The first thing I see biking to work are the casket trucks loading up, each with the same soothing and ambiguous sunset painted onto it. That's right around the corner on Union Street. At any point in time (check your watch) Brooklyn probably has as many just-dead people as went to my college.

I watched a cat die in Chinatown. I was just about to get onto the bridge. It twisted, just-hit, in the middle of the street with at least 100 people close. No one moved. Should I cross the street, dismount, and stomp it to death with my sneakers? The importance of stomping suffering things to death was imparted to me as a child, but I've never had to do it. The cat stopped twisting before I could move. So I pedaled onto the bridge, and when I got home I tried to pet green-eyed Desdemona, who sneered at me, and tore a long gash in my hand.

One day two women were coming out of Cattyshack on 4th Avenue, standing next to me as I waited for the light to change. One said to me, with a confronting tone, “I've got my nipples pierced!” I guess in an Oxford shirt and soft-chinned on a nice new bike I look like a real typical asshole.

Later I think: so does my boyfriend. But I'm already home, key in the door, when that comes to me. Then, last week, a spraypainted black car pulled up next to me at Jay St. “Do you love sluts?” yelled a woman in the passenger seat. “Because sluts fucking rule!”

I love skinnin' em! I think later. When I get home I tell this to Mo she shakes her head; thus I have twice failed to be funny. I used to be in the black car, yelling at strangers, I think, and I try to pet the cat, but she tears off a piece of my finger and runs away as fast as she can.




Ftrain.com is the website of Paul Ford and his pseudonyms. It is showing its age. I'm rewriting the code but it's taking some time.


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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

If you have any questions for me, I am very accessible by email. You can email me at ford@ftrain.com and ask me things and I will try to answer. Especially if you want to clarify something or write something critical. I am glad to clarify things so that you can disagree more effectively.


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© 1974-2011 Paul Ford


@20, by Paul Ford. Not any kind of eulogy, thanks. And no header image, either. (October 15)

Recent Offsite Work: Code and Prose. As a hobby I write. (January 14)

Rotary Dial. (August 21)

10 Timeframes. (June 20)

Facebook and Instagram: When Your Favorite App Sells Out. (April 10)

Why I Am Leaving the People of the Red Valley. (April 7)

Welcome to the Company. (September 21)

“Facebook and the Epiphanator: An End to Endings?”. Forgot to tell you about this. (July 20)

“The Age of Mechanical Reproduction”. An essay for TheMorningNews.org. (July 11)

Woods+. People call me a lot and say: What is this new thing? You're a nerd. Explain it immediately. (July 10)

Reading Tonight. Reading! (May 25)

Recorded Entertainment #2, by Paul Ford. (May 18)

Recorded Entertainment #1, by Paul Ford. (May 17)

Nanolaw with Daughter. Why privacy mattered. (May 16)

0h30m w/Photoshop, by Paul Ford. It's immediately clear to me now that I'm writing again that I need to come up with some new forms in order to have fun here—so that I can get a rhythm and know what I'm doing. One thing that works for me are time limits; pencils up, pencils down. So: Fridays, write for 30 minutes; edit for 20 minutes max; and go whip up some images if necessary, like the big crappy hand below that's all meaningful and evocative because it's retro and zoomed-in. Post it, and leave it alone. Can I do that every Friday? Yes! Will I? Maybe! But I crave that simple continuity. For today, for absolutely no reason other than that it came unbidden into my brain, the subject will be Photoshop. (Do we have a process? We have a process. It is 11:39 and...) (May 13)

That Shaggy Feeling. Soon, orphans. (May 12)

Antilunchism, by Paul Ford. Snack trams. (May 11)

Tickler File Forever, by Paul Ford. I'll have no one to blame but future me. (May 10)

Time's Inverted Index, by Paul Ford. (1) When robots write history we can get in trouble with our past selves. (2) Search-generated, "false" chrestomathies and the historical fallacy. (May 9)

Bantha Tracks. (May 5)

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