Lately I’ve been getting dirty looks from people. Not just young people, though they are the worst offenders. Middle-aged people also shoot me dirty looks, and old people assume expressions of mild disgust. I wonder if it’s because I am a middle-aged white man. We’re disliked by many people these days, including members of our own demographic. I understand. Not really. But I understand how white middle-aged men, who have always had it easy, have become objects of disgust, derision, hatred. When I pass middle-aged white men, I myself feel like hitting them. I never actually hit them, I don’t want to be charged with assault, but the desire is very strong. It takes everything to keep from lashing out. Even when I look at myself in the mirror, which I seldom do, an impulse to strike the image overtakes me. I haven’t actually punched a mirror, but I’ve come close. We’ve fucked things up. Not me, per se, I am powerless and poor. I have no wife, no family, no profession, no property. No one can blame me for anything except failing to meet expectations, and in the end I alone bear that burden. Still, absolving myself of genetic guilt may strike some as insensitive and evidence of a predisposition to profound self-regard and denial. These are words, and as I read them I’m reminded of how fatuous my efforts have been, and continue to be, to express myself, and give meaning to an existence stripped of all significance. When I go out for a stroll in my most recent neighbourhood, and am confronted by the uncharitable and wolfish expressions of a pack of teenaged girls, my first impulse is to flee in horror. But one has to meet one’s fears head on in this life or suffer the fate of a yellow coward. I respond, with words I know to be powerful, in kind, to the seething pack. Offense quickly registered, outcries resound through the streets. Now I must flee. I run well for my age. Arms at right angles, shoulders square, I run to the nearby park and hide among a stand of poplars. A last quarter moon illumines the sky. Fascinating. I think of the moon, hanging there, rocky and immense, and imagine it slowly falling toward us, slowly falling toward Earth.