What does it mean to have a personality that is slightly skewed? I am not speaking of a personality that throughout its ?earthly? tenure exhibits qualities of excess, be they psychosomatic, psychotic, delusional, or narcissistic; I am speaking of a personality that on occasion, given the depth of emotional entrapment, takes matters to the edge of predictable behavior and beyond, thus shedding light on the darkness lurking within. Although these qualities might, at times, apply to some or all of the main characters here, they primarily serve as the necessary, yet ?impure,? ingredients for the alchemist?s journey; as such, they point out the twists and turns of hints and allusions, the oddness of the plots, and, of course, the suggestion of larger, more intangible issues. In The Long and the Short of It, character impurities?and our rigorous attempt to sublimate and repress them?are subtle reminders of the cosmic hoop through which we jump to keep our world ordered and ?sane.?