New Essay in The North American Review: Taxonomy of Disorder

The Winter issue of the North American Review contains my latest essay, "Taxonomy of Disorder," about entropy. Here is the first paragraph:

A few years ago I bought a house, having previously rented apartments. I recall the naïveté with which, upon moving in, I crafted my to-do list. I must seal the dripping tub faucet, repair broken tiles on the porch, paint the kitchen door, re-mortar a section of foundation, replace storm windows, insulate exposed pipes in the crawl space. I vaguely imagined, at the end of my list and labors, an eternity of sitting back and enjoying my home, sipping Chardonnay on my re-tiled porch. Instead, I never completed my to-do list, for as rapidly as I cross tasks from the top of the list, I add new tasks to the bottom. My house was not so much broken as breaking. Every year I repaint a section of siding, and every year another section chips and fades. While patching cracked caulk in the kitchen last weekend, I noticed that a cabinet door beside the stove had pulled loose--next weekend's job. I suppose that someday I will have repaired every board, joint, rib, and surface in my house, but by then the first parts I fixed will be re-broken, and I must repeat the sad cycle to infinity. People talk of real estate as an investment, but all I do is sink cash into my investment--not a source but a destination of my income. I bleed equal proportions of money and time. The American dream is to spend every Saturday as a repairman?

You can purchase the issue from The North American Review's website.