In the seventies, over a period of five years, I killed approximately two thousand rats. That’s four hundred rats per year, a little over a rat a day. I was a graduate student in cell physiology, studying the effects of lead poisoning on liver and kidney biochemistry. At the time, I said, “I have to kill rats to get a Ph.D.”
I am always delighted to read something really intelligent. But reading must be considered an experience perpendicular to practical life and not anything useful for physical existence. My relations with other people have often resulted in shocks for which art and intellect are no preparation.
There he was, spinning in his grimy apron, no more mysterious than a toasted hard roll. He was certainly the center of everything that happened in the Victory, but it was a strangely unnoticed center.
I should be following the election returns. Instead, I’m sitting in a darkened auditorium, watching the Whirling Dervishes.
For those of you who have never had a panic attack, the words may have no special emotional tug. For those of you who have had one, they will bring forth memories of a mind frozen in exquisite agitation, the whole room, the whole world enmeshed in a horror movie that refuses to go away.
Each child wounds you in a different way.
As Isaac Thomas walked jauntily down the bright, wide sidewalk at midday, he felt the weight of the book against his thigh, his wrist, the palm of his hand. It was a fat book, a big book, as red as a fire engine. It filled his hand and gave added emphasis to his step, and now and then he let it swing with the rhythm of his downtown strut.
Dave loved my older sister at a time when a lot of boys loved her. During parties at our house, the boys would get a little drunk and sometimes fight. I would watch from the stairs that overlooked the front room.