Linguist, lexicographer, writer, editor, broadcaster


Airport. I say this all the time: When I return to the home state and step off the plane, there seems to be a large convention of band students, or Mormons, or Jehovah’s witnesses or some other group of flubbery white people dressed in similar clothes and similar hairstyles. Turns out every time, though, that it’s just shock. Shock at stepping out of the split atom chaos of the city and its ethnic coloring book and into the fogginess of cockscomb bangs and bi-level hair-dos and white trainers.

I think, Who are all these white people? Why do I feel threatened? Anxiety of the sort I once felt when walking around in shorts and flip-flops in Washington Heights listening to the Dominicans shout “Maricon!” Dominicans are too manly to wear shorts; wear them, you are queer. Also Venezuelans and Colombians and most Puerto Ricans. Ninety-five degrees, they’re in long pants, sweating like weightlifters.

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Grant Barrett