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Day 152: Panic Becomes Me

I woke up to a volley of concerned emails. A lot of you think I’ve developed an agoraphobic panic disorder whereby my body freaks out if I try to go outside. But I read that this usually results from panic attacks; you don’t want to go outside lest someone see you suffer an attack. I’m basically extremely, um, reluctant to go outside because death is in the air. I undertook all this preparation so I could stay home.

WHAT LIES OUTSIDE: THE EAST VILLAGEAnyway, I just tried to step out. I get sickly near the door. Evidently it’s from resisting an overpowering adrenaline rush as my mind tells me to run away from danger. Fighting to go outside is maddening, like forcing yourself to walk into a fusillade of bullets. That can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder. The most famous American foot soldiers of the first war with Iraq are Timothy McVeigh and John Allen Muhammad. Whatever happened to them in the Middle East, each brought the war home—in mass murder.

I’m just trying to get to the corner. Whatever my little problem is called, it’s the kind of thing that can turn syndromal. You’re right: I need to take a hike before I lose my mind.

Walking is what makes New Yorkers so healthy. A newborn resident can expect to live nine months longer than other American babies, and the difference grows annually. Since 1990, the average American lifespan has gained 2 ½ years, while that of New Yorkers has grown by more than 6.

Read all about it: We walk more, move faster. I’ll never forget the man in black I saw charging through a crowded Times Square sidewalk last year, roaring at tourists: “Outa my way, this ain’t *&@%$^ Kansas!” He was indeed thinner, cut through those people like a knife.

I need sunshine to cleanse the mold that afflicts my brain when I stay inside too long. Tomorrow I’ll get out, sheathed in plastic like a walking condom. Whatever it takes.

The White House Flu Prescription

For now, I’ll question the president’s wisdom in having waited so long to speak out and then delivering a kind of verbal coup d’état. The military is going to start assessing the nation’s needs on a regional basis. For now, troops will start checking ID on streets and in malls throughout the Southwest.

“Americans want to know that their nation’s resources are being used to help their fellow citizens, and it’s our job to show them this is true,” said the president. Washington will prove it by tripling the budget at RAISE and rounding up illegal immigrants.

How will that put food in our stores and water in our fire hoses? How will it reopen cemeteries? Clean up and resupply hospitals?

For more than 130 years the military was barred from conducting civil police activity. Now 20,000 soldiers are trained and equipped to do anything they’re told to do—on U.S. soil. I’m sure glad I live in the Northeast.

What followed was laughable relief as the president told anecdotal stories about resolute survivors and steadfast public servants saving the day in what must have been the 26 states with the most electoral votes. “Meanwhile, on the Colorado prairie, a paraplegic schoolteacher named Patience Pureheart crawls daily to her church to….”


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