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Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The New and Improved Me

I’m nothing like I used to be. Do you remember how I used to be? Wasn’t I just awful? The things I used to do! The way I treated people! I can’t believe how mean I was back then. Sorry about your cat. That was the old me, now I’m a completely changed person. The difference in me is like night and day. I’m a much better person and I think everyone would agree. I should get some sort of award for most improved person. Nice kitty.

Not to obfuscate my problem in abstruse medical jargon but before I was what psychologists would call a “shit heel.” I was only looking out for number one and guess who was number one? I was #1 and according to the doctors looking out for number one—me—was not making me happy. Sure, I was making a ton of money. It goes without saying that my sex life was completely off the charts and probably completely illegal anywhere but in the Red Light district of Amsterdam. So what if I could snap my fingers and have my enemies brought to their knees. The doctors told me that I wasn’t happy. I didn’t believe the first few doctors who told me this; I had them killed.

But deep down inside I think that I always knew that something was missing. My excesses made Michael Jackson look like a Buddhist monk. I should have known that I had gone too far when Michael Jackson brought charges against me, alleging that I groped him when I had him over for a sleep-over at my palace. When MJ says you are a pervert you should probably stop and listen. Instead I paid him off and accelerated my decadent lifestyle. I tried to convince myself that at least I was boosting the economy.

As I led my armies across the steppes of Asia, playing polo with the heads of my vanquished enemies, I tried to block out the lamentations of their widows and the cries of their orphaned children--my new 40 gig I-Pod® made this easier. Slowly I was becoming dissatisfied with my way of living and I didn’t exactly know why. I once derived so much pleasure from watching a village burn while a Kenny G song played through my headphones. Now I look at the flames rising above the rooftops and I think, “What is the point?” and, “What the hell happened to Kenny G? Is he dead or what? I hope I didn’t do it by accident.”

I tried to ignore the warning signs of my behavior: high blood pressure, trouble sleeping, lack of communication with loved ones, and war crimes tribunals. I started to take notice of my problems when I narrowly side-stepped a Mossad assassination attempt and later I was forced to flee to Brazil to avoid a firing squad in The Hague. Safe from extradition I carried on with my decadent ways, but a sense of emptiness continued to gnaw at the heart of my being. I thought I could counter my existential dread by clear cutting a Pennsylvania-sized swath of the Amazon rain forest just for fun. It was fun but I still didn’t feel right. I had a problem, a problem a new squadron of F-20 fighter aircraft couldn’t cure.

My new doctors, who had witnessed the fate of the last group of my personal physicians, assured me that I was completely normal, so I had them imprisoned. Under torture they told me that my problem was that I was a selfish prick. I thanked the doctors for their honesty and they said “you’re welcome” and that I could pay their receptionist by check or credit card. It was time to let the healing begin so I began by ordering an extra ration of gruel for my grandfather who I had thrown in prison some years before. I was told he had passed away but I still felt good about my gesture. It’s the thought that counts, right?

Now I’m all about Toys For Tots, Make A Wish, Big Brother, Guardian Angels, Boy Scouts, Little League, Sunday school, mentoring, volunteering, donating, sharing, giving, caring, and loving (but not in any sort of inappropriate, nonconsensual manner, like before). Now I am the benevolent type of dictator. Although I still pillage and plunder, there is no longer pleasure for me in these anti-social acts; I just don’t like paying sales tax.

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