Summary of “A Personal History by David Sedaris: Unbuttoned”

These would take bites out of my bladder, which would then be sent to a lab and biopsied.
I’d hoped to stick out in the radiology wing, to be too youthful or hale to fit in looking around the waiting area, I saw that everyone was roughly my age, and either was bald or had gray hair.
The pain was a giveaway, as was the blood that came out when I peed.
The urologist we’d come to see in Paris looked over the results of the scan I’d just undergone and announced that they revealed nothing out of the ordinary.
After taking everything into consideration, the French doctor, who was young and handsome, like someone who’d play a doctor on TV, decided it wasn’t the right time to take little bites out of my bladder.
The head of his bed had been raised, so he was almost in a sitting position, his open mouth a dark, seemingly bottomless hole and his hands stretched out before him.
“I figured you’d rally as soon as I spent a fortune on last-minute tickets,” I said, knowing that if the situation were reversed he’d have stayed put, at least until a discount could be worked out.
All he’s ever cared about is money, so it had hurt me to learn, a few years earlier, that he’d cut me out of his will.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Tom Petty’s Biographer on the Story He Didn’t Tell”

WBCN – that’s where, at age 12, I heard Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ first single, “Breakdown.” Tell me this isn’t true.
Jerry Lee Lewis alive and Tom Petty dead? That made no sense.
So for three days I did press, writing and talking about Tom Petty.
I began thinking not just about Tom Petty and all I’d learned from him, which was a lot, but about biography, about being a biographer.
Petty was always at his lightest, his most comfortable and open, when the artist being discussed was someone other than Tom Petty.
Talking about that subject, Petty could be what he’d been at the beginning, before it all went down, before he became Tom Petty just another kid crazy for rock & roll.
The following Christmas, Petty explained, when hosting a family gathering that extended over a week, a private chef providing each day’s centerpiece of a sit-down family meal, Petty was again struck by a cup of coffee.
The Tom Petty who had watched thousands of cowboys move across the TV screen, well, just then he looked like one of them.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Susan Fowler on the Aftermath of Speaking Out Against Uber”

“Someone’s digging really deep on you, Susan,” my neighbor said, “And it’s scary how far back they’re going.” Whoever was trying to dig up dirt on me was going deep into my history, talking to people that I’d forgotten I’d even known.
The moment she told me that someone else had gotten into her account, I logged in and looked at the messages I’d recently sent her.
I started to hear rumors about myself and my motivations in writing the post-rumors that were often accompanied by phrases like “Someone close to Uber,” “Someone close to the board” or even “Someone at Uber.” The first rumor I’d heard had come from a reporter who called me in late February to see if I could confirm something: that Lyft had paid me to write a defamatory blog post about its primary competitor.
Several security researchers offered to look into it, and came back with the names of various private investigation firms that Uber had hired in the past.
I’d lie awake in the middle of the night, racking my brain for memories of every mean thing I’d ever said, every mistake I’d ever made, every wrong thing I’d ever done, every lie I’d ever told, every person I’d ever hurt.
One morbid thought gave me comfort and it’s what I told myself every time I noticed someone following me, or whenever I was warned about possible threats against my life: if anything happened to me, if I was harmed or killed, everyone would know exactly who was responsible.
Three years have passed since I published that blog post and shared the story of what I experienced at Uber.
I’ve asked myself countless times whether I would do it all over again if I truly knew just how bad the bad part of speaking out would be.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How the Eternal City Brought My Mom Back to Life”

I’d tried to call her the day before to tell her about a city council meeting I’d attended for my journalism class-she was a political junkie who loved my stories about life in D.C.-but my younger sister answered and said she was at the doctor.
On my last day, I took my mom for a walk around the perimeter of my house in her nightgown-she’d just had a hysterectomy, but she wanted to get outside together.
I didn’t talk on the phone with my mom much during my time abroad, partly because I’d racked up a $900 bill with my international plan and was no longer allowed to use my cell phone, and partly because I didn’t think she wanted me to hear how weak she sounded.
Campo di Fiore, where Beauregard and her mom had a sumptuous meal the first night of their five days together in Rome.
I had an exam the next day so I wanted to go home afterward but my mom, drunk on vino rosso, ran into the middle of the piazza, spun around, and yelled, “Let’s get limoncello!” After a few sips at a nearby bar, we remembered we didn’t like limoncello, so we wandered the cobblestone streets instead. I remember her posing for a picture in front of the Dr. Grossi farmacia near Largo di Torre Argentina, getting gelato at San Crispino, and climbing the Giancolo for the best view of the city.
“I’d always think of her as she was during those five days [in Rome]-happy, healthy, and full of an unmatched zest for life.” Photo courtesy of Pixabay.
My parents’ gorgeous, four-poster bed had been moved out of their room, replaced by a hospital bed where my mom slept all day and all night.
We were also celebrating my dad’s 60th birthday so, our first night in Rome, we went out to a fancy dinner, not far from where my mom and I ate all that prosciutto e melone.

The orginal article.

Summary of “This Arctic Explorer Was One Tent Pole Away from Death”

I’d made camp in storms and sun and wind, and I’d always done it the same way, through muscle memory forged by repetition-anchoring one end of the tent to the sled, then driving anchors into the ice at the opposite end and around the perimeter.
I knelt down on the ice and pushed the spring-loaded tent poles into their little metal grommets, popping the tent up.
Because I’d just pushed the tent poles into place, popping up the semicircle spine of the frame, there was more surface area to catch the wind.
As the tent rose, it caught greater and greater force, like a kite or a sail.
The tent rises, I leap desperately for it but can’t catch it, and I stumble and fall.
The tent disappears almost immediately into the white.
The only way I could think to do that-pulling it down and crawling on top of it to hold it with my weight-might snap the tent poles.
Overhead, my small tent seemed suddenly huge-a fluttering, flapping red monster, bigger and harder to hold with every passing second.

The orginal article.

Summary of “”I Just Knew I Was Going to Surpass These Guys I Was Working For””

My first boss, Jack Shafer, spent a lot of time arguing with people and not a lot of time mentoring.
I just remember thinking, I’m not more experienced than these guys are, but I’m going to be bigger than they are someday.
I just knew I was going to surpass these guys I was working for.
These people would do everything to work for one of the top Republican people, and I was like, I don’t give a fuck.
He was going on and on about this party list and who he was going to let in and who he was going to snub it was so insanely ridiculous.
I said, “Listen, Dr. McLaughlin, I was in Greece this summer at a temple and there was some writing on it that said: ‘Babylon was.’ Which means: Every major power falls.” So I said, “I took that to mean that someday I’m going to be really powerful and you’re going to be, like, in a wheelchair in an old folks home being fed apricots or something.” And he looked at me and I thought, “Oh, my God, are you going to fire me now?” And he started laughing.
David Ignatius, who was really good at inspiring people to want to do things for him.
I once said, for example, “We need to find out who is joining the board of Twitter.” And he wasn’t moving fast enough, so I said, “One of us is going to get this scoop, and if I get it, I’m going to put it under my name.” In this case, I think it was good for the guy.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Mourning My Only Brother … and Then Learning I Had Another All Along”

Another took Polaroid selfies in our swimming pool when we weren’t home, so I first thought Tony must be one of Dad’s patients – a crazy person claiming to be his therapist’s illegitimate child.
Tony’s posts were the kinds of things I’d see on my friends’ walls: a turntable playing a ’70s tune, a homemade tortilla browning in a cast iron pan, a picture of a camper van.
My father’s sister, my Aunt Carol, asked if she could friend Tony.
Tony told me that, growing up, his mom never talked about his Bio Dad. Tony always thought that his dad’s name was Stephen because his middle name is Stephen.
Perhaps not wanting to run into Tony and his mother at the grocery store was a reason as well.
At one point, after making Tony laugh with a Matthew story, I said, “He would have liked you.” And Tony said, “Too late.”
He’d asked to come, and Tony agreed, though Dad had barely said a word to me about the Tony situation.
Tony messaged me that June to tell me he was knee-deep in the book.

The orginal article.

Summary of “A Traveler’s Guide to KonMari-ing Your Life”

Now, a year and a half after my return to dry land, I’ve divided all of my worldly possessions into two piles on the floor of my bedroom: those to keep on the right, and those to donate on the left.
The pile on the left will keep growing until it does.
Bouncing from place to place, I developed a process for winnowing down my possessions that’s remarkably similar to the now famous KonMari method.
Developed by self-proclaimed tidying expert Marie Kondo-originally in her 2014 book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and now in the hit Netflix series-the method posits that reducing clutter in one’s home and life can be a path to happiness, in part by getting rid of items that no longer “Spark joy.” Like Kondo’s system, traveling has forced me to reduce my possessions down to the items that are truly important and necessary.
Every time I would move, I’d have to cull everything I’d acquired to fill my rented room or boat cabin down to what would fit into my backpack or, more recently, a 2001 Toyota Camry.
If not for the subsequent years spent as a nomad, my life could have come to resemble Hoarders rather than Kondo’s new reality show.
In June 2014, not long after I’d left South Africa and four months before Kondo published the book that would skyrocket her to fame, I purchased a one-way ticket to Southeast Asia, figuring I’d spend about three months working for a small conservation organization in the jungles of Borneo.
The strong sentimental attachment I’d once given these things was gone.

The orginal article.

Summary of “A reverse gift guide of the best money we’ve ever spent”

At the very end of 2018, we started publishing an essay series called The Best Money I Ever Spent.
Instead, we asked writers to tell us about the best money they’ve spent on someone else, or that someone else has spent on them.
The result is something like a reverse gift guide – while you probably won’t spend $12,000 on someone’s rent this holiday season, the spirit might move you to buy them a plant.
A $12 plant I looked at the plant with some apprehension.
His gift to me was trust: that I could take care, that I could make room for beauty in my life.
As a going away gift, my best friend Kenny gave me a $30 Missha toner.
The thought of her not being able to find anywhere else to live – not having the money for a down payment or first-and-last-month’s rent – became scarier to me than losing the only home I’d ever lived in.
The real gift was someone changing for the better because I’d asked him to.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Baking With the Bread Whisperers of Paris”

Something like baking bread. For me, this was the most sincere homage I could possibly pay to the country that had adopted me.
Bread was as devoid of interest to me as tap water until my grade-school friend Peter Hoenig introduced me to the rock-salt-speckled pretzel bread that his Viennese mother baked herself and draped with a slice of smoky ham.
So I offered them the short version of how I had fallen in love with bread, ending with the never-to-be-forgotten adage of my first French boyfriend, the one who insisted that “a meal without bread is even worse than bad sex.” Needless to say, they loved that.
“What makes the quality of Lalos’ bread is the flour,” he explained.
“The quality of French bread has declined in many bakeries because the bread is baked with terrible flour made from industrially grown, genetically modified wheat. Here we work with flour from small mills like the Terres de Margerides in the Auvergne. There is no good bread without good flour, and there is no good flour without good grain, so we have to fight to break the really bad system that’s developed since World War II and return to growing old varieties of grain using the same methods our grandfathers did.”
“Always remember, Alec, baking is the marriage of science and instinct,” he told me, as we rolled out cigar-size lengths of sticky dough that would become ficelles.
I had no change for the hungry-looking stranger, but I’ll never forget the astonished smile that lit up his smudged face when I handed him one of the big heavy loaves of warm bread I had just helped bake.
Their work forms the very bedrock of Gallic cuisine since a meal without bread is unthinkable in France.

The orginal article.