On May 2, 2011, an elite team of United States Navy SEALS raided a residential compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. While inside the compound, the SEALS shot and killed a man they had been hunting for more than 10 years, the orchestrator of the most deadly terror attack in United States history—Osama bin Laden. The mission that finally resulted in bin Laden’s death was the culmination of years of work from top-level actors across the globe. For the first time, the people who planned and carried out the final chapter of this historic manhunt have come forward to share their accounts of what it was really like to catch the most wanted man in the world. This is the story of a manhunt that spanned the entire globe and lasted for nearly a decade, told by the people who made it possible. This is the oral history of the search for Osama bin Laden.
Chapter 1: The Hunt Begins: The Bush Years (September 2001-January 2008)
David Petraeus (director of the CIA, 2011-2012): After the September 11 attacks, catching Osama bin Laden became one of the Bush administration’s top priorities. High-ranking members of President Bush’s cabinet were working around the clock to find bin Laden and bring him to justice. But Osama bin Laden proved to be a hard man to find.
Donald Rumsfeld (secretary of defense, Bush administration): I looked everywhere for Osama bin Laden. I checked my laundry room. I checked my attic. I checked my wife’s private toilet. My wife said, “Why are you in my special toilet? This is my special private toilet where I accomplish the unspeakable.” And I said, “I am looking for Osama bin Laden,” and my wife said, “Well, Osama bin Laden is not in my special toilet, and if he was, I wouldn’t tell you.” That was when I knew that Osama bin Laden would never be found.
Dick Cheney (vice president, Bush administration): One day in 2003, I got home from work and I saw Osama bin Laden in my pool lounging around on one of those foam rafts. I think he brought the raft from home. He had poured Campbell’s chicken soup into a wine glass and he was drinking it and I said, “Osama bin Laden, get out of the pool and go to jail! Everyone is very mad at you!” but Osama bin Laden quietly drank all of his soup out of his wine glass and then climbed out of my pool and into his Chrysler convertible and drove away. I had come so close to catching him, but he got away.
John O. Brennan (director of National Counterterrorism Center and homeland security advisor to Barack Obama): In order to motivate people to find Osama bin Laden, we decided to offer a reward to anyone who could help us capture him. The first reward was that anyone who brought us Osama bin Laden would receive a free $50 gift card to Outback Steakhouse. Unfortunately, people started falsely reporting that they had captured bin Laden in an attempt to claim the gift card.
George W. Bush (43rd president of the United States, 2001-2009): After we started offering a reward, people were always trying to claim that they had caught Osama bin Laden. One day a man came into the Oval Office carrying a raccoon in a birdcage. He put the birdcage on my desk, pointed to the raccoon inside it, and said, “Hey, look, I caught that guy you wanted, Oscar von Bottles, or whatever. The Twin Towers maniac. This is him. Give me the Outback Steakhouse gift card.” And I had to say, “This is not Osama bin Laden. This is a raccoon.” And the man said, “Can I still have a reward?” So I gave him a Purple Heart that I had lying around in my desk drawer just so he would leave. I think he tried to eat it.
David Petraeus: It turned out to be a very poorly behaved raccoon, so we did end up sending SEAL Team 6 into the Oval Office to shoot it in the head, but that didn’t bring us any closer to finding bin Laden.
John O. Brennan: We got so many people falsely reporting that they had captured bin Laden to just claim the gift certificate to Outback Steakhouse that we had to make the reward less appealing. We announced that anyone who brought us Osama bin Laden would receive a free 30-minute guitar lesson from Henry Kissinger. Fewer people wanted this reward, so we stopped getting so many false reports of people capturing bin Laden.
Donald Rumsfeld: I looked high and low for Osama bin Laden all the time, even when it was raining. I looked under a big pile of leaves, and I looked behind my couch, and I looked behind a small bottle of soda. He was not anywhere. The man was a ghost. Completely impossible to find.
George W. Bush: One time in 2004, I was driving my car down a highway in Virginia and my car smashed into something at top velocity. I thought to myself, “Yes! I’ve done it! I’ve killed Osama bin Laden with my car!” but when I got out of my car to look at bin Laden’s body and check his pockets for mints, I saw that I hadn’t run over Osama bin Laden. I had just run over some stupid deer. I said to the deer, “Why couldn’t you have been Osama bin Laden, you idiot?” And then the deer died and I ate the deer and its rancid old meat gave me a parasite in my brain that makes me see into the future, but incorrectly.
Condoleezza Rice (secretary of state, George W. Bush’s second term): My greatest wish was that we could have caught Osama bin Laden before President Bush left office. The closest we ever got was in 2003. A CIA agent living undercover in Afghanistan saw Osama bin Laden starring in a commercial for something called “Chess Cream.” In the commercial, bin Laden came on the screen and said, “Hello, I’m Osama bin Laden from 9/11 and community softball. I live in Afghanistan, and when I want to make my chess pieces slippery and toxic, there’s nothing better to rub on your chess pieces than Chess Cream.” That commercial had been a huge mistake for bin Laden because it tipped us off that he was living in Afghanistan, so we sent Donald Rumsfeld by himself to go look for him there.
Donald Rumsfeld: I went to Afghanistan and I looked for Osama bin Laden inside of a trash can and in a shoe store and underneath my bed at the airport hotel. He wasn’t in any of those places. I called up my wife and asked her for permission to look for him in the hotel bathroom, but my wife said I couldn’t look for him in the hotel bathroom because bathrooms were private places where wives go to accomplish the unthinkable without their husbands barging in and ruining it for them. So I couldn’t look in the bathroom. The trail had gone cold. He had escaped from us again.
George W. Bush: I want to thank the incredible people at Chess Cream for making a superior product that keeps my chess pieces slippery at all times. I love you, Chess Cream. The tube that squirts out my Chess Cream says not to eat Chess Cream because it’s highly toxic and it makes you hear bells that aren’t there, but I eat it anyway. I love the sound of bells.
Chapter 2: Barack Obama Joins The Hunt (January-June, 2009)
Despite the Bush administration’s ceaseless efforts to capture Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader managed to evade them at every turn. Bush left office in 2009 without tracking down the mastermind behind 9/11. The manhunt for Osama bin Laden now fell to Bush’s successor, and like Bush, he was determined to stop at nothing until bin Laden was brought to justice.
Barack Obama (44th president of the United States): When I took office, I had two goals. The first goal was to track down Osama bin Laden, who was the fat guy from 9/11. The second was to track down John Wayne’s Ruby, which is a beautiful ruby that the actor John Wayne used to carry around in his mouth to make him sound more like a cowboy. Right before John Wayne died, he spit his ruby into the ocean and said, “Now it’s time for this old cowboy to mosey on off to heaven, where the angels will torture me with fire for all eternity.”
Hillary Clinton (secretary of state, Obama administration): President Obama called Joe Biden and me into his office, and he said to us, “I need one of you to look for Osama bin Laden, and I need one of you to look for John Wayne’s Ruby.” And Biden and I said, “Fat chance, you big doofus, we’re both going to look for John Wayne’s Ruby.”
Joe Biden (vice president, Obama administration): I came down with a terrible case of ruby fever.
Barack Obama: One morning, I walked into the Oval Office, and I saw that Joe Biden had ripped open Jimmy Carter’s stomach on the floor and was rummaging through his organs. He was looking inside of him for John Wayne’s Ruby.
Joe Biden: I had realized that the name “President Jimmy Carter” was Spanish for “Gluttonous Jewel Boy.” That was my first clue that Jimmy Carter might have John Wayne’s Ruby somewhere inside of his stomach.
Barack Obama: And Jimmy Carter was begging Vice President Biden to put him back together and to make him a normal boy again, but Biden kept saying, “I will find the ruby in you!” And Hillary Clinton was standing on the other side of the room screaming at Biden, “Check his pockets, Joe! Check his pockets for the ruby!” It was really just a big mess.
Joe Biden: A lot of jewels fell out of Jimmy Carter’s stomach, but none of them were John Wayne’s Ruby. I had to keep looking. The ruby fever had claimed my mind and made my brain look like Swiss cheese.
Dick Cheney: One time during Christmas in 2006, I was walking past a nativity scene outside the local church, and I noticed that Osama bin Laden was posing as a Wise Man who was dangling a bag of AA batteries over the cradle of the Baby Jesus. I said, “Osama bin Laden! Get out of that nativity scene and drive straight to jail! You are in so much trouble!” But Osama bin Laden just ignored me, and he picked up the plastic model of Joseph from the nativity scene and he carried it to his Chrysler convertible and he kissed the plastic Joseph right on the mouth and drove away. I had come within inches of catching him, but he had escaped yet again.
Barack Obama: Vice President Biden and Secretary Clinton had become unhelpful to me because of their ruby fever. Every single day it was “ruby this” and “ruby that” and, “There’s nobody I wouldn’t kill to find the ruby.” It seemed like my presidency was falling apart. I was taking a hit in the press. Two of my closest advisers had become completely consumed by the hunt for John Wayne’s Ruby. My idea to add a statue of John Wilkes Booth sneaking up behind the Lincoln Memorial with a gun had been absolutely torn to shreds by Republicans and Democrats. I needed a win. I needed to kill Osama bin Laden, and I was going to stop at nothing until I found him.
Chapter 3: Finding Osama Bin Laden
President Obama had made his intentions to kill Osama bin Laden abundantly clear, but in order to kill bin Laden, he would have to find him first. Locating Osama bin Laden was one of the most strenuous intelligence operations in U.S. history, and the road to locating the most wanted man alive was marked by obstacles and setbacks at every turn.
John O. Brennan: In the CIA, we had many tactics for trying to find and capture Osama bin Laden. Our main strategy was to send a man who smelled like Osama bin Laden to show his ass to the gorillas at the San Diego Zoo. This made the gorillas furious, and they would scream with rage. They thought the man who was mooning them really was Osama bin Laden because the smell was so similar. In this way, we trained the gorillas to hate Osama bin Laden for showing them his ass.
David Petraeus: Once we had taught the gorillas to hate Osama bin Laden, we set those furious apes loose inside of the Mall of America. That way, if the gorillas found Osama bin Laden hiding in the mall, they would think that this was the man who had mooned them, and they would kill him.
Barack Obama: I truly thought Operation Vengeful Gorilla would work, but instead of killing Osama bin Laden, the gorillas just went on a rampage inside the Mall of America. One of them ate a boy. Another one broke a $600 speaker system at Best Buy that the U.S. Military had to pay for. A third gorilla wandered into a tattoo parlor and got a tattoo on his gigantic ape chest that said, “Hungry For COINS.” We had to euthanize the gorillas by blowing up their heads with fireworks until they fell asleep. The operation was a complete failure, and we were no closer to finding bin Laden.
Joe Biden: One time deep in the jungles of the Amazon searching for John Wayne’s Ruby, I saw Osama bin Laden hand a toucan a $10 bill, and in return the toucan gave him a AA battery. I was about to arrest him, when all of a sudden, my Ruby Fever kicked in and scrambled my brains. I shouted to Osama bin Laden, “Hey, dude! I don’t care about you! I need to go find the ruby that makes me insane!” and Osama bin Laden said, “Don’t ever burden me with the inane bullshit of your daily life ever again!” And then we went our separate ways.
Barack Obama: One night I received a phone call from the CIA informing me that Osama bin Laden had been arrested in Vermont. I was so happy.
Joe Biden: According to intelligence reports, Osama bin Laden had traveled to Vermont because he wanted to go the Ben & Jerry’s factory to convince Ben and Jerry to kill each other.
John O. Brennan: The police found bin Laden in Vermont standing outside the factory holding a sign that said, “Hello, Ben: Jerry says you are a whiner and your wife is too tall. You should kill him.”
Barack Obama: I thought to myself, “We’ve caught him! We’ve caught Osama bin Laden! I did it!” Unfortunately, it turns out that in the state of Vermont, 9/11 was legally classified as an act of vandalism. Osama bin Laden was sentenced to five weeks of community service for defacing public property and disturbing the peace.
David Petraeus: Osama bin Laden was extremely good at community service. He cleaned up a park all by himself, and he dug a big hole outside of a public elementary school where the children of Vermont could go if they decided they wanted to live underground. He also went above and beyond and painted a big mural on the side of Vermont’s capitol building of an adult-size Buzz Lightyear signing the Declaration of Independence. While Buzz is signing the declaration, Alexander Hamilton is standing next to him with a speech bubble that says, “I want to leave my wife for you,” and Buzz Lightyear has a speech bubble that says, “Sorry, Hambone, but my heart belongs to Osama bin Laden.” It’s a beautiful mural.
Barack Obama: Osama bin Laden was the model public servant, but once he had served his five-week vandalism sentence, he went back to Afghanistan, and we lost track of him again.
Dick Cheney: One day I was watching a PBS telethon to raise money to send the California Raisins to massage school. It was a very enjoyable program, and at one point one of the California Raisins came on stage and talked about how he hated singing and he wanted to become a masseur so that he could give a massage to his whole family. Suddenly, the camera cuts to the people taking calls, and I gasp because one of the people working the phones at this PBS telethon was Osama bin Laden. So I grabbed my phone and I called him, and I see him pick up the phone on TV and I yell into the phone, “Osama bin Laden, what are you doing? You’re in so much trouble! You have to stop working at the telethon.” And Osama bin Laden just hung up the phone and sat waiting for the next call. The California Raisins did get to go to massage school, and they all started massaging each other on stage instead of playing music, and a lot of people thought that that was not the right creative decision. I don’t have a preference one way or the other.
John O. Brennan: Eventually it became clear that the United States government was incapable of tracking down Osama bin Laden without help. If we were ever going to catch him, then we needed someone who knew bin Laden’s location to come forward to tell us where he was hiding.
Mishal Alamgir (Osama bin Laden’s neighbor, 2009-2011): Osama bin Laden is a bad neighbor. He would come to my house at night with a big bag of AA batteries and jiggle them in my window and yell, “I have got them! I have got the Duracell jewels!” and I would have to yell, “Shut up! Shut up! Osama bin Laden! It’s 3 in the morning, and I hate your batteries!” Also, he told me that he had had sex with Remy, the rat from the Pixar movie Ratatouille, and I would say, “Nuh-uh! Not true! That is a fake rat!” but all of his al-Qaeda stooges would nod and say, “Oh yes, Osama did have sex with Remy the rat. He had sex with Remy the rat to celebrate 9/11.” They knew it wasn’t true, but they were just backing him up because he was in charge of them. I hated Osama bin Laden, and I knew that as soon as I could, I would turn him in to the police so they could kill him.
David Petraeus: One day, the CIA received an encrypted email from an unknown computer. We decrypted the email and found out that it said, “I hate my neighbor.” This seemed like nothing to us, so we ignored it at first. But about six months later, we received another encrypted email from the same source that said, “My neighbor’s name is Osama bin Laden. Please come to my neighborhood and destroy him.” We know now that this was an email from Mishal Alamgir, but back then, we weren’t sure if we could trust the email. We get false leads like this all the time.
Mishal Alamgir: One time during my 9-year-old daughter’s piano recital, my miserable neighbor Osama bin Laden burst into the concert hall, pushed my daughter onto the floor, and started banging on the piano and singing an original song he had written called, “I Am The Earl Of Batteries.” It was a song about how he had the most AA batteries in Pakistan and his stupid neighbor Mishal didn’t deserve to have any batteries at all. I started shouting, “Osama bin Laden, you do 9/11 to me every day just by living next door to me.” But Osama bin Laden didn’t listen to me. Instead, he launched into a part of the song where he sang about how his body was covered with barnacles like the bottom of a rusty boat, and in the night Woody and Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story crawled all over his body and ate the barnacles off of him like remora fish, and I said, “That is not true! Woody is a fake cowboy, and Buzz Lightyear died from mercury poisoning in 1996!” but all of bin Laden’s al-Qaeda friends all said, “No, this is true. Woody and Buzz crawl all over Osama bin Laden and eat all of the barnacles off of him.” They knew Osama bin Laden was lying, but they had to back him up because he was in charge of their terrorism club.
Barack Obama: Thanks to Mishal Alamgir bravely coming forward and revealing the location of Osama bin Laden, we were finally able to track him down and make plans to bring him to justice.
Mishal Alamgir: Many people say I was a hero because I told the police where they could come find Osama bin Laden and kill him in front of me while I smiled and smiled. But I am not a hero. I am just a man who got tired of my neighbor Osama bin Laden calling me at 4 in the morning to say things like, “Hello, neighbor. Every Christmas the old man from Up comes to my house, and we give each other steroid injections.” I don’t want to hear that kind of bad stuff. And that is why I asked the police to come out of the sky in a helicopter and kill my neighbor. It’s what anyone else in my situation would have done.
Chapter 4: Killing Bin Laden: The Abbottabad Raid
In 2011, after a tireless search and countless dead ends, the United States finally pinpointed Osama bin Laden’s location to a residential compound in the city of Abbottabad, Pakistan. The raid was to be carried out by the elite Navy SEAL Team 6, one of the most highly trained and secretive organizations in the military. Under the supervision of President Obama and high-ranking military personnel, SEAL Team 6 planned and executed the raid that they hoped would end with the death or capture of the most wanted fugitive in the history of the world.
Barack Obama: The plan for the raid was simple: The members of SEAL Team 6 would infiltrate Osama bin Laden’s compound by disguising themselves as PlayStation cleaners.
David O. Brennan: We had one of the SEAL Team 6 members call up the White House on Skype, and then had him run around Osama bin Laden’s house with his laptop open, pointing his webcam at everything so that we could watch the raid unfold in the Situation Room.
Navy SEAL Mitchell K. (SEAL Team 6 member, name changed to preserve anonymity): My men and I arrived at Osama bin Laden’s house, and we were all carrying mops and wearing suspenders. Bin Laden answered the door, and we said, “We are here to kill the bugs in your house.” And bin Laden said, “It’s about time. My PlayStation has become filthy. I poured honey on it in order to turn it into a mousetrap.”
David O. Brennan: When bin Laden let SEAL Team 6 into his home to wash his PlayStation, that was the first time I realized we might actually have a shot at finally catching him.
Navy SEAL Mitchell K.: SEAL Team 6 has about 30,000 people in it, and all of us were rubbing Osama bin Laden’s PlayStation with our mops. It became the cleanest PlayStation in the world. When we were finished, Osama bin Laden tried to pay us in AA batteries.
David Petraeus: Osama bin Laden had some sort of idea about the economy where he had converted all of his money into AA batteries. We once received an intelligence report that he had tried to buy 300 Austin Powers masks from a Halloween store by giving the cashier a plastic bag of AA batteries and referring to the batteries as “Bitcoin.” I wish Osama bin Laden were still alive so that I could teach him about the economy.
Navy SEAL Mitchell K.: Once we were done washing bin Laden’s PlayStation, we took off our suspenders to reveal our Navy SEALs uniforms. As soon as he realized that the United States military had found him, bin Laden started running from room to room screaming, “Don’t yell at me! Don’t yell at me!”
Hillary Clinton: Joe Biden and I were in the Situation Room during the raid, but we weren’t really paying attention to the Navy SEALS. We were on our computers typing the words “John Wayne’s Treasure” and “Dead cowboy’s GEMS” into Google Maps.
Navy SEAL Mitchell K.: We finally cornered bin Laden. He had nowhere else to run. I pointed my gun at him, and I said, “Any last words, Osama bin Laden?” and Osama bin Laden said, “One Christmas when I was injecting steroids into the old man from Up, he told me that he ended up eating the little boy from Up, just to see if he could do it.” Then before I could shoot him he died of old age.
Chapter 5: The Burial At Sea
The mission to locate and kill Osama bin Laden had been a success. Eight years after 9/11, the mastermind behind the terrible attacks had finally been brought to justice. All that remained was to dispose of the body.
Barack Obama: We buried Osama bin Laden at sea because even though he was our enemy, we wanted to honor his last will and testament. The American way is to ruthlessly slaughter our enemies without mercy, but to be as nice as possible about it.
Navy SEAL Mitchell K.: The full text of Osama bin Laden’s will read, “Bury me someplace wet and give my pornography to the magician David Blaine. 9/11.”
David Blaine (celebrity magician, Osama bin Laden’s heir): The morning after Osama bin Laden died, a five-star general from the army knocked on my door and said, “Are you David Blaine?” and I said, “Yeah,” and he said, “Here’s a minivan filled with Osama bin Laden’s pornography.” And I said, “I don’t want this.” And the general said, “I didn’t ask if you wanted it. I just asked if you were David Blaine.” Then he left this big mountain of Osama bin Laden’s pornography on my doorstep and drove away.
Navy SEAL Mitchell K.: After we delivered the porn to David Blaine, the next step was to bury Osama bin Laden someplace wet.
David Petraeus: The first thing we tried was to jam bin Laden’s corpse into an inner tube and let him circulate around the Lazy River at Six Flags, but one of the kids said the corpse waved at him while he was floating down the Lazy River, plus the smell was starting to attract seagulls, so we had to bury him someplace else.
Barack Obama: We threw Osama bin Laden in the ocean, and he was immediately caught on the fishing line of a man who was on a fishing trip with his son. The man reeled in Osama bin Laden’s corpse, and the son started crying. The father tried to cheer up his son by jiggling bin Laden’s corpse so it looked like it was dancing, but that just made the son cry harder.
Chapter 6: Life After Bin Laden
Many years have passed since the Abbottabad raid and the death of Osama bin Laden, and in his absence the world has found itself engulfed in new crises and conflicts. Yet the legacy of history’s most wanted fugitive still looms large, and the ramifications of bin Laden’s death are still being felt today. How has the death of Osama bin Laden affected the people who spent so long searching for him, and, more importantly, how has his death affected the world?
David O. Brennan: A lot has changed since Osama bin Laden died. Osama bin Laden used to be the world’s only terrorist, but now a lot of people are terrorists.
Mishal Alamgir: When Osama bin Laden was killed, I thought I was done with him forever, but on the Christmas Eve after he died, I heard a knock on my door at 4 a.m. I opened the door, and standing there on my porch was the old man from Up. His entire body was bulging with enormous muscles because Osama bin Laden had injected him with steroids every Christmas for years. He was wearing nothing but a pair of Wrangler jeans, and he was holding Osama bin Laden’s corpse over his head. The old man from Up said to me, “This is Christmas for you now,” and then he dropped Osama bin Laden’s corpse at my feet and he made me inject him and Osama bin Laden’s corpse with steroids. Then he picked Osama bin Laden back up over his head and walked away with him into the desert. This happens to me every Christmas now, and every year Osama bin Laden’s corpse gets more and more muscular. Osama bin Laden’s corpse could win the Mr. Universe pageant because of my Christmastime steroid injections. Even in death, he is ruining my life. He is the worst neighbor I have ever had.
Donald Rumsfeld: I used to look everywhere for Osama bin Laden, but now I don’t look anywhere for him. One time last year, just to be safe, I looked behind my refrigerator to see if Osama bin Laden was hiding there, but there was nobody there except for a cricket the size of a man.
Barack Obama: To this day, killing Osama bin Laden remains one of my greatest accomplishments as president. When I go to restaurants, I sometimes let the waiter know that I killed Osama bin Laden, and they bring me some extra ketchup packets.
Bo Obama (Obama family dog): A lot of people say that a dog cannot have sex with a tortoise, but guess what, motherfuckers? I did that! Old Bo Obama got nasty with an ancient turtle! I got to fly to the Galápagos Islands on Air Force One, and I found the most shriveled-up tortoise on the island. It was a super-old one, and its bones were all pretzeled up with history. And I went up to that tortoise and I said, “Now we shall make the unthinkable union. Dog and tortoise becoming one in the most revolting romance anyone has ever thought about.” And the ancient tortoise looked at me and said, “Belmumpo.” I don’t know what “belmumpo” means. It’s not a word. The tortoise was a real imbecile, on account of being a turtle who was born before the pyramids. And then the tortoise and I made love in the missionary position, and afterward the Secret Service let me shit in the ocean. Then the tortoise laid an egg, and this truly disgusting dog-tortoise hybrid crawled out of it. It was like a turtle with fur, and its shell was a giant black dog’s nose that jiggled around on its back. And my monstrous child said, “Where is my father?” and I said, “The ocean is your father, muchacho. Do not ever try to contact me.” Then I went home and bit Joe Biden on the arm. Michelle Obama tried to put me to sleep, but guess what idiots, I woke up.
Joe Biden: Even after all of these years, with Osama bin Laden’s corpse flopping around in the beautiful lost city of Atlantis, still John Wayne’s Ruby eludes me. But as long as there is breath in my body I will search the world for that jewel, and if I see you on the streets, I will stick my hands in your pockets and I will say, “Now let me get my hands on the fabulous jewel that drives me insane! The one that belongs to the dead fake cowboy!” And if I don’t find the ruby in your pockets, I will check the pockets of the next person and the next person. At this point, I need the hunt more than I need the ruby. I’m the guy that sticks his hands into people’s pockets looking for a pretend cowboy’s treasure, and if I didn’t have that endless search to define me, I’d be nobody at all.