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!
The day is new, I say one hundred times,
as I ponder past mistakes, like showing
up drunk to the funeral of my
ex-girlfriend’s father. He died of lung
cancer. She hated him, but still that
doesn’t excuse my behavior. It was her
father and that means something. He’d
met her mother as a photographer
taking pictures for Playboy. Still
whatever their relationship I shouldn’t
have been drunk and hit on her friend
who looked like Parker Posey. I fully
admit that even though we were in the
midst of breaking up that was a bad
decision, as was dancing at the
restaurant after the burial, even
though I felt a strong need “to get
this party started,” which I later
learned was not necessary or
appreciated. The day is new, I say.
Luck is an ingredient in life, but not the ruling force. Hard work, passion, ambition, knowing how to flaunt your physical assets, these are much more important.
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!
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.
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 believe in puppies. They're so cute and just want to play and be loved. When they turn into dogs they're still pretty cute, so it's really a win-win situation.
One day I woke up and pretended not to remember my mother and father. I refused to get out of bed. I was a poet, that’s all I knew. My mother came in. She was wearing her usual denim skirt and blouse buttoned up to her chin. That was my uniform too, how everyone in our little community of homeschoolers had to dress. My mother used to be pretty—I had a picture of her I took from an old photo album and kept hidden in my poetry notebook. She was young and beautiful and had long black hair and was wearing a man’s button down shirt, the top three buttons undone so you could see a glimpse of her bra. Very seductive, my mother. But when she asked Jesus into her heart, Jesus asked her to wear ugly and uncomfortable clothing.Read More
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.
I strive for perfection but accept and celebrate my imperfections. Like my crooked, asymmetrical grin. Damn, it's cute.
I take the lead. I am a leader. This dance circle, for instance, it was my idea. I organized it. Shit, my turn. Dance, white boy!
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 saw a man naked. He was in my house.
I came home and there he was changing
into my lavender dress, my favorite one.
Sheila? he said. I’m so glad you’re home.
No, I said. Who are you? You’re not
Sheila? he said. No, I said. Are you sure?
he said. Is this part of the game? What
game? I said. I’m calling the cops. Listen,
Sheila, you asked me to come over, and
this whole thing was last minute, I might
add, so here I am. I’m calling the cops, I
said. This is 1240 Elm, right? he said.
No, I said. 1242. Ooooooooooooooh, he
said. My mistake. Lovely dress you have
here. This one is very special. On his way
out he gave me his card. It was just his
name and the phrase: “Adventures for
Body & Soul.” He wasn’t bad looking, this
man. Maybe I’ll give him a call. I
wouldn’t mind an adventure.
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.
I believe in integrity. Doing the right thing. Honor. Justice. The American Way. Apple pie. Blueberry pie. Key lime pie. All the pies.