Happiness Is . . .

(Originally appeared on Opium, August 17 2002)

. . . head-to-toe in latex and two free hours in “the coffin.”

. . . regaining consciousness in a tricked-out van on I-95 and meeting your “internet friend” for the very first time.

. . . the smoky Bar-B-Q aroma of “Dipsy Doodles” in a packed elevator.

. . . hot-tubbing with your homeboys, one of whom is leaving for podiatry school in the spring.

. . . emerging from your breakdancing lessons into the early-afternoon sunshine, your sexy rat-tail tickling your tightly-clenched ass. You’ve just nicknamed yourself “Buzzy.”

. . . embracing a llama.

. . . receiving a bikini wax in the shape of ABC News Correspondent John Stossell’s strong, yet proud profile.

. . . performing your finger-puppet interpretation of “Godspell,” this time before a representative group of troubled teens from each and every nation on earth.

. . . comparing birthmarks with best friends and family members at the Times Square Olive Garden. (The birthmark shaped like a question mark on the base of your grandmother’s spine is a particular favorite.)

. . . warm teat in hand, squeezing fresh goat’s milk onto your quivering tongue (National Zoo, Washington, D.C.).

. . . 10:45 PM. A coffee enema and a heaping slice of microwavable apple pie. Then: bed.

. . . watching reruns of the very last episode of Friends, trying not to weep, it is all too painful, it is all too personal, the soundtrack to your life. In your mind’s eye, you can easily envision an adorable Jennifer Aniston sitting by your side, absent-mindedly stroking your permed ‘fro with a well-manicured index finger.

. . . popping ping-pong balls out of your “fun tunnel.”

. . . delighting in the rainbowed prisms of light reflecting off the broken bottle being brandished in your face by a gruff, yet lovable stew bum.

. . . rooting for truffles in the backyard of your first serious crush, the cutie whom you have not spoken to since junior high school. You are not wearing socks.

–with Ted Travelstead