I was sitting nervously in Stephane Colbert’s cavernous rumpus room. A portly man spilling out of a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader’s outfit waddled to the podium by the fireplace and began speaking.

“Welcome, everyone, to the North Jersey Chapter of Assholes Anonymous.”

“As usual, it looks we are standing room only. Before we begin, please take this opportunity to make sure your cellphones are on. Is that your Osmond Brothers ringtone, Spike? Ironic choice.

“By way of introduction, I am Governor Chris, and I am an asshole.”

Chirs Christie asshole photo

The crowd murmured in supportive response. “Tell me something I don’t know,” “No kidding,” “How do you increase the volume on an iPhone Ocho?”

“I’d like to start with a joke. Whenever I gaze over this assemblage, I feel exactly like the Chairman of Toyota: forced to recall thousands of faulty airbags.”

“What an asshole.”

“Let’s begin. Who would like to go first? Madonna? Johnny Mac? Stephen A and Skip?”

“That’s BLASPHEMOUS. That’s PREPOSTEROUS. My mama ain’t raise no fool!!!”

“Now you know what the A stands for.”

And then, one by one, the standard, run of the mill assholes in the crowd stood and told their own personal stories. Most were blatantly recognizable: middle-aged white guys with dreadlock combovers who work part time in bike shops and smoke local, organic, free range clove cigarettes; cranky octogenarian broads who look like Lady Grantham and insist on going commando while wearing sheer yoga pants; two pairs of Swedish dyslexics who perform as BAAB, an ABBA tribute act… You know the type.

Gov. Chris finally asked if there were any first-timers in attendance.

I tentatively raised my hand.

Nothing. Waved directly at him. Still nothing. Gyrated my arm like I was going down for the third time. Bupkus.

Raised my middle finger. Bingo.

So that’s all it takes to get the complete and immediate attention of the Governor of New Jersey. Who knew?

“You, the asshole sitting next to Kanye.”

I stood and uttered the words that had always terrified, but for evermore would define me: “My name is Tom, and I’m an asshole.”

I heard my fellow assholes utter “Sure looks like an asshole to me,” “What took this asshole so long,” “I absolutely love Drunk History,” “No, this is a good time, I’ll put you on speaker.”

Gov. Chris quieted the crowd, except, of course, for the assholes on the phone.

“We’ll administer a preliminary PSAT to determine your current status as an asshole.”

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“I’m familiar with the Pauly Shore Asshole Test.”

“Great. Respond with the first dumbass crack that comes to mind. Let’s begin with an easy one: What should an epileptic never order in a restaurant?”

I immediately fired off, “Seizure salad.”

“Okay, a little bit harder now: What is Benjamin Netanyahu’s favorite song?”

Another gimme. “‘Gentile on My Mind’ by Peter, Paul and Murray.”

He paused and thought for a while.

“How about, if there was a 100%, totally African American version of Peanuts, what would Peppermint Patty’s character be called?”

I was floating on a cloud when I cried out “Menthol Mo’Nique… and her incredibly annoying lesbian girlfriend would still have to be played by Rosie O’Donnell.”

The room got eerily quiet. I hadn’t experienced such an uncomfortable silence since watching any episode of Family Guy.­­­­­­­­­

“Congratulations and welcome aboard, my friend, it’s obvious you are already well on your way to becoming a world-class asshole. You clearly have the gift. Good god, on your own you’ve almost surpassed Larry David—with our guidance you can reach the heights attained only by Bill Parcells… when he coached the Jets. (Gasps all around).”

“In order to make an exact determination, we’ll have to thoroughly examine the entirety of your body of work. I imagine you’re quite the asshole on the job?”

“You know the asshole TSA agent who reverses the belt endlessly back and forth like a hundred times for no goddamned good reason when your carry-on bag finally noses its way it into the x-ray machine? I invented that.”

“Outstanding! And at home, I’d be willing to wager that your wife thinks you’re an asshole?”

“Not even close. Thinks I’m a fucking asshole. To be honest, it’s mostly her fault. I live with the perfect enabler. For instance, she’ll say to me, ‘I feel like poached eggs for brunch,’ which obviously forces me to respond, ‘Where the hell are we going to find an endangered sea turtle nest in Hoboken?'”

“Or I’ll be watching a game, and she’ll pop in while some 350-pound dude is clutching his leg screaming, ‘My knee, my knee!!’

“‘What’s the matter with him?’

“Prolapsed uterus.

“‘No really, what’s wrong?’

“Saggy bladder sling.

“‘Tell me!’

“Itchy rectal hammock.

“‘You’re pissing me off. I didn’t really want to know before, but now I do.’

“Unmade vaginal sofa bed.

“‘You are an asshole!’

“Have you noticed that gynecologists sure implant a lot of unnecessary devices these days? Everyone knows they do it just to stirrup new business.

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“You are a fucking asshole!”

Gov. Chris stopped me right there. “We get the picture. Any suggestions from the assholes in the house?”

A guy who looked suspiciously like Brian Williams stood and said, “I’m Admiral Crunch and I’m an asshole. I used to be only a lowly Cap’n, but am pleased to announce my recent promotion, due to my (as of yet still undocumented) displays of courage as I bravely stood with Crockett (and Tubbs) fighting Generalissimo Santa Anna Winds during the Battle of the A la mode and by the Navy Seals, with whom I was embedded during the Tent Offensive. What about we find him a sponsor?”

“You mean there are companies out there willing to pay an asshole millions of dollars without expecting anything in return?”

“Works for our girl Danica Patrick.”

“How about if I contact Sean Penn? I hear he’s an incredible asshole.”

The room erupted. “Whoa, rookie.” “Who do you think you are, Sting?” “I’m sending you another selfie of my penis.”

“Settle down, you assholes. Any suggestions of other methods that have proven successful in the past?”

A shirtless man on horseback bellowed. “I Vladimir, and I Russian sphincter disc. When things go bad for me home in Moskva, I employ classic 12 Steppe Program and invade Ukraine. Maybe work for new guy. Work for Dick Cheney, da. Anyone know, is there a Home Despot nearby? Kremlin need new shower caddy.”

“Bigger breasts than Chelsea Handler.” “Funnier, too.” “I hear that Ruth Bader Ginsberg has some hilarious boobs.” “Will you assholes shut up, I’m pretending to be a 13-year-old girl.”

The assholes soon lost interest in the topic at hand, as assholes often do, and the room devolved into a deafening shouting match over the classic “nature vs. nurture” conundrum, debating whether chauffeurs or their house staff are more important to wealthy assholes. The answer to “Was Martha Stewart born or was she maid?” will almost certainly never be known.

So I walked out, reborn, into the cool, clear night, knowing ultimately that there was nothing I could discover about being an asshole from these assholes that I couldn’t learn from watching a few Adam Sandler movies.

But this I solemnly pledge: with their help or not, I will achieve my destiny …and rise, rise like a Phoenix from the asses!

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