If you thought there was any reality in which Trump supporters would accept their candidate’s defeat like grownups and move on, then you’re perhaps as delusional as they are.

Joe Biden has now flipped five states — to Donald Trump’s zero — and is leading the popular vote by over five million. He has 74 more electoral votes than Trump and 36 more than he needed to clinch victory. Even with the strength of incumbency and the maddeningly unfair advantage of the Electoral College on his side, Donald Trump lost this election by substantial margins. …


It’s less than three weeks til election day, and here in this home stretch, I’ve noticed a troubling pattern: An uptick in social media posts attacking Biden from the left. These post might be memes, videos, articles, or comments. Most of them convey, either explicitly or implicitly, that Biden would be no better as president than Trump. This observation is anecdotal, sure, but I’ve seen enough of it in the last few days that I feel it’s warranted for me to clear my throat and humbly beseech anyone I know who’s sharing this content: Please stop. Please hold off. Just…


This piece originally

We live in places where man has encroached upon the natural world, and so we vacationed in a cabin, way at the end of a dirt path that the neighboring brush had almost finished reclaiming. The flora under the deck sprouted up between the wooden planks, and you could only eat your breakfast out here if the fauna didn’t decide they wanted it more than you. Here, it was the natural world that had encroached upon the trappings of civilization. …


This story originally in September 2020.

We entered Plumas County surrounded by the charred remains of trees that had perished in the Camp Fire two years earlier. They flanked the road, gnarled and anguished, preserved in their death-pose like the victims of Pompei. That ancient disaster had been a case of civilization coming under attack from nature; everywhere I looked — in the city we’d come from, in the road we drove, in these charred trees — I was reminded of the payback campaign we’d been waging ever since, and the resulting collateral damage we’d sustained…


I think it’s time for me to interrogate the embarrassment I feel over my teenage nu-metal phase.

If you’re not familiar, nu-metal was basically a rock sub-genre that consisted of all the dark viscousness of heavy metal, absent most of the musical ability, plus all the angst of Kurt Cobain, absent most of the charm. It sprouted up from soil freshly tilled by recent music history: A decade earlier, hair metal had given way to grunge, which brought rock and roll from the party to the pouty. Once the grunge wave had broken, its propensity for sadness and pessimism lingered…


On the heels of six months of mass sickness and death, the federal government’s wholly insufficient mitigation of an economic crisis, naked police brutality and an excessive police response to protests against it, and big swath of a population that can’t shoulder the burden of even the slightest sacrifice in the name of public health, it’s inevitable for many of us to feel that the Fourth of July rings especially hollow this year. …


The most popular theory, later, was that the afterlife was reaching capacity. After eons of human life and death, playing out among a rising population, the great beyond was finally running out of room. The gatekeepers, the theory went, had become more selective about who got in; those who were denied were stuck in limbo among the mortals. Earth was, for the first time, a place where souls both embodied and disembodied coexisted.

The first person to discover this was 48-year-old Monica Dalton, in the small town of High Springs, Ohio. While on her way out of the house to…


House of Prime Rib in San Francisco captures the urban steakhouse aesthetic to a tee. You walk in and are greeted with low lighting, tones of oak and red, suited staff, and white tablecloth. The decor is formal, but not overstated; rather than anything ostentatious, the goal here is simply a dignified presentation. One gets the sense that the place was once an old luxury home: unless your table is in the primary dining area by the entrance, your server will escort you through a number of wood-paneled rooms, around a number of corners, perhaps down a hallway or two…


At some point, almost every day, I’ll whip my phone out of my pocket — one of the countless times we all do this within any given one-hour span — and open the screen to an alert that my battery charge has fallen below twenty percent. This triggers the same reaction just about every time: Already? I’ll ask myself. Wasn’t it in the high nineties just a few hours ago?

I recently got a Juul vape stick to head off a creeping return to cigarette smoking, which I quit several years ago. Here, too — even though I only use…


The first job I ever had, as a 17-year-old high school senior in 2004, was as a delivery guy for a Mexican restaurant in Montclair, New Jersey, in the suburbs of Manhattan. If we’re judging solely by enjoyment of the work itself — it was obviously not much for pay or prospects — it remains, to this day, one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. Sure, there was the occasional stress and frustration of trying to find a house number on a busy street at night in the rain, or of memorizing a lengthy set of directions in the…

Nick O'Brien

Writer, wisher, wrangler with anxiety. The modern world can be a head-splittler — sometimes you have to just roll your eyes at it.

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