The Why of I


“Reprising our role as little Joey Martin, are we?”

I’m so mesmerized by the spectacle of Freud in nothing but a damp bath towel that his question catches me off guard. Thanks to dosequisvirus restrictions, we’re having today’s head session out in the parking lot behind his office, the two of us seated six feet apart on cheap plastic chairs.

“I guess,” I reply. Stalling for time, I pretend to be checking my sheen, and grab my spray bottle, mist one of my arms as I #TBT to that one intermezzo in which Mimi-Siku and I sat in his van and watched a dosequisvirus livestream on his laptop.

“Why Mimi-Siku?” I’d asked him at one point. “Why not Tarzan or Mowgli or something?”

Mimi had shrugged. “I once took an online quiz, ‘Who’s your inner-child?’ and got Mimi-Siku. Naive, compassionate, good with a bow, no fashion sense, into cookware, Sagittarius. And I thought, I’m okay with that.”

It was a…reasonable answer.

Now that I’m being questioned similarly, I’m not so sure my answer is as reasonable.

Freud waits.

I watch as a tiny goldcrest emerges from the furry nest of his navel. “I mean, going fundoshi is kind of mandatory right now. I figured Joey Martin was dressed for it.”

“Would you say you’re more comfortable as Joey?”

“Heck no. I hate Joey.”

“Then why his skin?”

Why indeed? “It’s…it’s kind of like when I play as Baby Mario in Mario Kart. He handles well with the karts I like, but really I pick him because playing as Baby Mario suggests a level of nonchalance that would be impossible if I were to go with Bowser or Donkey Kong. Like, remember Ready Player One? Remember how everyone was skinned uber-handsome, sexy, fit, cool? Nobody thought their original skins were good enough—they had to fake as someone they thought was better than themselves. You knew everyone was compensating for something. But what’s more confident than faking as an undead jungle orphan? The idea that you’re whatever about it is the ultimate display of nonchalance.”

“So, being Joey is your way of convincing those around you that you’re nonchalant about your actual appearance?”

“It’s that, and…as small as I am in real life, Joey’s even smaller. And younger. Going from late tween to early tween may not sound like a lot, but it totally is, and it sucks. But going from early tween back to late tween again is awesome. Going from Joey to default on a regular basis makes me feel so much bigger by comparison. It’s…it’s my own weird kind of confidence, I guess.”

“Confidence,” Freud says, “or perhaps crutch?”

Is that a track from Blade Runner playing in the distance?

Freud leans back, smiles knowingly. “Describe in single words only the good things that come into your mind about…your mother.”

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Dookie, a shitty horror novel by Jesse Gordon

Dookie, a shitty horror novel by Jesse Gordon

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Jesse Gordon

Geek. Writer. Supreme overlord of the SUPERMEGANET pseudoverse. Author of THE OATMEAL MAN, DOOKIE, and other such wasteful nonsense.