“Did the mailman have red hair?” said the man in front of me in line, implying that my ex-wife had sex with a mailman and then she had my daughter, who has bright orange hair.
We were in line to get ice cream. I was with my illegitimate bastard, and the guy was a total stranger in line in front of me.
It was neat how he asked about my sex life and the legitimacy of my child all in one question.
I’m cool with that.
I said to him, “Yes, as a matter of fact, he did.” Which is true. The mailman had red hair back then, when I lived in Tribeca, before I lost my home and all my money and dignity. And now, this man was kind enough to remind me of that.
Maybe my girl, whose affection I am buying with sugar, is not even related to me, and I’ve just revealed my deepest secrets to this total stranger who felt comfortable asking me about my sex life with my ex-wife.
I’m proud of me.
For no real reason.
As one reviewer of my magnum opus Choose Yourself! recently said, “funny, but no good content.”
Which sounds really funny to me. It’s like I made an encyclopedia of toilets. Because my humor is so stupid I would laugh at a book that had nothing but toilets, but I would also say, very seriously, “but no good content.”
I used to like antique stores. There’s something magical about them. Like you might find a genie lamp in an antique store. Or The Satanic Bible in the original Latin that can be used to conjure up a succubus.
But I live in a town (a “village”) known for antiquing, and so I see the scam.
It’s just old stuff.
The antique store closest to me has a hand in the window. It’s a white plastic hand, perhaps cut off from a mannequin.
My illegitimate red-haired daughter and I thought we should buy it and buy some lawn chairs.
Every Saturday a boat goes from NYC and stops about a half block from my house and lets out about 200 people that want to go antiquing. We were thinking of sitting outside on the sidewalk in our new lawn chairs and waving the white hand at everyone who passes and saying “Hi Y’all” like we’re Southerners.
My shady bastard thinks this is funny. Every time we pass the store, she goes “Hi Y’all” and laughs, or she says, “remember when we were thinking about getting the lawn chairs and the hand and saying ‘Hi Y’all’ to everyone?” even though it was only fifteen minutes earlier. Which actually makes her statement (“remember”) funny.
Because there are lots of things you can say to strangers that can either make them angry or make them laugh or just make them think, “this guy is very polite and playing by the rules.”
But Jason Bourne (me, in my fantasy world) doesn’t play by the rules.
So I can say whatever I want to strangers. Who cares? I will never ever see them again. I try, then, to do one of two things.
I try to make them laugh. Or I try to make them feel like I love them the way their mother loves them. It’s the one opportunity I will ever have to mother this complete stranger, almost as if he (or she) were in my womb right now. My magic satanic womb.
If I do one of those two things, then I get to change their lives. That is fun for me.
I try to do it every day with every stranger I meet, even the guy who sells me coffee on the corner or the random billionaire I might bump into on the street. It doesn’t matter to me. They are my child, and I am their mother.
It also has the added benefit of slowing down time.
If time were measured in “fun or loving interactions with strangers” as opposed to “seconds,” then my life would be longer.
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And you know what, since I get to write my rules, my life is measured that way. Some of the time.
Is my daughter mine? Or an illegitimate bastard?
It doesn’t matter to me. I love her anyway.
James Altucher has built and sold several companies, and failed at dozens more. He’s written ten books, and Choose Yourself is the book to RULE THEM ALL. He’s an investor in twenty different companies. He writes every day. He doesn’t have enough friends. Still interested in knowing him? Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.