Author Archive for Eric Walter



18
Jan
14

Just-go stories

BoltBus

After a depressing encounter on a Greyhound from New York to Philadelphia, I resolved to find a more reliable, less-nauseating mode of mass transit between the two cities.

On my first attempt, I found myself sharing the only seat left with an old woman who was digging to China through a large polystyrene clamshell of buffalo wings. Each of about three dozen wings was an adventure in lip-smacking, bone-snapping exuberance. Every morsel of flesh squeaked repugnantly in her mouth. I could avoid most of the sounds with my headphones, but the vile, eye-watering stench streaming from her lap was inescapable.

Then, having no napkins, she spent a good five minutes licking her hands clean. I didn’t have the nerve to see what she wiped them dry with.

I was living in Philadelphia and working in New York, and I knew that I would have to start making some smarter choices about my twice-a-week commute. I settled on Bolt Bus. Continue reading ‘Just-go stories’

18
Jan
14

Not even an earful

inner ear

One condition of getting older is the likelihood that my doctor will send me to a specialist. I guess as I slowly break down and descend into decay, my parts need more and more special attention.

Last September, I spent $50 for a visit to the otorhinolaryngologist. I like that word far better than “ears, nose and throat doctor,” or, if you’re too lazy to live, ENT. You know a word, you should use it, right?

Otorhinolaryngologist takes nearly as long to say as my appointment lasted. Continue reading ‘Not even an earful’

17
Jan
14

American horror story: cafeteria

My elementary school’s cafeteria was a reliable source of embarrassment for me. It was the “lunch room.” I didn’t know the word “cafeteria” yet. It was also the school’s gym, which doubled its the power to humiliate. But we’ll save all of that for another time.

Lunch marked a time in the day when we kids weren’t operating with the safety lines of our parents or teachers. Freedom without experience can be terrifying.  Continue reading ‘American horror story: cafeteria’

05
Jan
14

Don’t ‘like’

It makes me angry to see an Instagram video of an apartment fire in Manhattan with 86 likes. I know people are actually liking the photographer’s hope that no one got hurt, but that fire killed a friend of mine and left his husband in critical condition, and it’s jarring to see people “liking” that.

Bad news gets reported on social media, too, folks. Not everything needs to be “liked.” Not everything needs your mark.

There must be a better way. Why can’t we turn off the “like” function for posts we don’t actually want people to like? Can someone at Facebook and Instagram take a second look at this? Please. It’s ridiculous.

21
Dec
13

A gambler, a pool supplier, and a fashionista walk into a bar …

I am keen to feature a guest post on you blog as it would do wonders for my portfolio. I realized it was time I stopped ghost-writing for others and built an online reputation for myself.

I have received three emails at work pitching stories using this exact (misspelled) phrasing. They are a scam. Or something. Some computer somewhere is churning out these emails and sending them to publishers, or a coach has given scores of would-be writers—fed up with a life of obscurity behind the ghost-writing curtain, desperate for the rush of fresh air in their lungs and the warmth of sunlight on their pale, damp skin—some very bad advice and a poorly written form letter. Continue reading ‘A gambler, a pool supplier, and a fashionista walk into a bar …’

25
Nov
13

ATTN WRITERS (and friends of writers): Seeking essays on same-sex marriage

As you may know, I edit a blog for NewsWorks called Speak Easy, where I run essays and commentary from people in the Philly region. I’m on the lookout for new perspectives on same-sex marriage. Would you be interested in writing something? or do you know someone who might be? Continue reading ‘ATTN WRITERS (and friends of writers): Seeking essays on same-sex marriage’

23
Nov
13

Licking my wounds

I was mostly impressed with myself that I was making my way home so well that night. It was late on a Friday. I figured I shouldn’t be biking, but there weren’t many people or cars around, and I was being careful.

It had been raining lightly off and on all day, and the streets were good and soaked, but there wasn’t much standing water. It was easy to avoid the puddles, and I had so far managed to avoid spraying a lot of water up at me with my fat mountain bike tires. I picked up speed by and by.

Just over half way home, and I was moving at a pretty fast clip down 12th Street, avoiding the old, unused trolley tracks. And then, without warning, I was on the ground, tangled up in my bike, skidding across the street on my hands and knees, the rim of my helmet scraping against the pavement, a stinging sensation in my knee. Continue reading ‘Licking my wounds’

14
Jun
13

Goodbye, Minnesota’s Rose

Catherine and Wain

Catherine Jensen and Wain McFarlane, Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge, Minneapolis, May 2010

It seems impossible, ridiculous really, that we are bidding goodbye to our dear friend Catherine today. Just five days ago we had no idea she was even ill.

We got the news late on Sunday night, that she’d taken a turn for the worse, that she’d been on life support, that she was going to die.

The word “shocking” isn’t nearly accurate. What word is? There is no word for this feeling. There is no poetry for this. One moment, not a thought about her. The next, she is nearly gone. Continue reading ‘Goodbye, Minnesota’s Rose’

17
Apr
13

Nature wins

20130417-205057.jpgI love the way nature just doesn’t give a shit. No dirt? No problem.

I planted snapdragons in our window boxes three summers ago, and every year since, at least one plant pops up in some random crack in the sidewalk. This one is growing out of my neighbor’s house.

28
Mar
13

Why I will only eat the No. 6

The short answer is, the Jimmy John’s No. 6 vegetarian sub may very well have saved my life.

On the evening of Sept. 23, 1997, I put myself in the hospital with alcohol poisoning. That is to say, an ambulance and some paramedics put me in the hospital, but I’m the one who started it.

No. 6 vegetarian

It looks kinda like this, except they dont do sprouts anymore. (Courtesy of JimmyJohns.com

It was my 21st birthday. My job laying out the student newspaper held me up, and I was late meeting my friends at the bar to celebrate. Time before last call was short, so I drank something like four beers and nine shots in less than an hour.

I remember this much before waking up on a gurney as I was wheeled into Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Mich.

  1. Thinking: Should I do those last two shots?
  2. Thinking: Hell yes.
  3. Stumbling home on the shoulders of two of my roommates. I didn’t so much walk as allow myself to be propelled forward by gravity and their patience.
  4. Rolling off the living room couch into pure darkness to hit the floor, clutch my gut, and commence vomiting.

Continue reading ‘Why I will only eat the No. 6’




the untallied hours