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could now honestly discount his hallucinations, which meant he recognized them as such. But, like Gloria, he now had a they. It seemed to me a pyrrhic victory. Fat’s life struck me as a litany of exactly that, as for example the way he had rescued Gloria.

The Exegesis Fat labored on month after month struck me as a pyrrhic victory if there ever was one—in this case an attempt by a beleaguered mind, to make sense out of the inscrutable. Perhaps this is the key to mental illness: incomprehensible events occur—your life becomes a bin for hoax-like fluctuations of what used to be reality, and not only that—as if that weren’t bad enough—you, like Fat, ponder forever over these fluctuations in an effort to order them into coherency. When in fact the only sense they make is the sense you impose on them, out of the necessity to restore everything into shapes and processes you can recognize.

The first thing to depart in mental illness is the familiar


Notes