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The Ugly American: A Darkness Made to Order

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You can see them in the dim corners of dingy gyms from one end of the country to the other. They play dominoes at rickety card tables. They wander back and forth, unsteadily, across the room, the heat—almost never offset by whirring ceiling fans—and the permanent stench of sweat, grit, and cracked or creaking leather a backdrop to nearly all they say or do. Now and then one of them will come up to you and offer advice when he sees you struggling with the heavybag or making a fool of yourself in front of a mirror. They teach arcane, archaic methods. Their eyes, unfocused, wander here or there; you can catch a glimpse of pain in them from time to time. Their hands are as gnarled as tree roots breaking through the earth. They stand in front of begrimed windows looking down on the faraway streets below. Who can tell you what their daydreams are? Read more: The Ugly American: A Darkness Made to Order

Tags: CTE Mike Webster Ruslan Provodnikov Timothy Bradley

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