Last month, I experienced my first-ever mammogram. It wasn’t as much fun as you’d think.

Swathed in a paper robe, I’m positioned in front of a looming machine reminiscent of the creature in Alien. Unlike Sigourney Weaver, I embrace it like an old friend.

“Hug tighter, okay?” directs a cheery technician named Sylvia. She whips my flesh into place with panache, smooshing my armpit flab forward and some other bits of me sideways.

“It’s good!” she chirps. “Don’t move now — ”

Sylvia pushes a button, and my right breast is smoothly pinned between two pincer-like plates of glass. It’s…

Jen and I are watching a nature program. They’re showing male birds of various species, all working hard to impress females.

“Ooo, look at him,” Jen exclaims as we’re shown a flamboyant red and black dreamboat from the tropical rainforest. “So passionate!”

The bird’s iridescent crest flicks erect. His purple feet whirl in an elaborate dance.

I’m doubtful.

“He’s pretty full of himself,” I say. “Is he even looking at the female? She could be kidnapped by aliens and replaced with a pod-bird, and he’d never notice.”

The dreamboat puffs up his throat and runs dorkily in a circle.


A young woman moving out of her parents’ house struggles with debilitating fear. A worried husband feels compelled to phone his wife many times a day to make sure she’s safe.

Separation Anxiety Disorder — a pattern of irrational and overwhelming distress at the prospect of parting from a loved one — has traditionally been considered a childhood ailment. Among adults, the problem has been recognized only in cases where symptoms begin before the patient turns 18.

But over the past few years, all that has changed. Researchers have discovered that Separation Anxiety Disorder can strike at any age. Adult…

Scrooge, Gradgrind, and Heep notwithstanding, no Dickens character could have a more telling surname than the current occupant of the Oval Office.

Trump is a blare of brass — an extroverted monosyllable — a burst of force like a blow to the head.

Compare that to Obama: a name that flows like water over river rocks, reserving like an easter egg the erudite pleasure of “amabo” (“I will love” in Latin) spelled backward.

Trump reserves nothing. It’s direct and vulgar, truculent and triumphant. It’s the semi-articulate shout of a grabby toddler tossing on a sea of id. It’s a fitting…

Among the Southern Nationalist crosses and pseudo-swastikas paraded at Charlottesville, I spot a familiar symbol. Stenciled on the makeshift equipment of murderous racists is a Scandinavian rune called othala, used by my pagan forebears to represent the name of the god Odin (a deity roughly analogous to Zeus or Jove.)

For a long time now, white supremacists have been appropriating Nordic cultural elements and recasting them as symbols of hate.

Eighty years ago, the Nazis spun this theft so persuasively that even today, many people have a vague impression that they had some kind of right to those images. Sure

Freya Shipley

Freya Shipley is a content marketer and brand voice specialist in the San Francisco Bay Area. Come visit her on LinkedIn:

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