I really have no idea how many newspaper and magazine articles I’ve churned out. I’ve also ghostwritten speeches, created ads for public television and copy for a televised auction and, contributing to the world’s ills, I conceived and wrote three blow-in subscription cards, those annoying slips of paper that fall out of magazines when you start flipping through the pages; they were for Mountain Bike magazine and earned me the distinction of being the copywriter who came up with the best-selling card at the time as well as the one that ended up being the worst-performing ever — to this day. I’ve written an operation manual for a bike-building business, two wedding services (both still married), and entries for Encyclopedia Britannica. I got drunk once on Little Kings and, for a class in Advanced Humanities Studies, in five hours wrote a paper entitled “Homeric Lachrymation” that got an A+. The smartest guy in the class, Robert Cooney, who had gotten just an A, read my paper afterward and told me it was bullshit, and I agreed with him wholeheartedly. My professor was later convicted of killing his wife. • Out of all that, these are some of my favorite nonfiction stories.