On a cold night last week, the stream of commuters cutting through the lobby of the Board of Trade Building suddenly divided. In our path was a young man stretched out on his back, eyes shut. There was no blood, no sign of violence, but he wasn’t moving. My reactions ranged from pity to paranoia: was he dead, perhaps from a heart attack, or was this a plot to see how many people would stop to help him? Having just seen someone rushing to the security guard’s station, I presumed the situation was under control and continued on my way.

Next morning, still bothered by the incident, I asked the security guard on duty what had happened. He didn’t know. That evening on the way home I asked another security guard. He said that when the guards went to assure the man that an ambulance was on its way, he jumped to his feet and ran out of the building. The guard opined that alcohol must have figured in the story. I was relieved. Better drunk than dead any day.