Identity Retreats: The Best Self-Care After You’ve Witnessed A Crime
It’s crazy that some people think assuming a new identity, moving across the country, and living under 24-hour federal surveillance because I’m testifying against a crime lord is a bad thing. Those “glass half-empty” cynics will never understand that being in the witness protection program can be a soothing, stress-free identity retreat.
You have to make the best of things, and witness protection is your best opportunity to escape your old life and inhabit a new one. It’s like I get to play house as a completely different person while hoping a hitman doesn’t put two in the back of my skull while I’m taking out the trash in my new and exciting home on the vast planes of Wyoming.
The Birth Of “Gerald”
It all began with a creative collaboration to create a new identity with my trusty friends in witness protection. I brought a whole set of characters to our meeting that I could potentially inhabit, each with their own fun quirks. “Russell” would make a loud honking sound in the affirmative in the places most people would say “cool” or “okay.” It really made him feel unique. I was about to break out my Russell costume (polos from the Disney store and shorts that stopped 5 inches above the knee) when my witness protection friends said “Shut up” and “No, you’re Gerald Miller.”
It’s impossible to not feel like a whole new person when a stern G-man uses prostheses to physically change you into Gerald Miller. I was assigned a whole new job at Wyoming’s number-one carpet and tile retailer. My witness protection buddies aren’t too keen on how quickly I rose through the ranks and eventually became the face of the company, but I would never have known I was born to sell carpet and tile as a locally famous cowboy caricature if I had not told the feds where my former boss made me hide the bodies of his enemies.
Best. Va-Kay. Ever.
Even that sweet gig has its own stresses, of course, which I try to melt away by sunbathing in the backyard. My witness protectors usually don’t let me, since there are too many sniper angles to cover out in the open, but every once in a while, I sneak out by the pool to catch some rays when they’re not looking. I can’t help but laugh when I think a beam of sunlight refracted off my phone is an assassin’s laser dot, so then I soil myself. That’s just the kind of fun we have here in witness protection!
I’m loving my transformation into a person who is a little less likely to be choked out with a wire by a masked assailant. I’m not letting the specter of my inevitable murder distract me from this luxurious government-funded identity retreat. Even if I am killed, will my old mob boss be killing a low-level nobody who felt a moral obligation to destroy a criminal empire he unwittingly joined as an easily manipulated teen, or will he be killing beloved carpet and tile cowboy Gerald Miller? One of those guys would be forgotten by time. The other will get a statue of him shooting price guns like pistols erected in front of a 10,000–sq. ft. carpet and tile mega-center in Laramie, Wyoming. Easy choice, if you ask me.