Issue 477 | The Sun Magazine

September 2015

Readers Write

Making Ends Meet

Being rootless, hunting without a license, choosing to stay

By Our Readers
The Dog-Eared Page

The Disposable Rocket

The number of men who do lasting damage to their young bodies is striking; war and car accidents aside, secondary-school sports, with the approval of parents and the encouragement of brutish coaches, take a fearful toll of skulls and knees.

By John Updike


A boy is, of all wild beasts, the most difficult to manage.


The Sun Interview

The Church Of The Gridiron

Steve Almond On How He Lost His Faith In Football

So, yes, the NFL and NCAA have instituted stiff penalties for helmet-to-helmet hits and even redesigned kickoffs to reduce high-speed collisions. But, again, all of this only helps limit concussions. The problem is that the permanent brain injuries arise in part because of those subconcussive hits, the ones players receive nearly every single play, and there’s no way to engineer those out. The tackle will always be part of the game.

By David Cook
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Phys Ed

Recently my twelve-year-old son, Darius, matter-of-factly informed me that he was playing football in the fall.

“No, you aren’t,” I said.

By Joel Peckham
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Here Comes Your (Middle-Aged) Man

The Pixies — whose members looked minuscule on stage, even through my new prescription glasses — were a pioneering alternative-rock outfit from the late 1980s and early 1990s. My younger self had adored them. Much to his dissatisfaction, he never got the chance to see the band play live before they broke up in 1993. Now they were on a reunion tour — and so, it seemed, were my former self and I.

By Miles Harvey
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Cash Cow

There are two kinds of people who show up for a taping of the PBS television program Antiques Roadshow. The first kind of person arrives bearing family heirlooms for the experts to appraise: old rocking chairs and wooden spindles, painted mirrors and Civil War swords once swung by their great-great-great-grandfathers. These people come to learn more about their items.

The second group is made up of people who want money. People like me.

By Samantha Tetangco
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

That Terrible Thoreau

As the class winds down, I go over the answers to the quiz: Thoreau moved into his ten-by-fifteen-foot cabin on July 4, Independence Day, 1845. He chose that day to make the point that political independence is just the beginning. We’re not completely free until we also throw off our inner masters: greed, laziness, ignorance.

By Jim Ralston

A Boy

Seven years ago, when Tytia Habing first became pregnant, she secretly hoped for a girl. She got a boy instead, and ever since, she says, her life has been “filled with dirt, broken toys, shoes full of sand, sticks, scraped knees, cut-up cardboard boxes, mud, toy guns, dinky cars, and a never-ending sense of amazement at this foreign little creature I brought into the world.”

By Tytia Habing

The Book I’m Writing

is a book about loss and heartbreak, / also delusion, distaste, quiet villainy, and sabotage. / There’s a strong pulse of hope near the beginning, / the rhythm of which weakens as the narrative develops.

By Maggie Rowe

To The Gentleman Who Asked For $500 To Cap My Chimney

Rain was getting in. A lot of it. / And there was evidence of bats. / And when I asked you why it was / so damn expensive, you cited / careful measuring, a high- / quality cap, an exacting process.

By Benjamin S. Grossberg