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The Little Man


The lights in Cambridge went out last night. Nobody knows exactly how, and nobody knows exactly why, but everybody knows they went out at 6:22, because that's what the electric clocks all showed when they went on again. Maybe it was an accident, but if it wasn't, then whoever did it made a big mistake.

This time they were wrong-dead wrong. They thought that by turning out all the lights they would create panic, chaos, widespread hysteria. Instead they played right into the hands of the people. Mild-mannered, respectable citizens were able to let themselves go for the first time since V-J day, to go out and do the things they always wanted to do. The little man was able to park his car in front of a meter and keep his pennies; he was able to punch that windbag who lives upstairs right in the mush without fear of retribution; he was able to speak his unclean mind, and look smugly at his luminous watch dial. The little man was able to let off steam, to show haughty contempt for the forces of stratified authority. Tomorrow, the little man will be able to go back to his job in the credit department, to his filing cabinets, to his tedious task of screwing nuts on bolts and feel good about it.

For the little guy proved to himself last night that he was somebody to be reckoned with. And so long as he thinks that, then everything is bound to be all right.

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