Deceptive Things

The dog corpse on the sidewalk is a discarded mink stole. The regal butch drinking an egg-cream is a stoned teenage boy. The yellow corduroy jacket you purchase online for a song is intended for toddlers ages two to three.

Bringing leftover stir-fry to work in a Tupperware seems the grown-up thing to do, but on the subway it leaks, and at lunchtime, it stinks up the office.

Something peppy about Kaddish. Something sick about “wellness.” Something natural about polyester. Something lethargic about ambulances.

If you play for a new friend the recording of Alec Baldwin calling his daughter a “rude, thoughtless little pig,” he might assume you hate your father. If you give an old woman your seat on the subway, she might assume you are nice.

Two friends who leave within five minutes of one another to “go to bed early” are probably lovers.

A fart is a poem also.

What you hate about your face is what others find endearing. What you hear as “gay sex” is actually “Tay Sachs.”

When people say, “I’m a hugger” to make the hug they’re about to give you less jarring, it is more jarring than it would have been had they said nothing at all.

It is said that second-cut brisket is more succulent than first-cut. Slightly handsome men are more enticing than very handsome ones.

People like to have distractions from existential dread such as lunch plans, tennis lessons, and laser hair removal, but such things cause more dread and should be avoided.

The mirror is a window. The window is a mirror. The avant-garde installation you admire at MoMa featuring cranes, ladders, and drywall is a room under construction.

A pink ruffled yarmulke defies laws of physics on 79th Street, perched jauntily atop an old man’s bald head. It is, upon closer inspection, a bumpy, disk-shaped tumor.

What you think you left behind is already in your backpack. What you think will be the death of you turns out to be a yeast infection.

Numb is a feeling also.

Poor decisions can breed great stories. Stupidity can breed wisdom. Unhappiness can breed happiness if you write and talk about it in a way that makes people want to read and listen.

Sadness is not depth. Self-loathing is not humility. Beer is not dinner.

Those who keep to-do lists are the types to remember anyway.

Something exotic about milk. Something sexy about a snaggletooth. Something permanent about waiting. Something cute about urinals.

Rebecca Brill is an MFA candidate in nonfiction at the University of Minnesota and a 2016 graduate of Wesleyan University. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Lilith, Literary Hub, Entropy, The Writing Disorder, and elsewhere.