Slowly, quietly, over the past few years, Jon Mooallem has grown into one of the warmest, funniest, most compelling and profound longform feature writers we have. This stunning piece for the Times, on disability, death, and ways to exist through suffering, hits all of his strongest notes – this is a writer at the top of his game.
He saw a good way to look at his situation and committed to faking that perspective, hoping that his genuine self might eventually catch up. Miller refused, for example, to let himself believe that his life was extra difficult now, only uniquely difficult, as all lives are. He resolved to think of his suffering as simply a “variation on a theme we all deal with — to be human is really hard,” he says. His life had never felt easy, even as a privileged, able-bodied suburban boy with two adoring parents, but he never felt entitled to any angst; he saw unhappiness as an illegitimate intrusion into the carefree reality he was supposed to inhabit. And don’t we all do that, he realized. Don’t we all treat suffering as a disruption to existence, instead of an inevitable part of it?