most.
Who would have given a damn about me if not for that box?
As punishment for Prometheus’ gift of fire, the gods gave me to men. They gave me to men. I was a poisoned gift. But the importance of a poisoned gift is the venom it bears, not the gift. The box, not Pandora.
When I googled the meaning of my last name, I felt the same way I felt while visiting the museum at Gettysburg when a docent urged me to search the database and see if my ancestors had been involved in the battle.
It was 9 a.m. Awakened, as I often am, by sunlight, I opened my door to go to the bathroom downstairs. Supine, to the side of my door, was a male form, blonde and muscular and naked. His hands were cupped over his genitals, his underwear crumpled by his head. His eyes were closed. I froze in surprise, but I had to pee, and out of some ingrained politeness didn’t want to disturb him. I stepped over him quietly and went downstairs.