Essay: The Maniac in the Balance

Something about the bottle, about the bright red cap snappy as a frontier bonnet, and the white cotton cloud showing through the translucent plastic, and the label, wide and snug, and the staunch lettering of EXTRA-STRENGTH, the whole shape of the thing comforting, like an old-fashioned milk bottle or a VW Beetle: it looks especially good in rows. Something about the rows, all the neat chunky boxes, one after the other, facing forward like a drill team on the shelf. Something about the shelf, third from the top, aisle B, toward the rear...

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