I was not cheered, a few years ago, to read about psychological studies suggesting that most people inevitably return to a certain emotional baseline after circumstantial highs and lows. You’d like to think that nearly getting killed would be a major, permanently life-altering experience, but in truth it was less painful, and occasioned less serious reflection, than certain breakups I’ve gone through. If anything, it only reinforced the illusion that in the story of my life only supporting characters would die, while I, its protagonist and first-person narrator, would survive. I’ve demonstrated an impressive resilience in the face of valuable life lessons, and the main thing I seem to have learned from this one is that I am capable of learning nothing from almost any experience.

--Tim Kreider, Reprieve

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