On yoga and race writing

It's been several days since XO Jane rocked the internet with its gripping tale of white privilege and the lack of black people in a Park Slope yoga class. Let me preface this commentary by acknowledging what trolls will point out to you: Yes, I am a white male. Yes, I am commenting on an issue of race. Yes, I am outraged by this so-called article. 

If you're not familiar with the piece, go read it before you continue. I'll wait...

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Birthdays were the worst days...

I don't particularly dislike birthdays. They're just not imbued with the same joy as, say, my 16th birthday where I got to drive (legally) for the first time, or turning 21 and being able to sell my old license to a guy on my residence hall floor because he looked like me. 

I'm 35 today.

There's no privilege that comes with this age.

 

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Kris WernowskyComment
To smoke, or not to smoke

It’s been more than nine months since I smoked my last cigarette.

Your body goes through some pretty extreme changes in the months after you quit. It’s like a phlegm-filled puberty with the shakes and 100 percent more anger.

Everyone says that the first thing that returns is your sense of smell followed closely by your sense of taste. I’ve even stopped coughing up strange things and I can once again hit the high notes in R. Kelly’s “Ignition (Remix)."

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On Dynamite and Liberty

I’m not sure at what age I finally understood that my father found casual ways to break the law on a daily basis.

Later in his life – during a period of time where we didn’t talk much – he got into numerous disputes with his various neighbors.

I remember he explained how he cut down the neighbor’s telephone pole with a chainsaw and then threw a box of nails in the driveway for the police cars sure to pay him a visit. Of course he told me this over the telephone as if it was the day-to-day behavior of every sane American citizen; in the way you or I might explain to a friend how we accidentally purchased 2-percent milk instead of skim.

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Dear Guy in My Laundry Room

Maybe it’s my fault for walking my dog at 11:30 p.m. Maybe it’s my fault for looking in the apartment complex’s shared laundry room to see why someone turned out the lights.

Oh, sorry sir. Did I wake you?

OK, I don’t think you’re supposed to be sleeping in here. It’s probably not good for your back. I mean, there’s really not even a whole heck of a lot of room to stand in here. I can’t imagine how cramped your legs are going to feel tomorrow.

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So you think you can date?

Recently I agreed to meet a woman from a dating web site for coffee. We agreed that on a Sunday afternoon we’d meet up somewhere in the city. The coffee never happened. Clumsiness and shallowness prevailed.

I decided to go out drinking the night before with a friend I hadn’t seen in months. We ended up at a local bar that hosts an occasional 80s Dance Night party populated by people too young to have experience the cocaine and shitty Reagan economy of that dark decade.

The drinks flowed.

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Barack Obama: Subway of Disaster

As a budding journalist and intern at a Peoria, Ill. newspaper, I often spent my down time scouring emails and Web sites of government agencies looking for interesting stories to cover.

I came across a bill in late 2003 signed by then governor and future federal corrections inmate number 40892-424 Rod Blagojevich. The recently signed bill required all police agencies in Illinois to record the race of every driver stopped by a police officer. The bill angered police chiefs and police union officials statewide because it meant a lot more paperwork for officers and deputies.

The purpose of the bill was to create enough data to study whether police around the state were practicing profiling.

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Everyday Jesus: Starbucks

Jesus decides to materialize at Starbuck on 30 E. Hubbard Ave. in downtown Chicago today. The son of our lord loves his mediocre espresso. When he visits the general public, Jesus likes to dress down. He doesn’t like to draw attention to himself. No need for fancy white robes.

Weekday afternoons at this location means long lines. Jesus waits patiently because that’s what the King of Kings is supposed to do. Fifteen minutes passes and he’s only about 50 percent closer than when he started. A man on a touchscreen cellular telephone pushes his way through the line and cut right in front of Jesus.

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Kris WernowskyComment
Halloween: The Monster’s In The House

A recent reflection on a childhood steeped in dysfunction and turmoil revealed that my family had one thing on every other family in our neighborhood. Our holidays were actually quite pleasant. Television sitcoms, comedians and literature set the greatest familial battles  around holidays.

Somehow, in some inexplicable way my father, my stepmother and the white-trash Brady Bunch they created always managed to get the holidays right.

Christmas, the Fourth of July and Halloween continue to stand out as moments of peace in an otherwise tumultuous upbringing. 

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A Man Needs A Man-Sized Meal

Dear Angry Man At Taco Bell,

We both find ourselves here under very depressing circumstances. I have clearly diminished my finances to a degree that 79-cent tacos are a considerable boon. Clearly you have never heard of condoms. This is evidenced by the fact that you are feeding your herd of four shirtless children somewhere that will considerably increase their chances of early onset diabetes.

Mother isn’t here, and judging by that mustache I can assume that either you beat her until she moved away or that she is working the afternoon weekday shift at the Larry Flint dance parlor across the bridge.

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Airborne bird fathers a table tale

In the canon of Wernowsky folklore, there is no shortage of unusual holiday stories.

The tale of my father and the Thanksgiving turkey predates my birth by several years, but it's repeated so often that I feel as though I've experienced the fateful night firsthand.

It's this Thanksgiving story that sets the gold standard in my family's various tales of holiday madness.

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