The Geiger Counter

Matt Geiger is a Midwest Book Award Winner, a national American Book Fest Finalist, and an international Next Generation Indie Book Award Finalist. He is also the winner of numerous journalism awards. His books include “Astonishing Tales!* (Your Astonishment May Vary)” and “Raised by Wolves & Other Stories.” He once won an axe-throwing competition.
Mon
01
Feb
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A Little Wobble

This morning, I listened to an interview with Craig Harrison, a soldier in the British Army. He described a firefight in the desert, in which he and his compatriots were on the verge of being overrun and killed. “Smashed” is the word he used.

As bullets slammed into the ground, into flesh and into bone, and it looked like soon they would all be dead, he pulled out his phone and called his wife.

“I love you, you know?” he said. 

“I know,” she replied. “What’s going on? What’s that noise?”

“It’s nothing,” he said. “It’s nothing. I’ll phone you in the morning.”

“We went back on the roof,” he continued. “And yeah, we won the fight.” 

Mon
25
Jan
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Love is Like Plastic

Late last night, ensconced in the synthetic beige sarcophagus of an MRI tube, it occurred to me that love is like plastic. 

They were scanning my brain, looking for a tumor, like some foul X in the neon green sea of a space pirate’s map.  

It had begun on Christmas Eve, when I felt tipsy. Within two days, I was unable to walk without using a cane and the walls of my home for support. The world spun and spun, and it felt like the hand of some invisible god was actively holding me down as I lay in my bed, trying to smother me where I sprawled next to teacups and cracker crumbs that were making a new life for themselves among the sheets. Soon, I could only crawl. 

Thu
31
Dec
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Way of the Shadow Wolves

Did you know that Steven Seagal wrote a book? To be honest, I would have been surprised just to learn Steven Seagal read a book, let alone penned one. But he did. Sort of. He had a co-author. Someone to hold his meaty hand while crossing various linguistic streets. I’m guessing the co-author did much of the heavy lifting.

Thu
17
Dec
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Stories

I was interviewing a woman last week, when she said several things that struck me, like fists of gentle profundity. She was talking about 2020, but unlike so many people, she was laughing. Not an insecure guffaw or an affected chuckle, but a real laugh that bubbled up again and again, in the manner of the pure white froth on a freshly poured flute of champagne. 

“Stories are like prisms,” she said. “They allow us to see different perspectives.” These stories, she added, “work their magic” upon us, time and time again. 

Fri
30
Oct
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My Thoughts on Election Day...

It’s almost Election Day, and you know what that means: Every American needs to stop what they are doing, take a moment, and reflect seriously on the weird and mysterious way Edgar Allan Poe died. 

Oct. 3, 1849 was a rainy day in Baltimore. (Of course it was raining, because how could it possibly not be?) A guy who worked for a local newspaper was walking toward a pop-up polling site when he discovered a delirious little man, dressed in filthy second-hand clothes and lying senseless in a gutter. When he got closer, he was a little surprised to learn the man was a poet and critic who was very good at writing and very bad at life. When the man asked Poe if he needed help, the author asked for Joseph E. Snodgrass, who sounds like a character in a Dickens novel but was apparently a real person and a magazine editor. 

Thu
08
Oct
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Monkey King...

We stopped at a yard sale the other day, and my daughter asked if she could get a monkey. It was teal and plastic, and its little arms were permanently curved as if holding onto a miniscule tree, or, more likely, a child’s finger. 

“How much is it?” I asked. 

“It’s seven, five,” my daughter replied.

“Seventy-five cents?” I said. “Sure.”

Times are tough right now, money is tight, the economic landscape is bleak in a Mad Max kind of way. It feels entirely reasonable to suspect that by this time next year we will be wandering the side of a desolate road, wearing trash bags pulled translucent in places and tarps dotted by tattered holes, pushing shopping cart that contains all our family’s belongings and yet are not even close to full. Hockey and football pads will be dusted off and moved from the garage to the “everyday” and “casual” sections of our wardrobes.

But 75¢? That couldn’t possibly bankrupt us. Could it?

“Yay! Thanks dad!” 

Thu
01
Oct
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Importance of In-Person Interaction

Our daughter’s desk collapsed on her the other day, pinning her to the ground in a pile of rubble consisting mostly of magic markers, erasers and books of a most considerable heft. 

We had had to fashion an office for her, when it became clear there would not be in-person classes. Desks, my wife informed me, were sold out everywhere. So, after a little thought and a lot of rummaging, we repurposed an old piece of furniture whose provenance and initial intent is a mystery to me. It looks kind of like an inebriated table, an emaciated desk or a postmodern bureau. 

Sun
16
Aug
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Death of a Firefly

Late last night, sitting by the side of a snapping fire in a clearing in the black woods, my daughter hopped out of my lap, ran across the damp grass, and caught a firefly in her hands. She trotted back, tenderly opening her dirt-encased fingertips, just a little, to reveal the strange creature inside.

“Look, dad, a firefly!” she said. 

We gazed at it for a moment. We had no vented jar in which to put this being, so I urged her to let it go. She opened her hands completely, like ten pink drawbridges easing down from a fleshy castle, and the bug ascended and hovered in front of our faces in the night for a moment. 

“Hadley,” I said. “Because he was trapped, and then you let him go, this will be the greatest day of his life…”

As I finished my sentence, the firefly took off and plunged directly into the leaping flames of the fire around which we sat. 

“…Oh!” I said. “Never mind.”

Thu
06
Aug
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Anthology of Anger

Today, I read an anthology of anger in the form of Yelp reviews. A single person had rated a dozen businesses, and she had never given out anything higher than a single star, which is the lowest possible score. In addition to her ratings, she offered delightful accounts of her various experiences. She was like the keynote speaker at an outrage symposium. 

“I needed a right brake light replaced and had the misfortune to stop at [this mechanic]. Whilte the price of the light bulb was reasonable at $4.57, they then had the audacity to charge me $5.40 for two minutes of their precious time to replace it.  Oh, well, at least I know where NOT to go in the future. ;-)”

You might notice a few typos in these reviews, but I believe she is not a fan of my editing, so I’ll leave them as they are here. 

Fri
17
Jul
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Summer Days

I was driving in my new old pickup truck yesterday, blasting “Land Down Under” and occasionally petting the plush, rust-red fur of the tiny puppy on the seat next to me. He looks like a little bear cub, and his squeaks and grunts have an ursine quality to them. 

Through the windshield, the sky was an ecstatic blue, with an unfettered July sun so bright the edges of the clouds gleamed as if imbued with magical power by a celestial deity. 

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