Brick scavengers, New York City, March 2005

Harry Breitman

Oct 22 1950

There was a woman on the bus coughing. She had the kind of cough a person has as an aftermath or as an ending to a cold. It sounded good, that clearing of her chest.

A cold is the culmination of some anxiety which is broken up, and permits the person to go on, by the cough.

So my much vaunted lack of colds may be a bad sign. I have armored myself against anxiety so that I don't even get a cold. I often feel that instead of getting better (feeling better) I'm actually getting worse. What I call feeling better, which is to say, not feeling bad, may be nothing but a lack of feeling. Where there is no feeling how can I feel bad?

What I call "feeling better" may simply be "not feeling badly." And the important thing about "not feeling badly" is the "not feeling." There's a vast difference between "not feeling bad" and "feeling good."

I know that I envy June when she feels bad; I feel that she is better off than me who has NO feeling.