David Bouchier


David began as a print journalist in London and taught at a British university for almost twenty years. After coming to the United States in 1986 he continued to teach and to publish a regular humor column in The New York Times regional edition. He joined WSHU as a weekly commentator in 1992, becoming host of Sunday Matinee in 1996. His most recent books are a collection of stories about life in a French village called Not Quite a Stranger, an essay collection Out of Thin Air, a memoir, An Unexpected Life (2018), political essays Dark Matters (2019) and Journal of the Eightieth Year (2020). He lives in Stony Brook, New York, with his wife who is a professor emeritus at Stony Brook University.

Jeff Chabot / Pixabay

We human beings are credulous creatures at any age. We love to believe in marvels and miracles, and sometimes I think we will believe anything. In fact, the less likely it is, the more we want to believe it. I’m thinking of politics, of course, and the stock market, and the social media and certain TV news programs. The psychological mechanism that allows us to swallow the most implausible rubbish is both simple and ancient. Julius Caesar expressed it succinctly, although in Latin, 2,000 years ago: “Men will gladly believe what they want to believe.” And I’m sure that women have the same talent.

bug insect
Image by Vivoreanu Laurentiu from Pixabay

June is National Pest Control Month, but July and August are National Pest Out-of-Control Months, when we live in a state of siege. There are screens on all the doors and windows, plus electronic zappers, citron candles and closets full of chemical sprays. But the bugs love our hospitality so much that nothing will keep them away.

stick shift car
Image by jaredfromspace at Pixabay

One of the inescapable traumas of life in the suburbs is the need, occasionally, to buy a new car. I say “occasionally” because experience has taught me that, whatever the advertisers try to tell us, cars last a long time if treated right. But the day must come eventually and, recently, we set out to visit some car dealerships, an activity that, in terms of fun, is right up there with root canals and High School productions of the Sound of Music.

Image by Fulvio Tognon from Pixabay

My clothes tend to lag behind the seasons, and it is only when July looms on the horizon that I start exploring my wardrobe for something more appropriate. This is always an unrewarding task because, in my mind, winter is always just coming or just going.

old stuff junk
Image by Gerhard Bogner from Pixabay

One of my daily walks took me past an old barn. The door was usually open, summer and winter, and there was a workbench inside where an elderly gentleman in overalls was working with hand tools rather than power tools. This in itself was wonderfully old- fashioned, and I always wondered what he was doing there, busy every day. I should have walked up to the barn and asked, but I was embarrassed to do it because he seemed so absorbed in his task, and I left it too late. One day he was gone, and the barn stood empty, or so I thought.