What Social Security means to me is that if I continue working 
until the age of 70, my monthly payment would be about 
$2,090. At some point we all have the moment, for me 
it was this one, of standing there knowing the world 
will be over. “You take your movie 
to a new town, said the street on fire,” as they say. A feeling 
of security doesn’t rise, seeing my benefits 
estimated. I picture us there before the fish tank. “Speak up, 
the fish can’t hear you,” you say. It’s never 
convincing, is it? Telling them they’re dust and to dust 
they shall return? I was talking to Paul’s wife 
the other day, and she was saying he’s going to go another year, 
and then decide if he’s going to retire. She’s 
not sure he will. “It’s all he’s ever done,” she says. “And 
I’ve no idea what he’d do all day with me going 
to work.” Some actual things creep in, like Germans 
in the 1930s. Formulas and stratagems. And suddenly 
you’re 70. Your father’s a tourist now, in some other place. 
What are the odds, do you think? “Your name is 
no accident.” The advertisement reads. It goes on: “Numbers 
govern much, if not most of what happens in your life, 
relationships, and finances.” So there you are. From 
K. calling to say the divorce is coming through, 
to Brendan’s brother drowning 25 years ago . . . “Life, our / 
Life anyway, is between,” John Ashbery says 
in “Daffy Duck in Hollywood,” the in-betweenest of all places. 
Moments seem to always be doing that, though 
the mimetic fashions change, and we come in and out 
of relevance to the advancing narrative, even 
as it’s ours, we think, and imagine ourselves at the award show, 
thanking the little people. We’re thanking ourselves, 
then. It reminds me of a show I was listening to a few weeks back, 
about the Royal Shakespeare Company, how the question 
was about realism, how we think now that we’re in a more 
realistic age, but how all ages maybe think that 
about themselves, it’s not that acting changes, but that the 
communally agreed upon reality changes. Well, 
there’s something, I guess, in a time of displacement, 
finding myself somewhere I was unaware of.