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Life

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When Americans are born on third base and think they hit a triple.

I’m in line at the Target pharmacy watching a woman edge a baby stroller back and forth. Lena, the pharmacy tech, tilts her screen toward the woman and points. The information hits hard. The woman’s hands fly everywhere and nowhere, snapped masts with torn sails. I watch as she cycles the stages of grief: This is a mistake. Fix it! Is there a generic? A coupon? Please. She leaves empty-handed.

Lena tells me the baby’s medicine was too expensive, even with the woman’s insurance. …


But we can prevent the world from going down with us.

Photo by Stormseeker on Unsplash

Gen Z is screwed. I wish it weren’t true. I’ve spent years practicing gratitude, excited to wake up alive each sunny day and deeply appreciative of little things, like the fact my smartphone has YouTube. The great kings of old got to hear Mozart performed twice a year. I get that every day, plus running water and toilets. Talk about privilege.

But the sad truth is that those advances don’t make us happy. Humans are ambitious, greedy, and have an in-built negativity bias. We thrive on communities and love that are disappearing into a bleak isolation. Depression and anxiety and…


If forced proximity has you drained, you’re not alone

Photo: Francesco Carta fotografo / Getty

On a typical weekday morning a year ago, my husband would wake before dawn to try to get ahead of the morning commute, my son would sneak in a few minutes of Minecraft before hastily getting ready for school, and my daughter would be finishing homework at the breakfast table while lobbying for a ride to avoid the dreaded school bus. …


If you were lucky enough to find yourself in a place where you could drastically change your life, why wouldn’t you do that?

Young people on train wearing face masks.
Young people on train wearing face masks.
Photo: Solskin/Getty Images

Halfway through her freshman year, Elizabeth Olshanetsky had a road map for her life that stretched all the way to 2023: The self-described “traditionalist” would continue her education at Yale University, squeeze in a few venture capital internships, get a degree, then land a job. Then, Covid-19 hit and upended the entire world. The 19-year-old found herself back in her childhood bedroom in New Jersey, completing her first year of college through a computer screen, away from the life she had just started to build for herself.

The experience was fine — she wasn’t sick, and her immediate material needs…


Living in Sri Lanka during the end of the civil war, I saw how life goes on, surrounded by death

A water tower bombed by the Tamil Tigers in the final stages of the Sri Lankan civil war in 2008. Photo: Creative Touch Imaging Ltd./NurPhoto/Getty Images

I lived through the end of a civil war — I moved back to Sri Lanka in my twenties, just as the ceasefire fell apart. Do you know what it was like for me? Quite normal. I went to work, I went out, I dated. This is what Americans don’t understand. They’re waiting to get personally punched in the face while ash falls from the sky. That’s not how it happens.

This is how it happens. Precisely what you’re feeling now. The numbing litany of bad news. The ever rising outrages. People suffering, dying, and protesting all around you, while…


MEDIUM RARE

Writers in the Medium universe are getting creative under quarantine

Each week on Medium Rare, I’ll be sharing stories you might have missed that are definitely worth a second look. Got a suggestion for a piece we should feature? Pop it in the responses below!

  • I, very sadly, don’t have a cat. But I will enthusiastically learn how to crochet just so I can make one of these absurd tiny couches my fantasy future cat will one day enjoy.
  • Sarah Cassidy put in the work to plan out your next Zoom call with friends or family. …


After a family member fell ill with Covid-19, a horse in Pennsylvania became my new best friend

Meet Ron, named after the ’80s supergroup Asia. Photo illustration. Source photo courtesy of the author.

“Where the hell is Alfie’s cancer medication?” my girlfriend asked, frantically searching through her bag as our car sped along the highway. We were driving on Route 80 in Pennsylvania, leafless trees and empty pastures on either side of us, en route to my parents’ cabin, where we hoped to ride out the coronavirus pandemic. It was March 18, and the virus had started to sweep through New York City; between that and the fact that the kitchen sink in our apartment wasn’t working, we decided it was time to head for the hills. …


Column

A return to safety? Sure. But things haven’t been ‘normal’ around here for a very long time.

A photo of a person holding a tower of toilet paper rolls as they walk down the hallway.
A photo of a person holding a tower of toilet paper rolls as they walk down the hallway.
Photo: Justin Paget/Getty Images

I try to save my anger exclusively for the daytime. If I’m angry only while the sun shines, then I can eat my dinner, watch shitty TV to get my mind a foot or two away from thoughts of the coming New Depression, and then go to bed in relative peace. But of course, all it takes is one reminder — from someone else in the house, or from me reflexively opening Twitter and regretting it, or from my mind going astray — for the anger to bare its teeth again.

“[If] we have between 100[,000] and 200,000, we all…


The pace of change is coming at a breakneck speed while we’re all stuck in place

New York City’s Fifth Avenue on March 23. Photo: Angela Weiss /Getty Images

Near my house is a bank. Most other businesses around it are closed now, as per municipal orders. But each of the four times I passed it this week, the bank’s parking lot was full. People were withdrawing cash. Across the street in one direction, a gas station still operates, selling fuel for a fraction of the price it did a few months ago. In the other, a chain grocery store remains the lone operating business in a deserted strip mall.

As the rates of infection from around the world continue to curve skyward — as well as the numbers…


Great Escape

From escaping with alcohol—to escaping from it

Illustrations: Teddy Kang

The Toddler Years

Southern Comfort, 1971

While your parents watch 60 Minutes, you sit on the floor and page through Time magazine, stubbing your finger on any page with a bourbon ad: Daddy drink! Your parents find it funny but hide the magazines when your no-dancing, no-drinking Southern Baptist grandparents babysit. Your grandfather still snoops, and one day he confronts your parents by flinging open a kitchen cabinet. What do you call this? he demands. I call it cereal, your father says, because in his indignation, your grandfather opened the door next to the one with the liquor.

The Teen Years

Hi-C, 1974–1985

You maintain sobriety through 11 years of book…

GEN

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