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Opinion & Columns

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Seams Foreign

When I married my wife 28 years ago, I thought the best part of married life would be the physical part. I conduct a lot of weddings, and every groom-to-be is thinking the same thing—I can tell by the drool. We don’t know what our wives are thinking, and would likely be disappointed if we did. I once read that the male’s desire for sex declines as we age. Fortunately, by the time that happens, we’ve discovered other benefits to marriage, one of which is not having to shop for clothes any longer. 

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Alma Matters: Thoughts on Today's Students

Every year about this time, I get the back-to-school itch. The smell of plastic pencil cases fills the air, and I dream about the days when I broke in a pair of stiff new oxfords, donned an itchy Black Watch plaid jumper, and trudged off to School 84. 

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Over the Rainbow about Carmel

As a committed downtowner, I like to believe that Indy is the state’s cradle of cool. Sure, Bloomington mounts a serious challenge, and lately I keep hearing surprising things about Fort Wayne, but I never considered Carmel—stylish, yes, but not exactly hip—a hotbed of progressive sensibilities. Yesterday, I had to reconsider. Amid the news that the Indianapolis City-County Council has proposed domestic-partner benefits for municipal employees (28 years after Berkeley, California, became the first American city to do so), the Star pointed out that Carmel already has domestic-partner benefits in place. 

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Road to Ruin

My family and I spend a portion of our year on a farm south of Paoli that has been in my wife’s family since the middle 1800’s. The house was built in fits and starts between 1913 and 1945, as funds and circumstances allowed. We renovated it last year and amidst the moving-day hubbub, I moved a table to the back porch, beside the porch swing and washing machine. We writers are in constant search of Nirvana, and though it took 20 years, I have finally found it next to a jug of Tide and a box of Bounce. I spend my mornings there, looking, in between paragraphs, across the field to the creek, then up the hill and into the woods. It is a pleasant arrangement, writing-wise, except on Mondays, laundry-day, when the erratic thump of the dryer upsets my rhythm. But the dryer was here first and has been grandfathered in, so I defer to it one day a week.

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Fear Factor

An alley connects the downtown office building where I work to Illinois Street. Even though the pathway is a nifty shortcut to Panera Bread, where I like to pick up a nice BBQ Chopped Chicken salad, I never walk it alone. Colleagues find my reluctance silly, as no one to our recollection has been assaulted, murdered, or dismembered there. But my thought process works differently: If something bad is going to happen, it probably will happen to me.

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Editor's Note: August 2012

Just two weeks before my first day of work at Indianapolis Monthly, my husband and I were crisscrossing the city at breakneck speed. We needed a place to live, and quickly. Renting was a necessity (at least until our house in Atlanta sold), and after living in gridlock for almost a decade, a short commute to IM’s Monument Circle office was a must.

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Seeking Survivors: On Writing About the Indiana State Fair Stage Collapse

I had been going back to the night of August 13, 2011, time and time again, in quick succession. And I was shaken.

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A Hair to Remember

I guess you could say that when it comes to my outward appearance, I’ve resigned myself to acceptance. Acceptance and a redefinition of personal heroes. David Foster Wallace has been replaced by David Crosby, Bruce Springsteen with Bruce Willis. Robert DeNiro? Yes, I’m talking to you. Take a hike. Robert Duvall is the new method man in my heart. You too, Captain Kirk. Off to Deep Space Nine; Captain Picard gives the orders around here now. They’re brilliant men all. For they wear their baldness with swagger and style. I only wonder what clipper number they use.

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Editor's Note: July 2012

My fascination with money as an object of beauty started with the tooth fairy. Every time I lost a molar, she slipped a Kennedy half-dollar under my pillow in its place, along with a note written in a script that, come to think of it, looked suspiciously like my mother’s. The morning after, I would weigh the 50-cent piece in my hand. It felt heavy—important. Something to be savored, not spent. And so they came to be tucked away in a box, like rare jewels from the Nile instead of a novelty. 

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The Ride Stuff

Dear Mayor Ballard:

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It Takes A Villain

Just when I think things can’t get any worse in our country, I go to the movie theater and watch the previews of the upcoming shows. They are, without fail, movies about futuristic police forces fighting villains in an American city laid waste by a nuclear bomb. It’s hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys because they both wear black and carry guns. When I was growing up, the bad guys had the courtesy to dress in black so we could tell at a glance that they were evil. Then the good guys changed the rules and started dressing like bad guys. Say what you will about bad guys, at least they don’t flout the rules of apparel.

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Rest for the Weary

Over the course of my lifetime, by virtue of sheer discipline, I have acquired a number of skills, chief among them my ability to relax. The average American works 1,778 hours a year, while Germans work 1,409. The hardest workers are South Koreans, who work 2,193 hours each year. We’re almost halfway in between them: not the hardest workers, but not the laziest either.

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Editor's Note: June 2012

Maybe I’ll text Patrick a picture of myself first, shooting him a dirty look—for old times’ sake.

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Trying Time

Reading other people’s bucket lists is fun, but I’ve never had the desire to compile one myself. Risk-takers yearn to climb Mount Everest and sail the blue Pacific, but boring people such as I are satisfied spending their days bundled up in an afghan while watching reruns of The Big Bang Theory and eating Double Stuf Oreos.

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Map Quest

Some children aren’t satisfied with their names, but I always liked mine: Deborah Lynn Dorman. Or Debra Lynn Dorman—I was never sure, as my birth certificate says “Debra,” and somewhere along the way I decided to use the biblical version because it sounded more romantic. My mother waved away the inconsistency, saying I mattered to her far more than what I was called. Either way, the name had a melodic cadence, and I was proud to say it out loud. And unlike my given name, my surname was certain. Dorman.

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