The Tangential
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An Open Letter to My Belly Fat

ShareHey there, buddy. You’re probably wondering why I asked you here today. Two reasons: 1) We need to talk. 2) You’re physically attached to my person; wherever I go, you go. You didn’t have much say in the matter. So listen. You and I have been chummy for a while. Why, I even remember when […]

Moon Temple Limbo

Limbo

ShareIn the short period between breaking up with my boyfriend and settling into a new apartment I’ve experienced every feeling on the emotional spectrum. I picked up smoking cigarettes again, which could mean something existential but mostly just means another drain on my bank account. I’ve started, and given up on, three separate books. In […]

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What I’ll Act Like if I Have a Crush on You

It’s an elite group, Katie’s Crushes. Not because I’m picky (I am) or generally hate most people I encounter (I do), but because I’m so bewilderingly astute at over-analyzing situations that haven’t even become situations yet that the cutting room floor of Katie’s Crushes is littered with men who did nothing actually wrong, but instead […]

Margot Kidder Lois Lane

What It’s Like to Work the Worst Job in America

My job is the worst job in the United States. According to Career Cast’s annual “best and worst 200 jobs” list, my vocation is worse than hauling garbage, installing windows in the freezing cold, unclogging toilets, and killing bugs and rats for a living. It’s more stressful than being a stockbroker and more than three […]

Duluth Savings and Loan

When I Was 14, I Ran an Imaginary Conglomerate

Like a lot of kids, my younger siblings and I liked to play office. We—that is, I—just took it a little more seriously than most. When I was in third grade, I got in trouble with my teacher for showing up at school with a briefcase and trying to distribute letters inviting my classmates to […]

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Therapy Session at Starbucks

I’m meeting my friend Delia at Starbucks for our weekly decompression session. Delia is a psychiatrist, which can be a serious drawback to friendship—as in she frequently asks if I need medication—but I love her. She orders her skinny pumpkin latte and I my extra-hot, extra dry, extra shot cappuccino, and use fresh non-fat milk […]

Snow Minnesota Night

St. Paul Before Sunrise, 1990

Whenever I wake up before sunrise, I think first of my grandma, who was always up before us when we stayed with her in New Ulm, Minnesota—working in the kitchen and listening to the crop prices. Then, I think of all the winter mornings when I woke before dawn to go to high school. Fucking high […]

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Panties for Him: Can Straight Men Be Sexy?

I was shopping for undies at Target and was overcome with mirth when I found them. I quickly snapped them up, brought them home, took a shower, and put them on. Something deep inside me knew that I had wanted this all along without ever asking for it. It was like destiny. It was sports […]

Hamms

What I Think About When I Think About the Week My Grandpa Died

“Grandpa drove his car into the garage and closed the door, and he died.” I was 12 years old, and I didn’t understand what my dad was trying to tell me. I assumed the door must have somehow closed on the car, and that the death was an accident. Later that night, my mom explained to […]

Teen Mom

My Sister the Teen Mom, Eight Years Later

When my older sister was 17, she had a daughter. Her daughter—my niece—is now eight. My parents have had a significant influence over my niece’s life, acting as both giving grandparents and benevolent guardians and navigating the boundaries between those roles as they go along. I feel like I am reliving my childhood when I […]

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The Inner Dialogue of a Tooth Fairy Standing by the Side of the Road Holding a Sign

I should never respond to “Will you do me a favor?” with a “yes.” No wonder sign-holders always look so miserable. This is miserable. This is what misery is. I should be listening to Sufjan Stevens right now, that’s how miserable I am. I kinda want to meet him…but like only for a quick coffee, not […]

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Live-Blogging the Overnight Security Shift at the St. Mark’s Parish Festival II: The Year the Rains Came

10:39 PM: Once again this year I’m working the overnight security shift at the St. Mark’s Catholic Church community festival in St. Paul, Minnesota. My task: to remain awake and alert for the next 8.5 hours, and to make sure no one fiddles with anything they’re not supposed to be fiddling with. I’ve been instructed to take […]

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