This is what it must feel like to marry the man on the moon.
This is what it must feel like to dream of seeing the ocean and work for years to save up, then make the grueling drive 26 hours west, and after sleeping in a Reno motel room pull up to the Pacific right as the sun sinks under the horizon; to stand there in the sand, gazing at its vast wonder, disrobe down to a pair of Hanes boxers, and stepping into the frothy sea-foam realize that the motherfucker is cold.
This is what it must feel like to have a gun held to your temple by a soldier in a brutal dictator’s army, forced to write a manifesto in support of said brutal dictator in a tense, crowded room; and as you sit down to type it out (what other choice do you have?), the moment your rear end lands on the shoddily constructed third world government chair, the thing falls apart and you go crashing to the ground with it, and everybody in the room takes a deep breath and then begins to laugh their heads off.
This is what it must feel like to be Stephen Hawking’s wheelchair.
This is what it must feel like to work for a greeting card company when you have nobody to send birthday cards to and you don’t believe in Christmas, but they pay well and you’re not doing anything else with your life, so you drive downtown and park in a tall parking structure, take the elevator playing brain-numbing Muzak, walk through the lobby where the sound of your shoes makes your stomach churn everyday, and you don’t even know the security guard’s name, take another elevator up playing more of the same suicide-inducing Muzak and pause at the door to your office because some co-worker had attached a post-it with a stick figure drawing of a girl with giant boobs and a thought bubble that reads: “Got milk?”
This is what it must feel like to be stuffed into a spacesuit and descend down metal stairs onto a lunar surface with a golf club in your hand ready to smack the longest tee shot of your life.
This is what it must feel like to be backstage when the guitarist is done enchanting and arousing the crowd and exits the stage to roaring approval with a beer in his hand, slipping to the green room with a woman in the other, to entertain her rock star fantasies, and his, while you break down and lug the equipment to the tour bus, drifting through teenage girls waxing lustily about the guy who leaves it up to you to lie to his girlfriend back home that he’s busy with sound check.
This is what it must feel like to be in the backyard, with a chew toy in your mouth, free of fleas, at your master’s feet, with a redolent breeze blowing through the trees, and that stupid cat nowhere in sight.
This is what it must feel like to be Achilles’s Achilles heel.
This is what it must feel to squeegee the 62nd floor window, hanging onto the scaffold, curious birds circling around, and peering through the window, assay a desk covered in documents, in what looks to be a very important man’s office, and hear your father’s disappointed voice in your head, ‘Look at you! Washing windows in the sky like a hobo with wings.’
This is what it must feel like to taste the meat of an extinct dodo bird.
This is what it must feel like to love a song that everybody else hates and whenever you try to play it at your house, your roommates boo and insult your taste in music, so that eventually after much torment you snatch your best friend’s Bon Iver CD in front of him, make a pithy comment and throw it in the fish tank, and you both leave it there until the ink on the packaging dissolves in the water and kills the Rainbowfish that you yourself named Charlie.
This is what it must feel like to peer into the scope of a high-powered rifle that’s trained on the enemy, waiting for orders to take out the target, while trying to block out the nearby cawing of a parrot and the imminent hard-on in your pants.
This is what it must feel like to swing the bat that hits the ball that clears the fence that wins the game and all the drunken fans cheer.
This is what it must feel to write paragraph after paragraph, spelling words you don’t know how to spell, launching your thoughts into the air like a cerebral catapult, in long division dividing philosophies down to simple granular diuretics, digest and piss it out, all the time, into the sea with the seaweed and manatees, under the insouciant eye of amnesia.
This is what it must feel like to dream of the ocean and wake up in the swamp.
This is what it must feel like to clink the ice in the drink you hold to toast the deal that made you two and a half million dollars, although you know the movie has no chance in hell at being a success because the script is shit and the lead actor signed to the project is a drunk and an addict.
This is what it must feel like to call bullshit on the biggest bullshitter ever, and watch him try to bully everybody into believing the bullshit he was dealing, babbling and blithering bumptiously, but they weren’t buying it, no way, and afterwards you catch that blemish in his eye he couldn’t hide, although he looked straight at you and lied, revealing the frightened look of a cornered animal.
This is what it must feel like to order the drink you order all the time and forget its name, so you have to describe it to the bartender while he looks at you with a disappointed smirk, perfectly manicured eyebrows, and a Pre-Prohibition vest strapped across his chest, while your date looks at her aqua green nails, and you wish you were somewhere, anywhere, else.
This is what it must feel like to wake up in the morning with your nose in the pillow like Marty McFly at the beginning of Back to the Future, which you saw when you were young and inspired you to ride your skateboard behind cars, like Michael J. Fox did in the movie, until you slipped one time and fell and cut your chin, tasting blood for the first, but not the last, time.
This is what it must feel like to stand at the train station waiting for her to arrive, with a flower in your hand and some words on your lips that sound foolish and jumbled in your ear, but crystal clear in your heart, and the train is late and the sun disappearing, but you don’t even move to use the bathroom.
This is what it must feel like to clench beauty in your fist and squeeze it out through your knuckles till it dribbles to the sidewalk outside the Starbucks while an elderly man in a gingham coat stares on with dead eyes.
This is what it must feel like to be L.L. Cool J’s bicep.