Strolling along any old New England cemetery (as one does), you’ll most likely find gravestones with winged skulls curling across their crests. I remember staring at these “Death’s Heads” for too long during elementary school field trips to Boston’s Granary Burying Ground: their hollow eyes and teeth in a row, wings unfurled in cracked yet perfect symmetry. There’s a stark blankness to their gaze, a tiredness in the curved shape where their noses would be.
In 2014, a tour guide berated San Francisco’s Chinatown streets: “Here in America we don’t eat turtles and frogs...when you come to America you've got to assimilate a little bit.” The irony is palpable, considering that Chinatowns were created precisely because racist legislation made assimilation impossible for Asian Americans.
In 1916, the people of Boston found out, much to their chagrin, that the beloved sugary pill they had been taking for two decades to break colds and prevent pneumonia was, in fact, just that — sugar, with a little alcohol coated over it.