I sat near the back with a program folded in my joined hands as composer Jerry Goldsmith took his position before the symphony to a polite flutter of applause.I wore the same dress I’d wear months later to my high school graduation.Ruffles on the cap sleeves, tiny cloth-covered buttons, narrow all the way down.An idea of adulthood I’d squeezed into too soon. Most likely I hadn’t told my friends I was here, but I would be clearing a special place amongst all the rock-concert ticket stubs in my scrapbook to add this one.

Humans like to say things like ‘the human spirit’. They like to think it means something, that it’s what’s special about them. That it separates them from other animals. There’s that new movie out, 127 Hours, starring James Fracno, about that guy, Aron Ralston, who got his arm caught under a big rock when he fell into a canyon, and he had to cut the arm off with a really dull multi-purpose knife. The movie’s about, like, ‘the human spirit’.