Freedom, I say to myself. Freedom. I am free, to do whatever I want. To eat chocolate until I'm sick. To set up a God made of Popsicle sticks and call her Sheila and worship her. To watch terrible movies about serial killers all day. To buy a gun. To shoot a gun. To set off fireworks. To throw those little popper things down on the ground. Those are fun. I used to sneak up behind my mom and throw those things down behind her to scare her. She used to love that, my mom. After dad left I bought a bunch of those with my allowance so I could have plenty to scare mom with. God, we had some good times, mom and me with those poppers. We'd go around the neighborhood behind the old ladies out for a stroll and throw the poppers down, run away, and laugh. Pop! Pop! Oh my! they would say. Oh my! Pop! Pop!


I live in nature. Even when I'm living in the city, I live in nature. I listen to the birds twitter, and I say, Birds, you have such lovely singing voices. I say thank you to the sun for shining so bright. I say hello to the flowers. I say, Way to go, ocean, for gently lapping against our shores, even though there is trash on the beach. I say, Clouds, you're so fluffy and light, I just want to eat you all up. Let's go, my girlfriend says. Stop talking to the clouds. No, I won't stop, I say. I won't ever stop.


I hold onto good things. Things that make me happy. Like old photographs. There's one of my grandma and me at Thanksgiving. I'm young and blond. She's old and gray. But we look happy together. It was taken after she yelled at my dad and said he didn't love her, and he said he did, and she said why didn't he show it, he never showed it, that meant he didn't love her, and he said, no damnit he did, and mom said, Smile!

Shake It

I raise my hands up for my dance moves. The music's on, the mood is right, and my boss is in Italy so she won't mind if I get up on my desk and shake my ass. My colleagues, they don't mind either, do you, Donna? Do you mind if I move my ass suggestively while I stand on my desk? Didn't think so, Donna. C'mon, folks, gather around, I'll put on a show for you.

Carrot Juice

I wake up and do my calisthenics and drink carrot juice. Carrot juice is very important. It settles my stomach so I can go through my day and inspire change in the world. What kind of change? Mostly just smiling wildly at random people to brighten their day. Hey there, how's it going? You have a great day! So much change, all because of one glass of carrot juice.


I flex my muscles. When I'm walking down the street, when I'm sitting in meetings, when I'm on the subway, so much flexing going on. I need to keep things tight, you know what I'm saying?


I strive to be a better person. To listen, to take action, to be understanding, to be kind, to be strong, to stand up for justice, to change the world, to smell nicer, to floss, to have fresh, minty kissable breath—all the really important things.


I grow wiser every day. I've always wanted to be wise. When I was seven I wanted a long white beard, I wanted people to come for miles around for advice, like they did with King Solomon. Cut that baby in half! I'd yell. That was my sage advice. The true mother would be found out, since she didn't want half a baby. She wanted the whole baby. Cut that baby in half! I'd yell and run around.

Thank You, Universe

I wake and thank the Universe for the day. I used to thank God. Maybe I should thank Nature. Whoever it is, a big thank you for the sun and the light fluffy clouds and the blue sky. I am grateful. Now I need to eat some food because my blood sugar level is dropping quickly. Food, Universe, give me food now. There's nothing good in the fridge. Seriously, I'm so over you right now, Universe. Why are you ruining my life? Ah, here's something. Thank you, Universe, thank you, you're so good to me.


I increase in coinage. So much more coinage coming my way, like raindrops from heaven, coming down (metaphorically, because coins dropping from the sky would be painful) to fill my water bucket a.k.a. bank account. Rain on me, coinage. Rain.


I soar to the heavens. On my wings of ambition. Fueled by burning intensity and passion. Sponsored by Nutella. Seriously, it'd be fantastic if they sponsored me. I would spread Nutella all over my body, as long as the ingredients are sustainably sourced. That's how excited I'd be.


I am bold. I state my opinion. I tell people what I want. I don't let them discourage me. I persuade. I charm. I'm very charming. I do a little dance—a tap dance—to charm people. That always gets them: Joey's little charming tap dance.