Six months after moving to Paris, I gave up on French school and decided to take the easy way out… I started just saying, “D’accord,” which translates to “I am in agreement,” and means, basically, “O.K.” The word was a key to a magic door, and every time I said it I felt the thrill of possibility.
The words silly and unrealistic were redefined when I learned that Saint Nicholas travels with what was consistently described as “six to eight black men.” I asked several Dutch people to narrow it down, but none of them could give me an exact number. It was always “six to eight,” which seems strange, seeing as they’ve had hundreds of years to get a decent count.
To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. “Can I interest you in the chicken?” she asks. “Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?”
At some point in the mid- to late nineteen-sixties, North Carolina began referring to itself as “Variety Vacationland.” The words were stamped onto license plates, and a series of television commercials reminded us that, unlike certain of our neighbors, we had both the beach and the mountains…
What religious people call fate, I call luck, and what they call God’s will, I call bad luck. Accept a canceled flight and suddenly you’re on a roll, opening yourself to the possibilities of tax audits and spinal-cord injuries. Anything can happen once the precedent’s been set.