An Unfair Advantage


“An Unfair Advantage” by Elizabeth Howell Ingham from Century magazine, 1908



“It is hard to be brave,” said Piglet, sniffing slightly, “when you’re only a Very Small Animal.”

— Winnie-the-Pooh

Leningrad? Beirut? Sarajevo?

“The caves were plainly becoming a necessity, as some persons had been killed on the street by fragments of shells. The room that I had so lately slept in had been struck by a fragment of a shell during the first night, and a large hole made in the ceiling. I shall never forget my extreme fear during the night, and my utter hopelessness of ever seeing the morning light. Terror stricken, we remained crouched in the cave, while shell after shell followed each other in quick succession. I endeavored by constant prayer to prepare myself for the sudden death I was almost certain awaited me. My heart stood still as we would hear the reports from the guns, and the rushing and fearful sound of the shell as it came toward us. As it neared, the noise became more deafening; the air was full of the rushing sound; pains darted through my temples; my ears were full of the confusing noise; and, as it exploded, the report flashed through my head like an electric shock, leaving me in a quiet state of terror the most painful I can imagine–cowering in a corner, holding my child to my heart–the only feeling of life being the choking throbs of my heart, that rendered me almost breathless.”

— Mary Webster Loughborough in My Cave Life in Vicksburg (1864)

About the Ending

“You’ve got to go on and off with a bang. From the audience’s point of view, though, the ending is more important than the beginning. You’ve got to know where the hell you’re going. If you mess up the ending, it’s over. You’ve just signed your death warrant.”

— Les Paul, in Guitar Player Magazine, August 1984