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Dear Matthew:

Why do the so-called masses of men lead lives of quiet desperation? What led Thoreau to make such an observation?

-- D, Kensington

Pick one: (A) Because from his porch at Walden Pond, it seemed that everybody else pursued irrelevant goals, having lost the ability to live simply, day to day, in touch with nature -- though, in the end, Thoreau opted for quiet desperation too; or (B) no Viagra in Massachusetts in 1854. (Yeah, I know. You were counting on "Straight from the Hip" to be a refuge from Viagra jokes. Well, wise up. Nothing is beneath us. Nothing.)

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