The Junkyard of Forking Paths


Sometime last November (I think it was around the middle of the month), I visited my brother Mark at his home in the Appalachian foothills. We spent most of the time walking around the junkyard next to his trailer. I asked certain questions and avoided others, capturing Mark’s answers on my voice recorder.

It’s difficult for me to describe Mark because, like all of us, he has played different roles at different times in his life. And in each role, he had a huge influence on me. As we walked through the junkyard, each of those old roles took on new form and intersected with the others, opening escape routes from time's perceived irreversible forward churn.

My brother Mark is:

  1. A Combat Control specialist in the United States Air Force,
  2. A goth in 1980s Los Angeles,
  3. A prison guard at Pelican Bay, and
  4. A 52-year-old man, who lives in a trailer without hot water or electricity, next to a junkyard in Glouster, Ohio.