NEW YORK -- I don't like getting up early, but when I have something important to do, like, say, starting an internship at Maxim magazine, my will power will morph my body into a sweaty leotard that just wants to get up and boxercize -- and she won't take no for an answer. Lethargic limbs "You will do it," commands my spandex consciousness, overriding the "You will do absolutely nothing" demands of my lethargic limbs.
I force myself out of bed and walk to the bathroom, where my mussed-up pillow head stares back at me in the mirror.
"Hey there, handsome! If I saw you in a bar, I believe I'd go gay," I say, flattering myself, but my self-absorbed ego massage fails to pump me up this morning.
I feel frightened and excited at the same time, just like a nun who daringly neglects to wear her panties and then marvels with both horror and child-like glee at the sensation of the cool spring breeze penetrating the thick cloth of her habit.
Fiddling with the faucets to arrive at a desirable warm temperature, I run into my first snag of the morning. Just five feet away, a yellow-toothed old man is peeping out of his kitchen window right into my bathroom.
I'm not normally shy about my body, but this guy is giving me the heebie-jeebies, so I just stand there in a contemplative stupor for what seems like five minutes.
I would just close the blind, but there isn't one, so I just shrug it off and start to disrobe with my back to the window to shield myself from the man's facial expressions.
As I scrub my furry beer belly and my faithful companion below, I begin to psyche myself up into a Maxim frame of mind, flexing my muscles and striking bodybuilding poses. The glistening glow of my chest and arms as the continuous stream of water pelts my physique impresses me, and I revel in my manliness.
Rarely karaoked jock jams like Henry Rollins's Liar and Social Distortion's I Was Wrong find their way into my shower set, and I can feel pure testosterone pumping through my bloodstream.
After drying off, I write a note on the bathroom wall with my roommate Suzi's lip liner to remind myself to make a trip down to Bed, Bath and Beyond in the near future -- I knew that femme store would prove useful someday.
As I walk down Sixth Avenue, my courageous spirit dwindles and fades away. My empowered state of mind is replaced by nervousness.
I'm scared I won't be able to meet expectations. I'm afraid I will fail to perform some simple task and be horribly humiliated. Hypothetical scenarios run rampant through my mind: what if they have a strict dress code and my chinos and button-down T-shirt just don't cut it?
What if there are all these hot half-dressed models walking around and everybody notices my erection? Anxiety attacks are normal, I keep telling myself as I exit the elevator and make my way to the receptionist.
"Hi, my name's Michael Dojc. I'm the new intern, and this is my first day," I announce to an incredibly sexy receptionist who almost causes one of my dreaded "what ifs" to come true. She smiles coyly, as if sensing my unease, presses a button on the phone and tells me to be seated.
The "bo bo, chichichica" synth sounds of 80s Michael J. Fox movies are resonating in my head. I really need to calm down. Then the moment of truth arrives as James Heidenry, the senior editor who'd interviewed me just a month earlier, walks through the hallway and I rise to greet him.
"Good morning, Michael. Sorry for the wait," he says.
Sorry for the wait? I was thankful for every single precious moment. They allowed the air conditioning to dry the sweat off my palms and cool my nervous system back to normal operating levels.
Serious ass "It's quite all right," I reply, and with that we enter the editorial space, a maze of cubicles and offices. It's time for introductions. I'm extended a friendly greeting by each member of the staff before being shown to my work space, the "intern pit," but that's a misnomer. It's not the least bit scary and looks more like a waiting room than a hole in the ground.
Yet the term evokes the brutal slaying pit of Rome's Coliseum, and I feel like Maximus, the hardened second-century warrior Russell Crowe portrays in Gladiator -- ready to haul some serious ass.
"Bring it on!" I think to myself as I test out my new swivel chair. I soon meet up with my fellow interns Alec and Louis, who tell me it's a pretty laid-back atmosphere at Maxim and that I'll have a great time.
After they show me how to use a research engine and explain some basic office procedures, I'm fully Maxim-ized. We sort through the mail, separating pictures of girls in tubs of jello from those of regular half-naked girls who think they're good-looking enough to be featured in the magazine, and piles of correspondence from horny men and even hornier incarcerated men.
A couple of minutes later, James tells us to go down the street in search of cool car magazines, and this is when I realize that I can definitely swing this gig. All my worries evaporate and new problems present themselves, such as how to score with a Maxim cover model.
I knew everything wouldn't be easy!
WISDOM TO THE MAX
A selection of things you can learn from Maxim: For Men, whose deeply philosophical tagline reads "Sex, Sports, Beer, Gadgets, Clothes."
How to help your babe burn calories during sex, with the Full-Body Burner, the Bumper-Car Ride, the Pornographic Push-Up and so on. And so on.
That breathing in farts does not, in fact, mean you are inhaling poo molecules.
That the best vehicle for touring Iraq is an AM General Hummer ($85,718)
That you're more likely to score if you trim your nose hairs and clean the toilet.
How to juggle two girlfriends
That Obi-Wan wins in a battle against o.b. tampons. Don't ask.