Tom McBride

Remember First Grade? Me Neither.

Jul 13, 2018

When I was about five years old, a man named Grady French told me that I had once sleepwalked from my bedroom to downtown Mart, Texas. To be sure, this was only three blocks of soporific strolling, but it was still no mean feat.

I have no memory of ever having done this. And I’m not even sure that Mr. French told me I had. Maybe I just dreamt the whole thing.

Taking The Guilt Out Of Pleasure

Jun 8, 2018

We’ve all heard of guilty pleasures, such as Dove Bars, but even better are the guilty pleasure you can clear yourself of. These are pleasures where you’re guilty but figure out ways to prove yourself to be innocent.

Not long ago, rummaging in the basement for a sledgehammer, I ran across one of my old high school yearbooks. I hadn’t liked high school, and so I decided to peruse the yearbook -- in effect, giving high school a second chance.

Well, it was just as bad the second time. The most handsome boy and most beautiful girl didn’t seem all that handsome or beautiful to me — just average looking. The most popular boy and girl were never especially nice to me.

It's All In The Definition ...

Mar 23, 2018

I grew up in Texas. The most ambiguous word in my adopted home, the Upper Midwest, is “spring.”

In Texas we knew what spring meant. It was an event. It happened on a day in March. The birds sang. The bluebonnets bloomed. The grass unfurled its delicate verdant green. All coats were shorn. This happened on a single day. It was spring, and it never looked back. In just a few months, we knew, we would be able to save electricity by frying our eggs on the driveway cement.

When You Can't Get It Out Of Your Head ...

Feb 16, 2018

Years ago, a friend of mine was teaching college English when she noted that one student wrote every essay on birds.

She suggested he write about something else. He said he couldn’t. “What,” he asked, “are you going to do with an idea that won’t let you go?”

The French have a name for this condition. It’s called an idee fixe. I knew a man who loved to talk about Cokes so much that during every visit he would get 15 minutes to declaim about Cokes: cherry Cokes, diet Cokes, new and old Cokes; cokes versus Pepsi.