Easter. He is either Risen, or the blood-soaked fraud is afoot. Whatever the supernatural origins of this Christ Thing, before a century is up we’ve got our stupid hands all over it and are feverishly trying for our own reasons to turn a vase into an ash tray. The Council of Nicea and other foamingly inept convocations turn a simple, hopeful happenstance and its telling into a Byzantine web of idiocy and murder, turn hello into goodbye, gold into lead. It’s what we’re best at. Possibly the Maker sent his reluctant Emissary to the wrong corner of Dogpatch. I decline to join a handful of friends who are gathering today with drinks and chatter. I’m the hideous hideous bore you will gather your breath and courage to cross the room and try to engage. I see it at every gathering and with greater clarity than the time before. You intuit correctly that I have much to say but won’t say it. My pals, old and new, greet me with with such sportsmanlike cheer, approach me so bravely and with such charming, robust intentions, I owe it to them not to show up at these things, owe it to them not to pain them with my silences and stammering and clutched idiot bottle of cola. I used to be liked and reveled in it, but tried too hard. I don’t like to think I’m trying for the other thing now, but I wonder. What I want is time, lots of it. Time to stare at a wall. If I must speak, let me speak. If I could just say what I wanted I would be cast off, am anyway being cast off. To my relief. But I thank you all for trying. You’re my betters by a mile. I’ll be papery and trembling and infirm very soon, and will regret this self-ostracizing period very very bitterly, with tearful regret. But for now I’ll put off the regret as I have everything else.