Why is it that bad news is not so bad and good news not so good and what with the bad news being good, aye that is what makes her well and me sick?

. . .

Instead he was thinking of wars and death at home. On the days of bad news there was the same clearing and sweetness in the air. Families drew closer. Azaleas could be seen. He remembered his father’s happiness when he spoke of Pearl Harbor—where he was when he heard it, how he had called the draft board the next morning. It was not hard to see him walking to work on that Monday. For once the houses, the trees, the very cracks in the sidewalk had not their usual minatory presence. The dreadful threat of weekday mornings was gone! War is better than Monday morning.

As his sweat dried, the fleece began to sting his skin.

“—fact number two. Jamie has the best mind I ever encountered. Better even than Sutter, my charming ex-husband. It’s really quite funny. His math teacher in New Hampshire was glad to get rid of him. ‘Get him out of here,’ he told me. ‘He wants to argue about John von Neumann’s Theory of Games—’”