The New Year isn’t even three weeks old, and already a lot of people are fed up with it.

Let’s face it. We are an anxious, exhausted people, made worse by the fact that there is a war lingering on and a winter that isn’t quite a winter, and so you can’t quite feel good about the fact that you may need to mow your lawn soon and you haven’t had to shovel even one flake of snow yet. Worse, it seems that just in my little beleaguered circle of friends, people are suffering from pneumonia, meningitis, cysts, sudden irreversible deafness in one ear, torn ACLs, car breakdowns on highways, computer screens shattering when books fall on them, family arguments, missed appointments, clinical depression, and writing rejections.

And, as if all that isn’t bad enough, now objects are starting to go missing.

Just this week I have spent hours looking for the following items: the receipt to the replacement phone I bought that will not work out and must be returned to the store; the password to Stephanie’s bursar account so I could find out why the hell they are still sending me a bill which they know and I know that I already paid in full, otherwise they wouldn’t have let her register for classes; the headphones to my iPod…and of course, my keys.

Then today I go see my friend Deb, and wouldn’t you know that she’s as anxious and exhausted as the rest of us–really maybe worse. She has lost all her estrogen patches. FIFTY DOLLARS WORTH OF ESTROGEN PATCHES, the only things, she says, that stand between her and even the possibility of sanity since her hysterectomy three years ago.

She has spent days and days looking for these things, dreading and postponing that moment when she has to try to get her doctor on the phone and in ten seconds explain that she needs a new prescription–no, she hasn’t used them all in a riot of estrogen frenzy; no, she’s not selling them to perimenopausal women on the street; yes, she’s looked everywhere; please, please, please, for God’s sake, just write me out a new prescription so I can go and spend fifty more hard-earned dollars for another box.

“And then,” she said calmly, “I realized what had happened to them. My dog Miles ate them.”

We looked at each other.

“He ate them?” I said.

“All of them.”

“And he lived?”


“But how do you know he really ate them?”

“Well, how do you think I know? He’s wearing pearls and high heels and barking about how he wants to redecorate the place. How else would I know?”