The Greatest Opening Sentence in the History of Writing

All praise to Jennifer Steinhauer of the New York Times for this incredible literary achievement. In her article that is sadly behind a paywall, she describes the challenges of US veterans who use emotional support dogs as part of their daily lives.

The story is tragic, but the composition of the sentence is magnificent.

As would I, Mr. Michel.

The closing of the article is pretty good, too. Steinhauer quotes a flight attendant about the challenges of regulating service animals on board airline flights:

“We want clear guidance from the Department of Transportation,” she added. “We need to be matching species that are able to fulfill those service functions and that’s not a peacock and that’s probably not a sloth.”

-via Aaron Starmer
"One warm spring night in 2011, a young man named Travis Hughes stood on the back deck of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity house at Marshall University, in West Virginia, and was struck by what seemed to him—under the influence of powerful inebriants, not least among them the clear ether of youth itself—to be an excellent idea: he would shove a bottle rocket up his ass and blast it into the sweet night air."
And the rest of the paragraph:
"And perhaps it was an excellent idea. What was not an excellent idea, however, was to misjudge the relative tightness of a 20-year-old sphincter and the propulsive reliability of a 20-cent bottle rocket. What followed ignition was not the bright report of a successful blastoff, but the muffled thud of fire in the hole."
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