I recently ran into an acquaintance of long standing whom I had not seen for many years. He had not aged well, but then he had never really grown-up well, either: looking, at least for the three decades he has been familiar to me, not unlike a child's line drawing of an ogre rather than a human of traditional physiognomy; a misshapen monster scrawled onto crinkly paper with blunt pencil then colored in with green and brown crayons, a few stray flakes of worn eraser representing his hair. I am no oil painting, as they say, but I resemble a freshly cleaned portrait of an eighteenth-century dandy by Gainsborough compared to my old friend.
I asked him how he was doing; receiving a indeterminately negative response in the form of a mumbled growl followed by a short sniff. Shrugging, I replied that, yeah, comme ci comme ca, I was also merely muddling through; things could certainly be better. It seemed the polite thing to say, despite being pretty sure in my own mind that I wasn't doing quite as badly as he obviously was. In fact, after encountering the poor wretch I was actually feeling pretty good, elated, even; and to be perfectly frank, I haven't felt this good in years.