Fiction | March 02, 2021

I am someone who tries to live his life diplomatically. It’s a style I first adopted on the playgrounds and schoolyards of Ammendale, Maryland, and over the years I guess you could say it blossomed into a principle. In high school, I chose Model United Nations over debate and drama—the country, I felt, having exceeded its quota of talking heads and thespians—and I wrote my senior essay on the career of Washington Irving, who served as US ambassador to Spain in the 1840s. I backed my friends. I settled disputes. At eighteen, when my parents divorced, I did my best to negotiate a comprehensive deal regarding major holidays. This kind of thing isn’t easy, of course, which is why I’m not a diplomat, just a novice historian. And yet I believe in the basic credo: there can be honor in compromise.

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