Putting my life together after Katrina.

Notes from different corners of the world.
Sept. 30 2005 6:20 AM

My Year of Hurricanes

Starting over with $2,000 from FEMA.

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He went on: "I had a dream the other night that God was flushing the toilet."

" … I'm sorry?"


"I told my wife, 'God's flushing the toilet!' Know what I mean? Those people who stayed behind and looted?"

"Well," I said, "I don't think they stayed behind to loot per se …"

"Still, you know, that whole damn city—"

And I began to say that God's toilet had swallowed a lot more than looters, that any number of nice, white, middle-class—blah blah blah—but I let it go. "Let us consider that the soul of man is immortal," I said tipsily, "able to endure every sort of good and every sort of evil. Thus may we live happily with one another and with God."

This was Cheever's favorite Thanksgiving toast, a paraphrase of Jowett's translation of Plato. It was something we all could agree on, I thought, along with the fact that the Sooners suck this year.

Blake Bailey is the author of Cheever: A Life.