Two Suicides in 12 Hours

Both My Cousin and Robin Williams Were Jovial, Life-of-the-Party Types. One Death Helped Me Absorb the Shock of the Other.

My cousin Armando drilled four holes on the top of his garage in Oakland, California one day and installed a mini-basketball hoop. It was the early ’80s, and the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics were battling for the NBA championship. We were kids, junior high age, but he was three years older than me and taller, too. The hoop was maybe about six and a half feet tall, so the games were pretty one-sided.

He would call me when the NBA Finals weren’t on TV to come over his …

On Being Jewish, Perhaps

The staircase is L-shaped
with a huge cactus in the corner.
Be careful with that,
my mother says every time
we go to visit my aunt Pepa.
Today we are …