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Dithering and blithering voices, all of them good and decent and progressive and well-read and Deeply Concerned. He loathed them all

By Garrison Keillor   February 1998

John Tollefson awoke to the clanging of the clock downstairs, and rose from bed, took out the plastic mouthpiece he wore to keep from grinding his teeth, did his deep knee bends and pushups, and touched his toes.

He stood over the toilet bowl and peed and half expected the water in the bowl to turn bright red with blood. He’d been expecting catastrophic illness since he turned 40. He’d go off to some specialist in the city and sit in a beige waiting room, thinking about his crumbling innards, pleading with God for mercy, perusing tattered issues of People,…

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