Who am I? That is a simple question, yet it is one without a simple answer. I am many things—and I am one thing. But I am not a thing that is just lying around somewhere, like a pen, or a toaster, or a housewife. That is for sure. I am much more than that. I am a living, breathing thing, a thing that can draw with a pen and toast with a toaster and chat with a housewife, who is sitting on a couch eating toast. And still, I am much more.
I am a man.
And I am a former baby and a future skeleton, and I am a distant future pile of dust. I am also a Gemini, who is on the cusp.
I am “brother” and I am “son” and I am “father” (but just according to one person, who does not have any proof but still won’t seem to let it go). Either way, I am moving very soon and not letting her know about it. I am asking you to keep that between us.
I am trustworthy and loyal, but at the same time I am no Boy Scout. No, I am certainly not. I am quite the opposite, in fact. And by opposite I do not mean Girl Scout. No. I mean Man Scout. And by that I do not mean Scout Leader. In fact, I am not affiliated with the Scouts at all. Let’s just forget about the Scouts and Scouting altogether, O.K.?
I am concepts and thoughts and feelings and outfits. And I am each of these all at once, unless I am in the shower. Then I am not outfits, because that would be uncomfortable.
To some I am known as Chief. And these are usually people who work in Radio Shack or try to sell me shoes. To others I am known as Buddy. These are people who dwell in bars and wonder if I’ve got a problem or what it is that I am “looking at.” And to still others, who are in that same bar, standing just off to the side, I am “Get Him!”
I am he and I am him. I am this and I am that. And I am, from time to time, Roberta, if I am in a chat room.
People have known me by many titles. In high school, I was Student and Key Club Vice-President and Queer Bait. In college, I was Pledge and then Disappointed and then Transfer Student. I am still amazed at how picky certain so-called “brotherly” organizations can be. And I am actually glad that they didn’t choose me for their stupid fraternity.
To some I am fantasy, and to others I am Frank, mostly because I have told them that this is my name—even though it is not even close to my name. I am a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a pita. Why the pita? That counts as another mystery.
I am everything and I am nothing. I am just kidding; I am not everything and nothing. That would be ridiculous. I am just everything.
I am what I eat. And I am this especially when I bite my nails.
I have been called Hey, You! and Get Out of the Way! and Look Out! And then, some time later, Plaintiff.
I am my own worst critic. I am going to give you an example. “That’s not me enough” is the kind of thing I am prone to say about myself. See what I mean? I am sure you do.
I am the silent majority.
I am a loud minority.
I am not talking about Puerto Ricans when I say that, because I am not a racist. I am just clearing that up. In fact, I am pretty sure I have at least one friend from each of the races (Hi, Guillermo).
I am friend. I am foe. I am fo’ sho’. What up, y’all?
I am sorry about that. I was just talking to one of my race friends, a black one. I am white and I am black. And I am both of these when I am dressed as a mime. And then I am sh-h-h.
I am Batman, but only on Halloween. And then I am not invited to many parties. But I am fine with that, because that just makes me an even more accurate Batman (because Batman does not go to parties as Batman but only as Bruce Wayne). I am right about this.
I am someone who likes to go to the park. But I am not the guy with the Labrador retriever and the tennis ball and the tattered book under his arm, who is wearing fleece and is kind of tan. No. I am not that guy. I am sick of that guy and all the women who talk to him.
I am the Walrus, but not the one you’re probably thinking of. I am the Other Walrus, the one who is less the Walrus in the sense of legendary music and more the Walrus in the sense of his tendency to lie around on a beach for too long.
I am bravery. I am courage. I am valor. I am daring. I am holding a thesaurus.
I am the sun. I am the moon. I am the rain, I am the earth. I am these when I am taking mushrooms with Kevin. I am good friends with Kevin. I am not sure what Kevin’s last name is.
I am sometimes referred to as Excuse Me in an annoyed tone of voice, because apparently I am in the way. I am so sorry. I am supposed to be some sort of mind reader, I guess. I am moving out of the way now as slowly as I possibly can. I am doing this and there’s nothing you can do about it.
I am often the one they call You but I am no more You than you. I am me. And I am more Me than you are or can ever be. And one time I was Corey for almost five minutes while I was talking with a stranger, until she realized that I was not her friend Corey.
I am neither here nor there, but there—a little to the left. Yeah. That’s me.
I am waving at you. I am waving right at you now.
I am looking right at you.
I am sensing that you don’t know me. I am starting to feel awkward.
I am getting out of here. ♦
How are you? I hope you are well! My name is Jared Kushner, and I would like to go to you. As an example of how smart I am, here is some money.
I heard from my daddy and my friends’ daddies that you are a big house for smart, good boys. I am a good boy! I am nice and my face is very smooth. Would you like a hundred-dollar bill? It has Benjamin Franklin on it! He is silly, because he only has hair on the sides, not on the top. Here are some of him!
Here are some facts about me: I am Jared. I am more than six feet tall, which is funny, because feet are on your legs, not how tall you are! That always makes me laugh. My favorite color is green, like money. My favorite shape is rectangle, like money. I also like round, which is like some kinds of money that poor people use for littering in fountains.
When I was a kid, which was last year, I got mad that there was no sixty-nine-dollar bill, so my daddy paid the U.S. Treasury to make one special for me. I showed it to all my friends and we all laughed and then I gave it to our maid because I was bored with it. She cleaned it and gave it back to me so that I could throw it away.
I am a good student. I got straight D’s in high school. “D” is the first letter in the alphabet. At first, the teachers said “A” was the first letter, but my daddy paid the teachers to teach us a new alphabet song so that I wouldn’t feel bad about my grades. It worked! In school, my favorite classes were recess and lunch. I did very good on the SAT because I filled in every single bubble, even the ones for my name, which was a trick question. I am so smart! For me, tests are as easy as D-B-C!
I am good at after-school activities, such as sports and allowance. I was on the basketball team in high school. My daddy gave the referee money so that I didn’t have to dribble and could just carry the ball. All the other good boys were jealous, but only my daddy loved me enough to pay the referees so that I got to carry the ball and use a ladder. Ladder dunks are worth fifty points.
My daddy is also so good at games. Daddy and I like to play a game called hide-and-go-seek, which is where we tape money to ourselves and go to the Cayman Islands and hide the money all around. We are so good that no one ever finds it! Daddy said we were there to put the money in the laundry, which is funny because after we buried the money it was so much dirtier and sandier than before. My daddy is so silly sometimes!
Harvard, I would like to go to you so that I can be big and strong someday, like all my daddy’s friends. They are so cool and impressive. They wear ties all the time to keep their shirts from falling off. My daddy is so rich that he can buy any building he wants, even the Empire State Building or the moon. Here are some things I want to be when I grow up: a fireman, an astronaut, a business boy, a fire truck, a thousand-dollar bill. If you would like some more money, here is some more money!
I do not want to be mean, but if you do not let me into you something bad might happen. My daddy is very nice but when he is mad he can be very scary. One time when he got mad he made a lady go to my uncle’s house to kiss my uncle even though the lady wasn’t my aunt! Yuck!
Anyway, thank you for letting me into Harvard! I am so excited to go in you. When I arrive, I would like four dorm rooms, a parking space for my Range Rover, a girlfriend, a girlfriend for my Range Rover, a pony, a Range Rover for my pony, three opals, and the ocean. I have been a good boy and I deserve it!
Jared Kushner, grade 12, age seventeen and a half. ♦