Edgar Allan Poe wrote a short story called “The Imp of the Perverse,” in which the narrator identifies his urge to act recklessly as caused by a creature he calls Imp. This is a radical and primitive impulse within all humans. The Imp is the little fellow who advises you to do the wrong thing, sometimes mischievously, sometimes just for the sheer hell of it.

The Imp is related to your inner pigdog, but while the pig- dog holds you back in laziness, the Imp urges you on toward mischief. Remember the time you left muddy handprints all over our freshly painted house? That was the Imp.

The Imp is a little like the devil on your shoulder, but it’s more chaotic than pure evil. It’s kind of like a delinquent monkey. Sometimes it grooms out the nits, sometimes it flings poop without caring who gets hit.

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