When I was in sixth grade (1984, give or take) I wrote a short essay titled “The Best Job in the World.” I discovered this last night while digging through some old boxes. It turns out that at a time when my wife wanted to be a famous actress I was “doing a research project on the great English philosopher, Sir John Locke,” because research “gives me the satisfaction of a job well done.”
I also discovered “A Declaration of Independence by the student representatives of McKinley School,” which I wrote (on a parchment-like brown paper bag artificially aged with a cigarette lighter) so as to carefully follow the outline of the real Declaration of Independence.
Finally, I found a slightly water-damaged portrait of the 27th Georgia Infantry, at Lindsay Park, Davenport, Iowa, ca. 1986. The 1st sergeant (top row, far left) sold Little Debbies from the back of his van, while the sergeant next to him was a veteran of the Marine barracks bombing in Beirut a few years earlier. It was my first reenactment. (I’m in the front row, far left.)
All of which is to say, if anyone was born to edit an encyclopedia …