All I do with this column, day after day after effing day, is lay it out there as honestly and openly as I can. Knowing full well that the p.c. brownshirts will be after me with baseball bats for a good portion of whatever I post. It goes in waves and cycles. Sometimes I just shrug it off and other times it gets to me. Lately I walk around in fear. I’m so terrified of the next trauma that I’m almost wimpishly polite with everyone. If I can order a cappucino at Le Pain Quotidien and pay for it without somebody looking at me cross-eyed I almost weep with relief. If I have to step around a dog I say “excuse me.” I don’t step on cracks in sidewalks or on rocks of any kind because they could be land mines or camoflauged anacondas or boa constrictors.

I’m getting really sick of arguing all the time with guys like Kris Tapley. (Tapley is the new David Poland these days — surly, dismissive, knows it all.) Last night two friends of that gay guy who lives upstairs and loudly giggles and cackles every morning like clockwork around 7 am called to complain that I had hurt his feelings. “But I didn’t identify or even vaguely allude to who he is,” I replied. “I just wrote that the giggling was incessant and that it was driving me nuts.” That awful, awful episode when I reported about that kid with some kind of debilitating condition who couldn’t control himself in that Manchester, Connecticut theatre…it took me two or three days to recover from that one. If I had it to do over again I wouldn’t have used the word “platypus” in the comment thread but otherwise I was simply stating that theatres are churches and movie-watching is like Holy Communion and that everyone needs to respect that. The mob hate…Jesus!

I’m not a catcher in the rye as much as a guy walking through a large municipal park in New Jersey or Connecticut in late October and kicking up piles of raked leaves. (If there’s one thing I miss in my life it’s the smell of burning leaves in a suburban town just after dusk.) Except every other leaf-pile has some kind of pushback or outrage or hate-bomb factor waiting to ignite. It’s a miserable thing to deal with on an 18/7 basis, or at least it feels that way at times.

“I used to consider consequences when I was writing reviews and being careful to shield or camoflauge my true feelings in ‘film critic-ese‘ or deciding whether or not to include a dicey or inflammatory quote in an interview piece, and it led only to middling results,” I wrote in a 3.3.13 piece called “Directions and Consequences.” “I did the same damn thing when I was trying to write scripts in the mid to late ’80s — I allowed stoppers into my writing all the time. Only when I stopped being scared of this or that consequence did my writing start to get interesting.”