I’m sitting at a table in TGI Friday’s. I can see my reflection in my silverware. My hair is looking flat. I’ll need to gel it up soon.
I’m wearing the Summer Fling collection from ShirtBox.com, a monthly service that delivers me style. For a moment, I panic, because I notice that no else is wearing sunglasses. But Coleman, Bryce, and Johnson have pairs clipped on their polo shirt collars.
We all say “YES” to life. We chase our dreams. We don’t punch a clock or sit in useless classes. We took the money we would’ve spent in college and invested in ourselves. You can’t teach entrepreneurship.
Our work life occurs on beaches, on boats, in gorgeous forests and on picturesque mountain ranges.
The internet is a gateway to the good life, and if you haven’t carved out a lifestyle like mine, you aren’t trying. You aren’t capitalizing on Facebook, Youtube, Instagram and Twitter. Post more pictures. Motivational quotes. Talk about the hustle, the grind, making paper. Focus. Putting in work.
Elevate your game. Poverty is a mindset. We accepted positivity and hard work. We don’t sleep; we rest our eyes for a moment and then get back on it.
The appetizers arrive and everyone calls the waitress doll, sweetie, honey, darlin’. After she leaves, we appraise her.
Collins, Johnson, Bryce and Patterson are dating photogenic girls with easy to remember names.
Collins is dating Sarah, or Kate.
Johnson is dating Tracy, or Sara with no H.
Bruce is seeing a girl named Shelly, or Tracy.
Patterson is sleeping with Kate, but dating Tracy.
“Morgan!” Bruce says to me. “How’s your girl? I follow her Instagram. Fills out that bikini real nice, dude.”
I laugh. “Yes, she is great.”
Each of our women are some form of blonde; bleach-blonde, dirty-blonde, blonde-streaks. They appear beside us in our beach pictures, take photos with dogs, include us in filtered selfies. We’re the love of their lives right now. Our relationships are perfect in every way.
I consider getting a dog to boost my influence. Seems like it might have good ROI.
Patterson and Collins start discussing their favorite motivational speakers. Bruce, Joseph and I exchange workout tips, our favorite protein powders. Someone mentions a post on their blog. Joseph says he got a new layout, a new template, a new theme. He opens it on his phone, and we hand it around. His “Hustle, Work, Succeed” blog is now encased in a mint green with white background. It is cleaner than mine. More professional.
It must be impressive, because Bruce says: “That’s pretty good. But I did something too.” He shows us, and somehow he’s gotten his Instagram feed to appear on his site, with all of his interesting photos of his boats and cars and workout pictures.
“Pretty good,” I say. “I’m retooling my site at the moment.”
The main courses arrive, and the phones all take aim at our plates, because a good-looking burger is worth a few dozen likes and a follower or two.
I’m a bit too slow with my phone, and the waitress catches my eye. She tilts her head at my friends, and rolls her eyes. She smiles like we have a secret.
I don’t know what this means so I wink and give her my biggest smile, the one that hurts my lips. It seems to frighten her, though, and she hurries away.
I’m cropping a photo of my fries when a sly, alien thought slithers around my brain. An idea that I’m playing a game I don’t understand, with rules unknown to me, and I can’t tell where the game begins, or where it ends.
Only that I have to win.
I’m a winner.
I post the picture and hearts fill up my phone.