Issue #326 February 8, 2017

The Facewash

walking with worry in the wintertime

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

I was in the second grade, and my walk home from school was often fraught with peril. Not real peril, but scary peril all the same. When I think about my current mental health, and when I take a good ...

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Issue #324 January 11, 2017

Black Ice & Other Problems

winter driving can be dangerous (because it’s dangerous)

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

I’m a little neurotic when it comes to driving long distances. I worry. I worry about how good of a driver I am. I worry about other drivers and mistakes they might make. I worry about animals ...

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Issue #323 December 28, 2016

Winter Clothes

you get a little more when you wear a little less

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

I hustle outside – without socks – wearing loose fitting shoes, a threadbare t-shirt, and what we as a society have collectively, wordlessly agreed to call “jammie pants.”

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Issue #322 December 14, 2016

Wreck the Halls

pretty sure Father Christmas doesn’t want us to do housework

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

Raise your hand if you’ve ever gotten totally stressed out over something as simple as Christmas decorations. I’m not talking to you people out there with 25 holiday-themed inflatable lawn ornaments surrounding your house like giant, poofy sentinels ...

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Issue #321 November 30, 2016

Like Out of Nowhere

remember when we forgot the feel of snow?

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

First it’s the dry, white flakes wisping around the sidewalk, icy crumbs gathering in the cracks. The sky is cold and colorless, but the snow, the first of the year, turns a boring afternoon in late November into something to talk about ...

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Issue #320 November 16, 2016

Counting With Your Feet

losing the rhythm but staying on track

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

I used to count how many steps I took within each sidewalk panel. Because walking home from school was so boring. The counting became a chant inside my head, and sometimes this chant fell down into a whisper, tumbling from between my lips as if I’d stuffed too many sugar cubes into my mouth ...

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Issue #319 November 2, 2016

Miss Direction

hey, not all those who wander are lost (almost)

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

My wife is so good with directions it frightens me. On the other hand, I’m so bad with directions it frightens her. If you were to superglue a blindfold onto my wife’s eyeballs, throw her into a helicopter, fly her into the heart of the Amazonian jungles ...

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Issue #318 October 19, 2016

Halloween Scenes

stories of yore from Octobers in Eau Claire

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

A boy in 1980s Eau Claire is so excited by his He-Man Halloween costume he can’t stop looking at it. It includes a stiff plastic mask with a thin elastic string tied around the back, with holes for each eye and each nostril ...

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Issue #317 October 5, 2016

The Best of Me (2016)

this year’s Best of the Mike Paulus Poll was something else

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

The votes are in, the polls have been slammed shut, and the tallies have been tilly-tallied. So it is with great pleasure and excitement that I present to you the results of my 2016 Best of the Mike Paulus Poll.

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Issue #316 September 21, 2016

Repercussions

still feeling the rhythm of my old band classes

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Janae Breunig

Deep in Northwestern Wisconsin, you will find the tiny town of Webster. Just outside of Webster, out in the woods, there is a house. In the basement of this house ...

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Issue #315 September 7, 2016

Trailing Off

chasing shadows along an old Wisconsin railway

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

They say the crews of men who built the railroad tracks running through Northwestern Wisconsin would dance. As the legend goes, their hand tools were manufactured down in Chicago ...

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Issue #313 August 10, 2016

Overgrown

August is a time for tangled branches and rebellion

Mike Paulus, design by Serena Wagner

Maybe it’s because we never had sidewalks. Or a curb or a gutter. Everyone’s lawns just rolled right up the blacktop, no fancy concrete to separate the two ...

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Issue #312 July 27, 2016

Swat in Hell

something really bugs me about summer in Wisconsin

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

I have hairy forearms. You wouldn’t stare at them if you were seated next to me at a restaurant or anything, but close inspection, you’d discover I maintain a robust, masculine forest or arm follicles. The same is true for my legs. So if I’m sporting a T-shirt-n-shorts combo ...

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Issue #311 July 13, 2016

Anting and Raving

when ants get organized, retreat is the only option

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

I was super-freaked by the sheer variety of these ants. The diversity. Small ones. Big ones. Really big ones. Fat ones. Cute ones. Black ones. Brown ones. Reddish ones. And a certain kind of ant I only saw once or twice but will never forget because they were black like the absolute absence of joy ...

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Issue #310 June 29, 2016

Strawberry Moon

when rare events build common ground

Mike Paulus, design by Serena Wagner

In the days leading up to the last full moon, children were seen meandering through the downtown farmers market holding cardboard flats piled high with strawberries ...

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Issue #307 June 1, 2016

Second-Hand War Stories

how I sold a chunk of my childhood for seventy bucks

Mike Paulus, design by Serena Wagner

Like many men my age, as a boy, I was required by federal law to love Star Wars. For those of you who are too young to remember these laws, it’s time for a history lesson ...

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Issue #306 May 18, 2016

Bygone Derby Days

my racing days are long over, but their lessons linger

Mike Paulus, design by Serena Wagner

I achieved one of the few truly great victories in my life back when I was but a foolish youngster, mesmerized by the high speed, high risk, highly splinter-ridden world of Pinewood Derby Car Racing ...

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