David Bouchier: A Few Well Chosen Words

David Bouchier’s weekly essays are full of unexpected observations and whimsical opinions. Listeners will relish his entertaining, enlightening, and sometimes exasperated commentaries on the routines that carry us through the year, the surreal rituals of politics, the unsettling experience of foreign travel, and the confusions and comedies of everyday suburban life.

You can hear David Bouchier on-air Monday mornings or by subscribing to his podcast, A Few Well Chosen Words.

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Summer reading is one of those traditional pleasures, like family fun, that exists largely in the realm of fantasy. About a quarter of all American adults claim not to have read even a single book in the past year. But that leaves 75 percent who have read at least one, even if it was only The Art of the Deal.

David Bouchier: Worth A Thousand Words?

Jun 4, 2018

A distant relative sent me a package of old family photographs, hoping that I could identify some of them. It was a vain hope. A few of the images came just within the range of personal memory: my parents, my grandparents, aunts and uncles, and some embarrassing childhood pictures of myself.  One of the nice things about human memory is that it is self-editing. It allows us to forget so much. But old photographs can destroy a lifetime of benign amnesia in a single instant.

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Memorial Day carries a heavy load of expectations. We are expected to think about the dead of past wars, and presumably future wars too, which is a noble thing to do but which leads to depressing reflections about human nature. We are expected to join in the retail extravaganza of Memorial Day sales, which has much the same effect. And we are expected, whatever the weather, to get in the mood for the outdoor life of summer.

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Our old television set faded away and died. Its replacement was lighter, sleeker, and even cheaper, but that was the end of the good news. The back panel presented us with a baffling array of about ten different connections with incomprehensible labels. The so-called instruction book consisted of half a dozen pages of flimsy paper, almost entirely safety warnings, with a couple of Zen-like mystical diagrams that could have been anything. The sketchy website instructions were obviously composed by a man of few words, very few of them English.

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Once again it’s Commencement season, bringing relief to thousands of parents and perhaps a certain feeling of anxiety to all those young graduates. What next? Suddenly the future is wide open. That’s what commencement means, the beginning of financial responsibility, real work, and all the other horrors of grown up life. It's a scary time for the graduates, comparable to going over the top in the trench warfare of World War I, and facing live enemy fire for the first time. That's why the graduate schools are full. It makes sense to put off the dangerous moment as long as possible.