The Confessions of Bob Greene

How far can a man fall? Imagine very far—and then, in the case of this man, keep going.

  1. All you've got is your name, said the lost man with the lost voice. Things for which his name had once stood would never entirely be the same things again--that is what he told himself, that is what he wished not to believe while believing it nonetheless. The weight of penance hung about him, and he wore it calmly, if uncomfortably. He was still the same man he had been before he fell--he looked the same, his feelings and beliefs were still his own, he possessed the same talents--but now he was a fallen man and he had never fallen before and everything was different because he fell. He had, in his triumphant career, frequently observed fallen men, had often written stories about them, stories full of curiosity and compassion. Compassion, by the way, had been one of the many things for which his name had stood. Once, he found a line of poetry to include in just such a story. He has not forgotten that line of poetry. "In my moments of hope, I keep returning to that quote from Yeats," he ...

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Originally published in Esquire, April 2003

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