How does he manage to walk upright, X asks me, to go about his normal business? What keeps him from crawling around his room and flopping on his back, muttering and babbling? What keeps him from going mental? It’s my stupidity, isn’t it? he asks. That’s what saves me again and again. My limited horizon, which keeps me focused on the nearest task, he says, like a chimp who wants his reward for solving a puzzle. And his charlatanism, he says, not to forget his charlatanism, which prevents him from diving too deeply into anything. In fact he’s relatively happy in his stupidity and charlatanism, isn’t he, he says. Some atavistic instinct in him must know that they’re what’s saving him, he says. After all, it could be worse, much worse, he could be rolling on the floor, going mental, with no barriers. After all, he still laughs at sitcoms and cheers on tennis players, he still feeds himself and meets his deadlines.


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