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Pictures: Justin Veenema (https://unsplash.com/justinveenema), Lizzie Guilbert (https://unsplash.com/lizzie_g), Sebastien Gabriel (https://unsplash.com/sgabriel)

(Don’t be surprised: no tech, no startups involved. Just an “everyday” story…)

A friend of mine told me a story. Is it a true story? I don’t know. But I know it’s just too good — or too crazy — not to be true. Even in their wilder dreams, I doubt writers come up with stuff like this.

Here goes.

Some time ago, this friend accepted to take care of another friend’s dog — Jake — for a long week-end. …


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Over One Year Later, a Personal Essay Continues… Part 1 Here.

It’s funny how memories work. I’ve always thought I couldn’t remember the next part of the story any clearer: Sitting at my desk in the fall of 2005 with the day winding down, I had just consummated a big sale by retrieving its signed paperwork from the fax machine. It was time to take a break. I loaded up my browser and began happily staring at a web page with a yellow background.


How I tried to romance one without knowing it was really her.

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Well, I’m an idiot. At least I was. Let’s just be clear on that before we begin.

Ok, so — roller disco, birthday party, Los Angeles, lots of people, lots of people I don’t know, slightly dim lighting, and me.

We’re skating, we’re skating. The 80's are blaring, people are loving life. If you’re not having a good time you’re not here. …


And I Feel Fine

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That’s my brain! Without contrast, it’s tough to spot the tumor. Can you see it?

It all started about 4 years ago.

I was working at insiderpages.com and one day (it was a Saturday) I woke up and couldn’t hear very well in my left ear. At first I thought maybe it was just some congestion, so I took some decongestants and antihistamines and went about my day, only slightly perturbed by my new semi-deafness.

On Sunday I started to get worried. Just a tiny bit. But then I reassured myself, “You’ll see the doc tomorrow. No problem.”

On Monday I scheduled an urgent appointment with a doctor who was not my normal primary care physician. He did a quick evaluation and declared that I was suffering from something called “Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss” (or SSHL). …


How I and our startup ended up making a cameo on the hit show

If you’ve watched Silicon Valley lately, we’ve already met. That’s me in the picture above next to Erlich.

When I was younger, theatre was one of my favorite hobbies — though I was never one of those kids who loved to take center stage and broadcast themselves every given opportunity.

After countless summer camps and play rehearsals I gave up my dream of becoming an actress because I didn’t think I was good enough. I became a writer instead and ended up doing a cameo on my favorite TV channel without even trying.

Sometimes life is funny that way.

Here’s how it happened. …


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Photo by Stephanie Rice

My new roommate was becoming a friend — and then suddenly he didn’t exist anymore

I found out that my new roommate was dead from Facebook.

I was sitting at my kitchen table around lunchtime, scrolling through clever status updates and cute baby photos, when I saw it. Someone had tagged a recent photo of him grinning in a plaid shirt and written: “Taken far too soon. RIP Paul.”

I froze. I hadn’t seen Paul in about two days. I had assumed he’d been with his ex-boyfriend, whom he was still seeing. But not dead. Of course not dead.

As similar messages began to flood my news feed, irrational thoughts wrestled for control of my confused brain. …


How a video I made in my bedroom on a webcam ended up changing my life.

As a group, we were very calm about the whole situation. Something had happened to the six of us that we could not explain and we could not comprehend and we could not properly come to terms with. …


It’s a small world

There it was. A huge pile of mail. Colours everywhere. Drawings. Finger paintings. Scribbled crayons. Spelling mistakes. Glitter. Photos. Sign here. Visit our school. Write me. You’re my hero!

I was fresh out of college and had recently started a career in sports management, working for an Australian agency that managed some of the world’s best athletes. As the office junior I was tasked with handling all the athlete fan mail. No problem I thought, how hard could that be? Turns out extremely hard.

There was no process in place and the amount of fan mail was overwhelming. According to Australia Post, one of our athlete’s received more fan mail than Santa Claus did at Christmas time. Ok, so excess fan mail is a good problem to have but disappointing thousands of fans because you can’t manage it, is not. …


It’s 2pm and I’m on the way to the brothel my mother owns and runs…

Elvis, my mother’s driver, is a young Central African gentleman, and the same driver who ships girls to men around the greater Johannesburg area, like some sort of chipper delivery man who leaves drop-off hampers of neatly wrapped up treats from the local delicatessen.

He takes me down the road towards a mid-sized suburban looking home in Randburg, not far from the strung out soccer moms and cheerful hollering of children we’ve just left behind. The cookie-cutter house sits on a busy stretch of road in Johannesburg, South Africa, that’s littered with car dealerships, greasy repair shops and even greasier take-outs. …


Almost 30 years ago I ran into an old guy in a cave and he gave me a wooden sword. It was just what I needed since I was in a new place and every creature I ran into was determined to kill me. With that sword my adventure began and I eventually saved the kingdom from a total jerk.

Back then I figured that that’s what the old folks were good for: giving you stuff. …

About

This Happened to Me

Life is made of stories.

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