Whenever I get the urge to start over, to eliminate at least one substance from the list of substances that is already a page and a half long, and replace it with one that doesn’t make the usual lists because it is bitter and no one has bothered yet to give it a name, I must stifle it just as I must stifle every urge that comes my way before I become a slave to each of them in turn. Before I morph into the sort of person you read about in pamphlets handed out at church. With black and white art work on the cover that looks at first as if it were depicting your everyday, run-of-the-mill demon, but in fact, on closer examination, turns out to be a close-up of a locust’s face or the underside of someone’s shoe. A couple weeks pass and nothing changes for the better. In fact, everything seems to intensify – the sound of tires rolling past on the pavement outside, the spot in the middle of my back where light originates and attempts to break free of the skin cells that impede it. The pain is such that I begin to wonder if I am really producing light with my body at all. I might instead be absorbing it in an unnatural way and turning it into fuel, but not the sort that makes you happier or stronger or more likely to find cash on the sidewalk when you are walking, not the sort others would then inevitably envy me for. The people I know have this way of turning everything around backwards and making it sound as if I have propositioned them. At the theatre when the lights have just gone down and the previews are coming on and everyone is still talking about all the remarkable things that have happened to them in the past month. Sometimes I want to turn around and hurl solid objects at anyone who happens to be sitting behind me, but I almost never have anything handy that would do the trick. And nine times out of ten, no one is sitting back there to begin with. If I had half an imagination, if I were to plan things better, I’d swing by the grocery store first and buy a couple of pineapples, assuming they are in season. I’d find a way to smuggle them in with me, which means I’d have to get a bigger coat and that will be difficult as I have very little money at the moment. There’s always stealing. I know that the so-called difference between right and wrong, the demarcation at the heart of any truly civilized human soul, is a popular topic among those who believe they will never have to paint one room the same color as the other. They won’t have to navigate entirely by sight because their hands have blisters on them and so have been bandaged up. They are wrapped entirely in gauze. But the topic bores me the same way lemonade bores me or kissing someone I have known for more than a couple of years. It feels as if it is too demanding, as if it expects the rest of us to take it as seriously as we take ourselves, and that is not something in its favor. In fact, I doubt it can be done.