Mortal Coil’s Top Ten Posts of the Decade

‘Tis the season for lists and, here at the end of the decade, the season for reflection on what the 2010s meant to us and did to us. It was the first full decade in which Mortal Coil was online, so it’s appropriate to offer, herewith, our selection of the top ten posts of the last ten years.

This is, of course, unscientific. These may not be the posts that got the most hits, nor the ones that attracted the most comment. Only two are what you’d call topical. Nor are they particularly representative; the oddly fallow years of 2011, ‘12 and ‘14 are skipped over entirely. Rather, these are pieces that I hope might be read with pleasure or a twinge of recognition at the end of another decade or two. But please, if you feel I missed your favorite, let me know.

Happy Holidays! And may the new year make each of us part of the change we wish for.

Love’s Geography (April, 2010)

Does how you love dictate where you live, or the other way around?

Eulogy for My Wife Yet Living (March, 2013)

Why should eulogies be reserved for those we’ve already lost? We should offer them when those we love and admire are still with us.

Love, Loss, and Social Security (November, 2015)

“The past is never dead.  It’s not event past,” said William Faulkner.  Especially when it comes to Social Security.

Strange Tales of the Electoral College (September, 2016)

We continue to apply an 18th century mechanism to the task of electing our presidents.

Men Are Pigs (November, 2017)

The sudden collective piousness that #MeToo stories have elicited recalls the Vichy French cop played by Claude Rains in Casablanca as he hurriedly closed down the casino. We are shocked – shocked! – to find that sexual harassment has been going on in the workplace!

Name-Dropping (January, 2018)

When I was a boy in Mexico, I had my first inkling that there was a different order of human abroad in the world, upon whom expectations had been placed, and who gave off a kind of reflected glory in which one might briefly bask.

Growing Up Photographed (February, 2018)

My parents married around the middle of the last century, after the Second World War, when their generation felt lucky and rich and fecund, and they found they could afford two luxuries, among others: kids and cameras. 

The Boomer Vote and the Demographics of Defeat (September, 2018)

Donald Trump is 73 years old, and in this, if little else, he is in good company: over 51 million Americans are age 65 or older, and they constitute almost a quarter of the voting age population.

Space Boy (July, 2019)

It was the summer of Woodstock, it was the summer of Stonewall, it was the summer of the Manson murders, “Midnight Cowboy,” Jimi Hendrix and Joni Mitchell. It was the summer of my sexual discontent, since nominally I had a girlfriend but neither of us had the audacity or the wherewithal to attempt sex or birth control, much less both at the same time. But above all it was the summer of Apollo 11.

Aging and Atonement (August, 2019)

None of us is to blame for growing older. Aging isn’t a defeat or a moral failure. Yet we look in the mirror and feel as though we’ve failed, arrive at the cusp of yet another decade and feel as though the passage of all that time must have been an elaborate con job that we should have recognized earlier and somehow eluded.


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