Since everybody seems really interested in addiction, I wanted to mention that old bromide: the first step to kicking the addiction is recognizing that you have a problem. Hi, I’m such-and-such, and I’m an alcoholic. Your sin won’t be forgiven until you confess and repent.

Big yawn.

It only “works” in the sense that being addicted to endless masochistic rituals around the addiction “works.”

If people want to go to church, why don’t they just go and do it? Why turn everything – medicine, education, workplace – into a pseudo-church?


I was that proverbial kid who always stood alone in a corner during recess and it still hurts 35 years later, so when Klara started kindergarten I was worried if she would make friends.

“What do you do at recess?” I asked in a trembling voice on the third day of class.

“We play rau-raus [kittens],” she said. “One kid is a pink rau-rau, another is a striped rau-rau, the third is a fluffy rau-rau, etc.”

“And you? What kind of rau-rau are you?”

“Oh, Mommy, I’m not a rau-rau.”

At this point, of course, my heart sank. My poor kid! She didn’t get chosen to be a rau-rau! Every one of my childhood traumas inflamed at once.

“Then what are you, honey?” I asked in a small voice.

“I’m the owner of rau-raus. I choose who will be my rau-rau today and tell them what to do.”

“And they agree to it?” I asked, stunned.

“Of course. Everybody wants to be my rau-rau.”

“And who invented this game?”

“I did, of course.”

I was the kind of kid who dreamt of being picked to be somebody’s rau-rau just once (and of course nobody ever picked me). It didn’t even occur to me to dream of being the lucky bastard who gets to pick rau-raus.

My whole childhood I wondered where the girls who get to pick who’s a rau-rau come from.

Now I know.