Anthony Weiner walked into a life coach’s office.
“Hello,” said the life coach, whose name was Tracy. “I guess you’re looking for something else to do with your life.”
Anthony Weiner laughed. “I am just going to wait for this to all blow over and then I am going to return to politics,” he said.
“Ok,” the life coach said, and then she wrote something in her little book.
“What did you just write?” Weiner asked.
“I’m paying you, you should tell me. I deserve to know!”
She wrote something else. Then she said, “Very well. I wrote ‘LOL.’ And then after you said ‘I deserve to know,’ I wrote ‘entitled.'”
Anthony Weiner nodded. “I have heard that word before. Entitled. People keep explaining to me what it means, and I keep forgetting. There’s another word I keep forgetting that people keep explaining to me. Shoot. Lost it. It’ll come back to me. I have a 140 IQ, so stuff usually comes back to me.”
The life coach nodded. “Perhaps we will start there.”
“With my memory? Can’t I just like—do Sudoku or something? I’m not made of money, you know. Plus, you’re not a shrink.”
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with your memory, I was more thinking there was something of use to discuss in the particular words whose definitions you can’t seem to retain. And while I am indeed not a shrink, I think it is worth discussing the issues behind—”
“Look,” Anthony Weiner said. “For now, I really just need a new hobby. I was thinking about trying painting.”
The life coach brightened. “Painting can be a wonderful way to see the world through new eyes. To broaden one’s perspective. To increase empathy.”
Anthony Weiner smacked his forehead. “That’s it! That’s the other word people keep explaining to me that I can’t remember. What did you just write down in your… Oh, forget it. I don’t care. Ok, I am going to start painting! Yeah. It’s gonna be great. I’m going to paint.”
The next week Anthony Weiner came back. He was carrying a large flat black portfolio case. “I love painting,” he said. “I mean, I was worried that I wasn’t going to be able to find something else to do but this is like, well, it’s like it was made for me. Do you want to see my paintings?”
The life coach nodded enthusiastically. “I’m so pleased,” she said. “Of course I want to see.”
Anthony Weiner took several canvases out of his case and set them up on her window seat. Once he had placed the last one he moved aside, clapped his hands and smiled at her expectantly. “What do you think?” he asked.
Her face fell. “Oh, Anthony Weiner,” she said. “What are we going to do with you?”
“You don’t think they’re good?” he said. “I thought they were actually good. I am really good at foreshortening, which is not easy…”
“No, it’s just that—well, I was hoping you might… choose another subject.”
“But I mean, there’s a lot of stuff in this painting. Like, there’s a sheet, and nightstand, and a bedside lamp, and…”
“I know, and you did a really great job with those. I am just—well, it’s impossible not to focus on what’s at the center of the painting.”
Anthony Weiner smiled proudly. “Really?” he said. “Thanks!”
The life coach sighed. “Are you sure you don’t want to talk about those words you can’t seem to remember? Because I really think that’s where we need to—”
But Anthony Weiner cut her off. “Look,” he said. “You know what my motto is? It’s ‘First things first.’ You like that? Anyway. I just have a lot of free time on my hands. I need a hobby. I need a hobby I can do that’s not texting until I can return to politics. It’s that simple.”
“Fine,” she said. She tried to think of something less representational than painting. “Why don’t you try gardening?”
“Fine,” he said.
She should not have been surprised that the topiary arts interested Anthony Weiner; when he brought in a bush he had pruned so that it was just really a green, leafy version of, well, of the main subject of his paintings, she suggested baking. She hadn’t imagined that there would be a person out there that could make a custom Anthony Weiner shaped cake pan, but, there was.
Origami seemed similarly destined to take him down that path, but he swore up and down that he was obsessed with swans, and so, she gave him one more chance. “It turns out that I don’t like swans as much as I thought I did,” he said, showing her his creation. “I made one swan, but it sucked. So. I went back to what I am best at. I’m not sure that paper is the best medium for depicting my abs, but I think it looks all right.”
The life coach shook her head. “I give up,” she said.
“But, but—” Anthony Weiner said, “I’m happy. I’ve never been so happy in my life. I mean, before I was just a creepy guy who sent photos of myself to people. Now I am an artist. And if it means anything, I have realized there’s no way I am going back into politics.”
“That’s great,” the life coach said. “Facing reality is an important step on the way to –”
“I have realized I am way too talented as an artist to go back to politics. I am going to become a famous artist.”
The life coach shrugged. “I mean, this is America. I suppose it’s possible.”
“Exactly. And I am pretty sure that by being an artist, I could maybe maybe get to a position where I had something to lose again. And then I could start sending out selfies again and get that wonderful feeling that is no longer possible at this time because let’s face it, there’s almost nothing less surprising to anyone in the world than me sending an inappropriate selfie. Wait. Do you think my artist name could even be Carlos Danger?”
The life coach sighed. She’d had worse clients. Plus, she was supposed to help people understand their life’s purpose, and Anthony Weiner clearly understood his. “We’re out of time,” she said. “But next week, sure. Let’s talk about your new name.”
After he was gone she heard a gasp coming from the communal bathroom down the hall.
She found the licensed marriage and family therapist she shared her office with marveling over an origami swan. “I’m so sorry,” the life coach said. “One of my clients left that behind.”
The licensed marriage and family therapist held the swan up to the light. “You’re going to think I’m insane. But this swan looks just like Anthony Weiner.” She shook her head. “How very extraordinary!”