Jake LaCaze

Writer doling out perspective as a service

A snarky sign at Pug on a Pontoon in Granbury Square #essays

I started 2022 with a major career change. It was easy—all it took was applying to nearly 400 jobs in just under 3 months.

Disclaimer: What follows is the story of the job search leading to my career change. This post is not a how-to. I do not claim to have all the answers. Instead, I hope that sharing my experience and perspective can help someone else looking for a similar change.

On with the post

Admitting it's time for a change

Before starting my job search, I first had to accept it was time for a change. I had talked about getting out of oil and gas for years, but I hadn't found the motivation to act until the COVID-19 pandemic shocked the world.

Seeing oil go negative for the first time in its history on April 20, 2020, was enough to make me start moving on my exit strategy.

A snippet from Bloomberg Energy on April 20, 2020, when oil prices went negative for the first time in history

Screenshot of commodity prices from Bloomberg Energy on April 20, 2020

In case I needed further motivation, I was notified in late October 2021 that my job would be eliminated sometime in the next 90 days. I didn't know at the time that the end would actually come in early December.

The foundation was set: I was ready for a change, but where would I go?

Figuring out what I wanted to do next

A career change wasn't going to be easy. So I needed to make sure that I put my energy into something worth the struggle.

After seeing oil prices go negative, I gave myself a thought exercise: I told myself I had just lost my job and that I would not be able to find another job in oil and gas. I convinced myself that I had no choice but to find a job in a different industry. This wasn't true—and of course I knew that—but such framing set the foundation for my transition.

So I had found some motivation but still didn't have any sense of direction. What could I do about that?

I did some soul searching.

As a kid, I dreamt about being a novelist. But I had given up on that dream by college when I stepped onto campus as a journalism major.

Even my journalistic ambitions didn't last, and after a quick stay at the college of engineering via attempting a computer science degree, I finally graduated with a BS in marketing.

I had enjoyed blogging off and on after college, but I had problems maintaining the habit because my blog persona didn't mesh with a career oil and gas professional. The conflict created an identify crisis and bit of imposter syndrome, which usually led to my deleting my blogs in the name of going all in on a career I stuck with only due to the comfort that accompanies predictability.

When I was honest with myself, I knew what I wanted to do: I wanted to write for a living. But I didn't know exactly how I wanted to do it. How could I make writing for a living a viable reality as opposed to another daydream?

My soul searching led to Google searching, which led me to technical writing.

If you don't know what technical writing is, I'll save you a Google search: In a nutshell, technical writing is the art of explaining complex topics in a way that non-experts can understand.

I took an online technical writing course in summer 2020 and then enrolled in a certificate program in summer 2021, which will conclude at the end of January 2022. So soon I'll be able to call myself a certified technical writer. Oooooo

Getting help where I could

I was uneasy looking for a job in this new and exciting field, which required speaking lingo I hadn't learned after nearly 14 years in the oil and gas industry. I needed help talking pretty for recruiters and the dreaded application tracking systems (ATSs), so I reached out to a resume writer.

The resume writer said the same things I had been saying about my career and accomplishments, but she said them more effectively. Instead of saying I had created mineral ownership reports—Who outside of oil and gas knows what those are?—she said I created technical documentation and explained complex topics for non-technical audiences.

These statements were true. The only difference was that they were now presented in a manner more familiar to my target audiences.

Starting to frame my past in a way that lined up with my ideal future helped get me moving in the right direction.

I made a few changes to my new resume as I progressed in my search. At one point, I completely changed the format but transferred the meat of the resume writer's content.

Even though I did not stick with the original resume provided, I do not regret hiring the resume writer. I do believe that hiring her was a crucial part of the process.

Creating a job search strategy

Search for the secrets to the perfect job search strategy, and you'll find advice to invest hours into adapting your resume to the job you're applying for. Oh! And be sure to write the perfect cover letter. And don't address your cover letter to the “hiring manager”—be sure to find out who exactly will be reading your credentials.

That strategy may be good to follow if you're targeting one company for your dream job. But let's be real: The best tool for finding a new job is effective networking.

I didn't have the personal or professional network to help with my career ambitions, so I was going to have to find a job without any help.

The odds were not in my favor since I didn't have previous technical writing experience, but I found encouragement in a piece of advice I had seen repeated on the technical writing subreddit, which went something like this:

There is such need for technical writers. Keep applying. Someone will take a chance on you.

I interpreted this advice as meaning I was looking for a needle in a haystack. I was looking for someone to give me my dream shot at Top Gun.

I was playing a numbers game, meaning I couldn't afford to spend two hours on a single application, especially when employers know in only a few seconds if they're interested in you.

Instead, I implemented a strategy that went against everything the top job search resources advocated: I was going to spray and pray.

Searching and applying for jobs

For the most part, I relied on LinkedIn for my job search. I did this for a couple of reasons:

  1. I already have a full-fledged profile on LinkedIn, so there's no need to worry about creating a new profile or maintaining a profile on a different site.
  2. LinkedIn's Easy Apply feature means I can apply for jobs without ever leaving LinkedIn.

Some notes about LinkedIn's Easy Apply feature:

  • Sometimes it's as easy as sending only your resume.
  • Sometimes employers ask a few screening questions. And sometimes they get cute and try to make you fill out your employment and education history, as if you applied on the employer's website or the godawful Workday site.
  • And sometimes the employers get really cute and mark the posting as Easy Apply but then demand you send your resume and cover letter via email.

My second favorite site for job searching was Ziprecruiter. I mostly duplicated my LinkedIn strategy by focusing on Ziprecruiter's 1-Click Apply option.

This was my first time using Ziprecruiter, but the experience was good and I would try the site again, especially since I found my job through a posting from Ziprecruiter.

Still, when I have to look for jobs in the future, I will prioritize LinkedIn. I've gotten at least one job through LinkedIn in the past, and my point about already having a full-fledged profile that I keep updated even when I'm not job-hunting remains.

Some numbers and a summary

Let me throw some numbers at you, which I will then expand upon:

  • Nearly 400 job applications
  • Just under 3 months
  • Fewer than 10 screenings
  • 1 full-fledged interview

I applied for 295 jobs via LinkedIn's Easy Apply feature, and 61 jobs on Ziprecruiter. I also applied for a handful of jobs via Indeed, and I applied for some jobs on other sites.

So I have no problem stating that I applied for nearly 400 jobs in 3 months (I got my job offer in early January 2022).

I likely had fewer than 10 pre-interview screenings. The screenings are difficult to gauge because I know I didn't have many phone screenings, but it's hard to know how many email interactions to count when accounting for fly-by-night recruiters.

And I believe I had only one interview beyond preliminary screening, being the interview for the job I got.

I won't count the one interview I had that lasted only five minutes before the manager told me he wasn't sure why the recruiter thought I was qualified for the position and I agreed and told him I figured I'd take my shot. He understood and wished me luck on my search before we parted. He really seemed like a sweet man who would be a pleasure to work with. But oh well, I'll never know.

On to new adventures

Though the vast majority of jobs I applied for were for technical writer positions, the position I landed was a digital marketing position for a local IT service provider. I'm already working on a website redesign, and soon I'll be diving into content writing and social media management. Oddly enough, my pursuit of technical writing assured my boss that I would be a great fit for this job, because he felt that I would understand how to communicate the technical aspects of our offerings to less-technical decision makers.

And I agree with him—that's why I'm so stoked for the work that lies ahead.

Time will tell if we're both right.

This post first appeared on Jake LaCaze's blog.

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The beach at Bolivar Peninsula in winter #photojournal

I love the beach in winter.

The lower temps.

A Portuguese man o' war washed up on the beach

The gentle, consistent breeze.

A beach house with its shutters closed

The roar of the ocean, the perfect soundtrack to an aimless stroll.

The misty beach at Bolivar Peninsula

All with no pressure or expectation to get in the water.

Two pairs of feet on the beach

This post first appeared on Jake LaCaze's blog.

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A child's chaotic handwriting #essays

What if an outline weren't a chore, but the first draft on your path to fine writing?

Recently, my technical writing class was discussing outlining, when I was surprised to discover how many of my classmates hate the practice. But I shouldn't have been caught off guard, because I was in the same camp until only a few years ago.



If you've ever sought advice to combat writer's block or to rediscover inspiration, you've likely stumbled upon the advice to go on a walk. And if you're in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, I would amend that advice by recommending you take a walk on the Rock Art Tail in Grapevine's Parr Park.

The Parr Park Rock Art Trail is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: a path lined with painted and decorated rocks. The rocks come in all sizes, shapes, and flavors.

Unsurprisingly, many works professed the creator's love of the Great State.

rocks at the entrance of the Parr Park Rock Art Trail Rocks at the entrance of the Parr Park Rock Art Trail

A rock at Parr Park Rock Art Trail with major Texas cities and regions A rock at Parr Park Art Trail with major Texas cities and regions

Some rocks celebrated alma maters or cartoon and comic book characters. Some were pieces of larger works.

Rocks forming a rainbow at the Parr Park Rock Art Trail Rocks forming a rainbow at the Parr Park Rock Art Trail

Some were products of their time.

A rock at the Parr Park Rock Art Trail dedicated to someone who died of COVID-19 A rock at the Parr Park Rock Art Trail dedicated to someone who died of COVID-19

A rock of a heart wearing a mask for COVID at the Parr Park Rock Art Trail A rock of a heart wearing a mask for COVID at Parr Park Rock Art Trail

Some were intended to be inspirational.

A rock at Parr Park Rock Art Trail painted with “Broken is still beautiful”

Some sought to give practical advice.

A rock at Parr Park Rock Art Trail painted with “don't outsmart your common sense”

And some were pure silliness.

Pet rock cemetery at Parr Park Rock Art Trail Pet rock cemetery at Parr Park Rock Art Trail

But collectively, the rocks filled me with wonder. I marveled at the work that went into creating some of the rock art. The effort to paint the scenes. The time spent to find the perfect rock. How many people poked out their chests as they boasted about their participation in a Guinness record?

The Parr Park Rock Art Trail served as a reminder of our desire to be a part of something, and a reminder that, regardless of what some people or outlets may make you believe, there are still beautiful somethings to be part of.

More pictures available in my snap.as gallery

This post first appeared on Jake LaCaze's blog.

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If you had to sum up in only a few sentences the WeWork debacle to someone unfamiliar with the situation, how would you do so? The following quote from The Cult of We: WeWork, Adam Neumann, and the Great Startup Delusion by Eliot Brown and Maureen Farrell would be my candidate.

But prior to the prospectus becoming public, bankers and other advisers had continued to shower [Adam] Neumann with praise—giving him criticism too infrequently and too meekly. These advisers either ignored or danced around the company's obvious warts and red flags.

Now, at the eleventh hour, they finally spoke up. But the IPO was already on life support.

If you have any interest in investing time reading about business train wrecks rather than investing your money into them, then pick up a copy of The Cult of We. Throughout the book, I often found myself shaking my head in disbelief, amazed at how many smart and successful people overlooked what should have been obvious red flags, such as CEO Adam Neumann's selling too many shares too soon, Neumann's constant power grabs, a private company buying a $63 million private jet even though it was hemorrhaging cash despite having had plenty time to find a path to profitability—the list goes on.

WeWork's business model was simple. They leased up office buildings, prettied the spaces up to attract Millennials, and subleased the space at a premium. Their plan was hardly unique, as Regus had done the same a couple decades earlier. No matter how you cut it, WeWork was a real estate company. Yet many viewed it as a tech company, which justified the crazy valuations it had received before its IPO. WeWork would not have been valued so high if it were seen as a real estate company, since real estate companies are unable to scale as well as tech companies. It was the era of the visionary founder, and if the founder said WeWork was a tech company, then it must be a tech company.

Neumann and Masayoshi Son, the head of SoftBank, had convinced themselves that WeWork was a $10 trillion company, basically because they dared to dream so. The authors point out that, in 2018, the entire value of the U.S. stock market was $30 trillion. (Take a moment to let that sink in.)

Neumann and Son laid out a plan to reach the ambitious valuation while never acknowledging all the obstacles they would face. Neumann believed he could change the world in myriad ways: from how people work and live to how they educate their children.

Neumann and his wife Rebeka had convinced themselves they were environmentalists despite riding freely on the aforementioned private jet and even taking an abundance of WeWork's unused couches to landfills. Rebeka had described the family as minimalists despite having at one time owned at least eight homes.

In summary, the delusions ran far and wide.

The story was a reminder of a crucial life lesson: Don't be afraid to question the herd; just because the herd buys into the same narrative doesn't mean they're right. And you're not wrong to question the herd.

The story also reminded me of similar moments I've experienced in thirteen years as a petroleum landman.

The first such moment came early in my career, when I was working in Dallas-Fort Worth's Barnett Shale play. In the shadow of the Great Recession, the natural gas play was a bright spot and a boost to the local economy. Everyone involved in the industry was in high spirits, some even claiming the boom times could last 20 years. I remember raising an eyebrow at that declaration. I couldn't make a convincing case for why the boom wouldn't last 20 years, other than a feeling in my gut that such good times are unlikely to last so long. Within 13 months, my employer had closed its Fort Worth office and most of the former occupants were looking for jobs, as natural gas crashed from all-time highs and is only now, over a decade later, showing signs of significant recovery.

The second such moment came when I moved to West Texas in 2012. The Permian Basin is no stranger to boom-and-bust cycles, so the narrative wasn't exactly the same as the Barnett Shale in 2008-2009. Instead, the collective wisdom was: This boom is different, whatever that meant. While the Permian Basin does not appear to be at risk of going the way of the Barnett, the area has still seen fluctuations in the near-decade since. The cycle of booms and busts is more frequent than in past decades, but the cycle still exists.

The Cult of We is not just a business book or a biography of a company that went from rising star to laughing stock in the blink of an eye. The book is also a warning: Never underestimate someone's ability to be out of touch with reality.

This post first appeared on Jake LaCaze's blog.

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A painting of a multi-colored horse on a wall in Carrollton Square #essays

“It's like putting together a puzzle.” That's how my buddy explained oil and gas abstracting. “Does that sound like something you'd be interested in?”

Yeah, I told him. I'll give it a shot. I still had no idea what “abstracting” and “chain of title” and “runsheet” and “mineral ownership report” meant, but it all sounded better than selling cars in the middle of the financial crisis.

It didn't take long to see what he meant by saying that my new job was like putting together a puzzle. And it didn't take long to figure out that I liked the job. And now, all these years later, I've found myself asking why exactly title research resonated with me, because it wasn't something I wanted to do before February 2008, when I first moved to Texas. Before then, title research wasn't something I realized was even an option.

With oil and gas abstracting, the desired scene of the completed puzzle is always the same: You're trying to get to 1. No matter how many owners under one tract of land, no matter how fragmented the interest—the final report should be whole. Complete. Like a jigsaw puzzle.

Through the lens of puzzle-making is another way to look at writing. Whatever we're writing, we're always checking to make sure that we have all the pieces. If we ever feel as if we do have all the pieces, then we have to worry about putting them in the right places. But when we do so, maybe we discover that we've put together a puzzle different from the one we had in mind when we started. Maybe the final picture doesn't match the one on the box.

Complex title and mineral ownership necessitates a flowchart. I think of flowcharts as roadmaps that show where ownership began—usually with a patent from a state agency to the original grantee of the land—and the path it took to get to its current state. Writing is a bit like a roadmap too, starting readers at one place and then leading them somewhere else at the end.

Perhaps the biggest problem with this analogy is that our writing most likely never has all the pieces to make everything whole. Something is always missing. And if something's not missing for one reader or audience, that doesn't mean something's not missing for another. Our projects will never be perfect. And we may reach the point of doing more harm than good if we keep cramming in more information at the expense of the flow or of our readers' attention spans and patience.

But still, we have to try to get enough pieces. And we have to lay down the roadmap to show the proper order in which each piece needs to be experienced.

We have to write the puzzle as best we can.

This post first appeared on Jake LaCaze's blog.

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A Christmas tree of books at the South Branch of the Irving Library #essays

I entered college knowing only that I wanted to write for a living.

I had accepted that I wasn't going to support myself on the paperback royalties of novels I would never write. Technical writing sounded unimaginative, and I'm not sure my university offered such a program anyway. Therefore, journalism seemed my only option, so I stepped onto campus as a journalism major. By the end of my first quarter, I had switched to Undecided, as I then had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, but journalism was not part of those future plans. Fast forward to 2021, and I doubt anyone would say with a straight face that I made the wrong decision. But I can say with the straightest of faces that I made the right decision for the wrong reasons.

I don't remember much of my time in Journalism 101 other than I got an A for the course. In terms of writing, the most practical takeaway was to lead with a hard-hitting point and then follow with the details and backstory. I didn't immediately realize how this method could also apply to fiction, the best example I can think of being the opening of Choke by Chuck Palahniuk:

If you're going to read this, don't bother.

After a couple of pages, you won't want to be here. So forget it. Go away. Get out while you're still in one piece.

Save yourself.

There has to be something better on television . . .

Those opening lines may not have given me many concrete details about the story that followed, but they gave me enough to get the feel. And I was immediately hooked.

In my journalism course, I quickly discovered I did not want to engage in strictly fact-based writing with no obvious way to inject at least a part of myself into my writing. (I never claimed to be a selfless writer.) I had not yet discovered the likes of Joan Didion, Hunter S. Thompson, or Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, though I doubt these discoveries would have made much difference, because I also left journalism for more practical reasons.

As I've already stated, I don't remember much of the lectures from Journalism 101, but I do remember something I never experienced in any other entry-level course, which highlights one of the failings of higher education.

Every couple weeks or so, Dr. Blick welcomed journalists to share with the class their experiences in the field. The topics ranged from the humorous, as in the case of a now fellow alum whose typo in the school paper made its way to Jay Leno's Headlines segment (She referred to a play version of Lean On Me as Leon On Me), to groundbreaking, as in the case of Leesha Faulkner, who uncovered the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission, a state agency dedicated to derailing the Civil Rights movement.

Despite the diversity in perspective and experience, I heard the same things repeated:

You work really hard. You have no security. You never see your family. You make no money. But it's great.

I didn't need to take on student loans just to be broke. After accepting I had no clues what I wanted to do, I tried my hand in computer science, only to crash and burn and then settle on a marketing degree.

In the name of being a real adult, I mostly abandoned writing, save for a handful of short-lived blogs here and there over the years. Within the last three years, I've started focusing on writing again, starting with dipping my toes back into fiction. I've studied the craft as I never had before, with a more open mind.

I've now read books on screenwriting and have marveled at how much a screenwriter must convey with so few words. Previously, I didn't realize how much the writer directs certain details, holding everyone's hand in the process.

Studying copywriting is another study in communicating efficiently. The best slogans are simple. They require no explanation. They're like jokes: If they require explanation, then they're not effective. You remember effective slogans because they slide off the tongue and have a certain rhythm. These are some of the reasons the most nonsensical song lyrics can lodge themselves into our brains.

From studying technical writing, I've learned the values of knowing when to holds readers' hands and when to squeeze tightly. I now see that a career of explaining complex issues in oil and gas title has taught much of the same. And I've also learned that most people who say they don't have the time to hold someone else's hand through an issue most likely lack the knowledge and awareness of how to do so and also have no desire to learn how.

I've been asking myself recently what is the strand that ties all writing together. What is the one similarity? The unifier, other than a need to communicate?

And, as we speak, my answer is: persuasion.

The angle of persuasion is obvious for some fields, such as legal writing, in which briefs are intended to persuade a judge to rule in a client's favor. Sales copy aims to persuade you to make a certain purchase. Business emails persuade recipients to act—or maybe they persuade that no action is needed. Even research papers should aim to persuade, as we don't have to look too hard around us to see that facts alone are not enough. If nothing else, I have to persuade you that my facts are more accurate than your facts.

But what about fiction? Where's the persuasion there?

In fiction, authors are trying to persuade readers that this fake world with these fake people in these fake scenarios contains some sort of truth worth their time. Authors want to convince readers that this person in this situation would act or feel a certain way.

And sometimes the persuasion takes a different angle, such as in the case of some of the best tellers of tall tales, the ones who stretch the truth—or, in some cases, discard the truth completely—and leave us doubled over, hoarse from laughing through the tears. Sometimes writers persuade us not to care about reality so much.

I know I have few—if any—original ideas, but I recently realized that the point of this post isn't original even in regard only to my thinking, as I shared the picture below in a previous edition of Emergency Coffee, my (now discontinued) monthly writing newsletter:

quote from Anthony Doerr

In the past, I abandoned writing because I failed to see the similarities among the separate disciplines. I also failed to see that there is no down side to being a better writer. Even if you never make a penny directly from your writing, the thought and effort required to improve as a writer likely benefit you in less obvious ways.

Now, if I read something as mundane as the back of a shampoo bottle, I no longer brush it off as an irrelevant form of writing. Instead, I wonder why certain things were done certain ways and then ask if or how my own projects could benefit from those methods. This way of thinking makes me a more open-minded writer than I was when I set foot on that university campus all those years ago.

This post first appeared on Jake LaCaze's blog.

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Abandoned RV and car near Terlingua, TX #essays

Landmen have an interesting relationship with history. Some will harken back to the good old days of driving out to a rancher's property and discussing business among prospect maps spread over the hood of a pickup truck and closing deals with handshakes. If you stick around long enough in this field—I'm nearing my thirteenth year—you likely develop at least a passing interest in the history of the land and the minerals underneath. And the history of the owners, sometimes leading to revelations of betrayal and the accompanying family feuds. When researching title, you may become more familiar with other people's family trees than you are of your own. And don't let anyone tell you that wills, probate proceedings, and affidavits can't be exciting—sometimes you find some four-letter words and some spicy accusations in those documents.


The alien grave in Aurora, TX #essays

When you hear about Texas, a few things may come to mind:

  • Cowboys
  • The Alamo
  • Salsa and cheese dip
  • Big AF state

You likely don't think of the state as possibly being home to America's first UFO crash, which took place 50 years before the better-known Roswell incident. From my experience, most people in the Dallas-Fort Worth area are unaware of the Aurora, Texas, UFO incident, even though it happened practically in their back yard.

Long story short, way back in 1897—before the Wright brothers blasted their fly rides into the sky and made it cry—a cigar-shaped spaceship wrecked into a windmill on the judge's property. The pilot, some tiny human-like creature, was buried in the local cemetery.

Of course, any good alien story has to have some additional layers to it.

Supposedly, some metal from the wreckage was thrown into the property's water well and a future owner would claim that the well water gave him gout and so he closed the well in.

When the locals buried the little alien man, they left a grave marker, which was supposedly later retrieved by the army. Truth ears have replaced the marker numerous times with some sort of rock or object over the decades. The cemetery will not allow anyone to exhume the alien, but according to the History Channel's UFO Hunters, there is a collapsed and deteriorated grave at the alien's plot.

Perhaps this story isn't better known because it has been nearly unanimously accepted as legend and was most likely a PR stunt by a local journalist to stir up interest in the dying town. But it's one I like to tell when I get the chance.

I do not believe in aliens insofar as little green men flying around in bubbly spaceships with strange lights and looking for people to abduct for the sake of a little probing action, but I do love the story behind the Aurora, Texas, UFO incident, so from time to time I go to visit the alien grave. And that's what the LaCaze family did this past weekend, while following proper social distancing etiquette, of course.

I've visited the grave a handful of times over the years, and I never know what to expect before arriving. Before my first visit, someone had stolen the marker for the grave, so I had to rely on blogs and other resources to locate the grave on my own. I would not be surprised if I wrongly identified the spot during my first visit.

For my last few visits, rocks have served as a marker. People often leave little trinkets for the alien, and this past visit featured the most absurd collection I've yet to see.

During my latest visit to the alien grave, I regretted not visiting Roswell during the five years I lived in West Texas. The drive would not have been terribly long, and I had plenty of free weekends to cross state lines and gawk at some hokey alien stuff and listen to “The Happening” by Pixies on repeat. I was also reminded of why I enjoy investigating local abandoned places and local ghost stories and such—the stories, man. The stories, which can often entertain while also revealing something deeper about us: our anxieties, our hopes, our pains, our desperation.

My son was weirded out by the idea of an alien being buried in the Aurora cemetery. Even after I asked him how he could doubt it after seeing the grave, he held on to his skepticism. I was proud that he was not so easily swayed even by parental pressure, but I hope he was still able to enjoy the lore—the story— of it all.

This post first appeared on Jake LaCaze's blog.

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Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing the whole “human experience” thing right. The concern usually arises when I'm expected to reminisce and recall specific memories. Ones that some people take for granted.

The catalyst is often an innocent question.

“What's your earliest memory?”

I never know how to answer such a question. I have only the vaguest recollections from kindergarten, let alone anything before. Is there any utility to pushing myself closer to the beginning of my own timeline? I don't see the point, but am I alone?


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