I write to you from the hospital, where I’m busy being temporarily disabled. My back decided it had had enough of holding up my body, so it went on strike, in very dramatic fashion — an ambulance had to be summoned in the night, to rescue me from the place I’d become trapped after attempting to walk around my house and nearly fainting from pain. The many astute observers in the emergency room astutely observed that I was more or less unable to sit, stand, or walk without screaming. (Cue horror film soundtrack.) So they sent me upstairs to the regular part of the hospital to lie down quietly, though after two days in the hands of the nurses and physical therapists I can in fact walk, using a walker, without screaming but not without sweating and breathing heavily. Then I have to go back to bed for a while, lie on an ice pack, and think about nothing. I’ve become very good at thinking about nothing. I could probably choose to regard this entire incident as a sign that I needed to think about nothing a whole lot more.

You might assume that three days of lying flat on my back would give me plenty of time to write something more interesting than “My back got hurt and I have spent three days lying flat on my back,” but you would be wrong. That is exactly as interesting, at this stage of my temporary disability, as I am prepared to be. Don’t worry, though, I’m sure that soon enough I’ll forget how to think about nothing instead of something.

among the pills they give me a glacial erratic