December 17, 2007 11:50 PM

My loan statement telling me I owed $368 was the most alarming thing to happen to me in a long time. I suddenly realized that above my idyllic life looms a sinister cloud. There is no compromise with money, because it has no face or body or empathy. You cannot ask forgiveness of it, or a favor, or find consolation in it. When you have enough of it you are merely at a balance, and are allowed the respect to live and think as a human being, when such respect, in a fair and just world, should not have to be earned. When you are short of or are in dire need of it, the only thing you can do is submit a portion of your humanity in a false act of redemption. I don't pretend to understand the full force of this idea; I am fortunate in that I am able to resolve my problems, and have people who I can turn to. In any case, I feel terrible right now, and I applied for food stamps.