By Len Kuntz

I wish I were more interesting. Or maybe African American. When I was young, my neighbor had a black Barbie, the doll’s plastic face so shiny, unreal actually, not like human skin at all, just beautiful and exotic, no reflectivity whatsoever.

My mother wishes I weren’t so fat. I wish that, too, but fat girls get left alone, and me, well, I’m a natural born recluse. I’m fine with being a recluse. Recluses, I think, are like the blind or deaf: we pay better attention.

Still I wish I had less acne. My brother calls me Pus Face. He makes diarrhea-squishing noises and pops his blown-up cheeks with his fists. My older sister says it’ll go away in a couple of years, but she still has all kinds of zits in every place imaginable—her armpit and ears, a big blackhead the size of a pearl right there on the nub of her nostril.

If I were prettier, boys would be after me—I mean, if I were prettier and thin and clear-skinned. That would scare me. As it is, I never shave my legs and I eschew makeup altogether. However, I do sprits a bit of Calvin Klein Obsession on myself at lunch time, partly because I have a slight B.O. problem, but mostly because I love Glenn Close so much that my mind goes from obsession to “Fatal Attraction” lickety split.

I have all these thoughts and nowhere to put them. Sure, I could journal, but my penmanship is rotten and, half of the time when I write myself a reminder, I’ll see the note later and think my dog’s been drinking inkwells again. Also I’m ADD, therefore my thoughts are dicey, a chop salad, colorful but lacking protein.

No one needs to tell me how freaking weird I am, I get it. On one front, I don’t really want to be normal, yet, on the other hand, I sort of do, because like, what if I end up some looney bag lady squatting on a heat grate in winter, shivering while she talks to cement cracks about dead uncles and the texture of camel spit? That would suck massively.

Even though I don’t, I often think I should give myself more credit because, in some respects, I’m actually not dissimilar from other people. For instance, I’m like Miss America. I’m like all the beauty pageant contestants in this country, and probably across the globe (except where terrorists run things). I want world peace as bad as the next gal. Not only that, but I want babies to have happy childhoods and be brought up to respect grandparents as well as large folks like myself. I want a world of courtesy, with wonderful, happy accidents.

Another thing I wish for is a day with the President. I’ve got plenty of opinions. Besides, I’d love jawing with his wife and those two bony daughters. I’d push the girls on The White House swings if they wanted. I’d paint their toe nails and add pinwheel designs. I’d be a chubby, human funhouse and make them like me.

What else… Oh yeah, I wish my dad weren’t dead. At the same time, though, I also wish that I felt worse about his passing. I wish I could forgive him for all that crap he did and the mixed up way he’s left us. I wish I could but I’m unable. And so I wonder if that’s something you can force on yourself: defeating your own innate will—or if it’s a situation more similar to how you can’t pick the dreams you have at night, how you don’t chose your DNA, it chooses you.