Saul Epstein

Saul Epstein is a degreed linguist, graduated Bachelor of Arts from the University of Kansas; a professional technology analyst at Johnson County Community College; and an amateur philosopher, historian and general critic wherever he happens to be. At JCCC his work involves faculty training and internal curriculum development, computer programming, information management, technical writing and occasionally graphic design. He writes essays, poetry and long and short fiction, and is sometimes satisfied with the results. His is also prone to fits of ideography, typography, and illustration. Saul used to spend a lot of time explaining that he was born in a hidden state capital, grew up in a city seemingly named for an adjacent state, and lives in an invisible suburb with no clear urb. He is now more delighted every time to tell the simpler truth that he is from and lives in Kansas City.

The basement is almost finished. When I bought the house, the basement appointments were High Seventies: chocolate paneling; shag carpet, not only wall to wall but wrapped around the one otherwise exposed support column; high school tile for ceiling and part of the floor; the unpaneled walls painted and papered in mustard and tangerine. The shag was stippled in those colors, accented with cream and more chocolate. The all-weather carpet on the stairs leading down to the basement picks up only the darker of these colors, looking rather like a wet tiger skin run through a blender.

It’s not only almost finished, it’s almost an inverse loft. It has the sink, cupboards and cabinet to make a kitchen, and it has a half-bath.

Before Nike proclaimed “Just do it” as a cocky exhortation to push past any obstacles and live out one’s inner greatness, it was a line my grandfather reserved for order takers, primarily at restaurants.

He enjoyed doing things carefully and well, but he was not a fussy man. Comfort and ease primarily informed his aesthetic. This was partly innate, no doubt, but partly a result of living most of his life in limited circumstances that required him to make do or do without.

I know I baffled him in many ways with my pickiness and perfectionism. He offered ice cream from his freezer to a crowd of grandchildren that included