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I want to be authentic. I want to be ME, as I was when I was a boy. No filters, no strategies for life-coping. I want to walk out in the sun everyday and feel that I am 100% ME. 

Towards this goal, a few months ago, I embarked on a reading adventure. I would read all the books published on this topic. What did the world’s great self-help authors have to say about stripping away all pretense, and finding the real YOU? 

First I found a book called, “Strip Away the Nonsense, and LIVE like a CHILD,” by Dr. Maribell Ding-Dong. Dr. Dong, or Dr. D., as she is known by her legions of fans, sums up her advice-giving in this bullet-point scheme (a godsend invention for the life-altering self-help genre): 

  • Wake up every morning, look in the mirror, and cry loudly, in your highest-pitched voice, “I AM FIVE YEARS OLD!” 
  • Change your eating habits to a 24/7 all Gerber-diet. This will help fool your physical being into forgetting it has earned a bachelor’s degree and ever been in a car salesman’s office. 
  • Read books with titles like, “I AM A MOUSE. WHO ARE YOU?” and “Let’s Go to the Circus, and Sing with the Lions.” 
  • And finally, always remember that you are a child of God, even if your driving license says you were born when Dwight Eisenhower was president. 

Next, I found a website from a group called, “Real Live Humans,” whose president, Master of the Stars Copernicus, preaches sermons of self-reliance and self-actualization to his minions prone before him each morning at dawn.

Master C., as he’s playfully known, says he became an authentic human being by following these steps: 

  1. Wake up every morning and, naked as a jaybird, get out of bed, and, with your arms outstretched over your head, scream, “I AM ALIVE! I AM ALIVE!” 
  2. Eat this breakfast every morning: Fruit Loops and Whole Milk, a Cadbury chocolate bar, and hot cocoa. 
  3. Eat this lunch every day: (same as breakfast) 
  4. Eat this dinner every day: (same as lunch, with a special treat on national holidays and Master C.’s birthday of brussel sprouts in soy sauce) 
  5. Wear as few clothes as possible. As much as you can, try to only wear the color mauve. 

According to Master C., if you follow these five steps for one exact year, and sign up twenty of your friends for his $500 seminar, “BE YOU NOW!”, then you will be a true, pretense-less, authentic human being. 


Author bio: Originally from St. Louis, Lawrence Hartmann now lives in Chicago, where he has lived for years. He works as a researcher for a publishing company.


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