"Fourteen years ago, I was stabbed in the throat. This is kind of a long story and less interesting than it sounds....After my unsuccessful murder I wasn't unhappy for an entire year.
This first essay, Reprieve, is a short reflection on how his outlook on life changed afterward. His first year was a feeling of euphoric escape from death, but this becomes submerged by the everydayness of life. That one was my favourite.
Family relationships, friendships with current friends, defriended friends, lost friends, a transgendered friend are examined closely and at times with painful honesty. Others are more political. In "When They're Not Assholes" he tries to counter his instinctive acerbic dislike of the Tea Partiers by deciding to 'just listen'. But "What dooms our best efforts to cultivate empathy and compassion is always, of course, other people."
Oh yes, exactly!
These are funny and often touching stories -- I think that his intelligent humour is what helps him to learn everything, including that sometimes he learns nothing.