They call me ‘the Eel’ on account of how I am such a slippery customer. I have a certain reputation in these parts, you might say. ‘There goes the Eel,’ they say. ‘There he goes. What a guy. Watch him glide by…’ They don’t really call me the Eel of course. Why would they? They don’t care about me one way or another so why would they bother calling me anything? The truth is that I am painfully awkward in myself, always so painfully awkward. I make a tentative movement in the direction of establishing an identity but I never follow through with it. Nothing works, nothing feels right. Nothing is right. Maybe I am a bit of an eel, after all. A personality eel! ‘How do you do? Pleased to meet you, pleased to meet you, they call me ‘the Eel’ on account of how, on account of how…’ Days of sorrow, days of joy, days of sorrow, days of joy. Only mainly sorrow, of course. Mainly sorrow. Tentative movements in the direction of establishing an identity defined my activity in this world and yet of themselves these activities had no value. Such movements only have value in as much as they lead to actual identity, whatever kind of identity that might be, but that never happens for me. I exist within a miasma of failed and failing identities, floundering about, saying first one thing and then the other, but none of them add up. I am trying to build a mighty tower and yet my endeavours falter and fail almost as soon I initiate them and I am left standing there amidst a rubble of disorganised bricks. Is it any wonder that success in life eludes me? I start off in a certain direction but it never leads anywhere and that’s my problem in a nut shell. When other people hit upon a direction they stick at it and as a result often enough they get somewhere, but not I. More and more I find myself looking back to the early days of my childhood and wondering if perhaps the key to my dysfunctionality lies there. Isn’t that what psychotherapists always say? I’m sitting here and I’m choking – would you believe that? It’s true – I’m choking like a fool. I was eating a digestive biscuit and not paying attention and a bit of it went down the wrong way. I was coughing so much that I spilled a cup of hot tea all over myself. That’s what you get for not paying attention. I was too busy staring at the TV. Pathetic, isn’t it? What wouldn’t you give just for one honest human being, huh? Sometimes though, despite all the odds, a bit of the truth leaks through. It always amazes me when that happens. On the very rare occasion when that happens, I should say. It takes us totally by surprise – it’s actually baffling. Your brain can’t process it. Something true got through? What’s going on here? The prison we are all in is brutally effective and very few of us will ever see it for what it is. This awareness is all but crushing – it’s an awful awareness, a terrifying awareness, an absolutely soul-destroying awareness. There is one thing though, one thing that has only just occurred to me. It only just came to me just now. What came to me just now is that we’re actually designed to escape, despite all appearances to the opposite. In our innermost nature, we are perfectly designed to escape this grotesque prison of ours. If only we knew it.