ONE SMALL BLOW AGAINST ENCROACHING TOTALITARIANISM

“I love us, in our madness, but we all need our own private unraveling and recentering daily if we’re going to survive this phase of America.” —
Harmony Holiday

Total Loss: A Column About Inventorying Other People’s Tragedies

Stef Willen works for the leading West Coast natural disaster company. Her thorough inventory of everything in a burned-down home or business helps owners receive fair settlements from their insurance company. She planned on doing it for a couple of months. Then a couple more. Then maybe long enough to write a book about it. Now it’s what she does, and she gets a decent paycheck if someone’s charred dwelling is at least 3,500 square feet. If they are a clinical hoarder, she doesn’t have to work for the rest of the month.