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It’s that time of year again. Last week the major occupation here was the completion of various grant applications and proposals, all with impending deadlines. This is always an operation flirting with the razor’s edge of hubris: “Oh yes, I deserve your money! Here’s why.” Etc. Add on the sheer terror of spending your days writing pages and pages about yourself and how great you are, and you’re now staring into the terrifying abyss of self-worth…

Plus there’s the hopelessness of knowing that actually, you have a snowball’s chance in Hades, and perhaps your time would be more productively spent doing, well, almost anything else. I’ve found the only way to make it to the deadline for these things is to force a Lottery-like attitude: “You can’t win if you don’t play…” Or, more aptly put in recent NY State Lotto advertisements, “Hey, you never know.”

The Futility came home for me on Friday when I walked into a massive midtown edifice to hand in an application, whereupon the security guard, before I could even utter the name of the well-known and celebrated Foundation housed in said massive midtown edifice, smirked, rolled his eyes, and directed me to the building’s “Messenger Center”. Oh, you mean I’m not the only person to come in here today, one day before the deadline? In fact, I’m sure I was the 326th, by the reaction of the guard.

Ah, New York. Not only is it the only place where if you have an idea to do something fun or interesting, 25,000 other people have had it before you (and got there earlier and are more prepared and have more money to spend), but also everyone in town is applying for the same grants you are. Ya gotta love this burg. No other city provides that disturbing whispering in your ear, “What, you think your’e special?”

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