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Phenomena Understood

The Low Road

Revenge is difficult to endorse. Boston still wrestles with it daily after the Marathon bombing trial. But in matters of love, nothing else quite satisfies.

By rough calculation, I have been mistreated, disrespected, or generally screwed-over or wronged three hundred and fifty-nine times in my life. That’s only a guesstimate, of course. I have not been keeping track.

To arrive at the number I reviewed the year just past and recalled five or six such incidents. Most were petty and some grievous and some were in-between. Multiply five by my age, subtract some for the toddler years (because toddlerhood is mostly about dishing out disrespect), double-down for adolescence and toss in some extra for the years I spent laboring in the newsroom of the New York Times. Voila: three hundred and fifty-nine instances of physical, emotional, or psychological wounding. Yet only twice have I sought revenge.

Honestly, I think that’s pretty good.

My daughter’s school is located in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston, a few blocks from the finish line of the Boston Marathon. This is one of the wealthiest parts of Boston, tree-lined and stately, blocks from the Public Garden and those endlessly circling swans.

The fact that my daughter, a surprising, suburban... Continue Reading

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