18. Kirstjen Nielsen (Homeland Security): Tell yourself that you are very often well-liked.
17. Robert Wilkie (Veterans Affairs): Spend more time with your impermanence.
16. Betsy DeVos (Education): Direct further attention toward the many things that you still deserve.
15. Rick Perry (Energy): Be content with not having any of the answers.
14. Elaine Chao (Transportation): Forgive those around you incessantly, starting with life partner.
13. Ben Carson (Housing and Urban Development): Remind others that nothing exists outside your own fanciful imaginings.
12. Alex Azar (Health and Human Services): Accelerate stillness.
11. Alex Acosta (Labor): Listen with zero thoughts toward anything resembling a response.
10. Wilbur Ross (Commerce): You may come to find that many situations — through no fault of your own — trigger negative emotions. Bundle these feelings of bitterness or wrath into a large package and then visualize placing said package far away, preferably somewhere offshore.
9. Sonny Perdue (Agriculture): An essential question: have you been standing there the whole time?
8. Ryan Zinke (Interior): Ponder what it could feel like to be a person who has once worried. Proceed with an unbending sense of fulfillment that will move mountains and stop rivers. Also, the forests are only getting in the way.
7. Jefferson Sessions (Attorney General): Relish the small details of your surroundings. Take in the tiny sights, the abrupt noises, the spent gases, the broad obliterations, and the thousands of minute-by-minute unravelings as you scamper among the chambers of this personal bliss.
6. James Mattis (Defense): Be the anonymous adult in the room. Sigh as you think about your lone wisdom. Whimper that 700 billion dollars for the year isn’t nearly enough.
5. Steven Mnuchin (Treasury): Your time has actually arrived. Prepare to meet the moment. Print new denominations of bills featuring your beaming face. Lick.
4. Mike Pompeo (State): Seize the intensity of now by doing everything at your disposal simultaneously. Be aware of your hands as they yank at levers and mash buttons. Start a hundred international phone calls and wheeze into each one until it’s interpreted as a specific threat. Forego use of any actual language, foreign or otherwise. Toss out all documents and previous records along with your partial regrets. Make your toes into a permanent toe fist.
3. Orrin Hatch (Senate Pro Tempore): Sometimes fever dreams really do come true. You have reached the zenith of everything at which you’ve long clawed. You have become fully self-actualized. At last, you can rest on your enormous laurel. However, you will learn, as you take a sweeping mental picture of all this final glory, that there can be no leaving. The end is nowhere near. You will not be exalted and lifted up and away. You will stay right here on the ground floor of the reckoning. Put your pants back on. With a beginner’s mind, settle into a warmed seat.
2. Paul Ryan (Speaker of the House): Upon further reflection, you’d prefer to be absent. Perhaps all this “me time” wasn’t the hottest idea. Possibly, you haven’t even crushed it. Whatever you do, keep these fathomless doubts to yourself. Any misgivings must stay lodged in your throat as a throbbing terror squeal caught just at the moment of release. Contract your intellect and your tortured muscle groups. Barely feel the gel in your hair anymore. Combine a deeper obliviousness with the death-rattle need for public affirmation that this nation was built on. Do not, under any circumstances, breathe. This is only making you more present. Relief will come soon in the form of the actual authorities who will usher you out. Release the squeal.
1. Mike Pence (VP): Realize too late that there is no such thing as “next.”