Tag Archives: anger

Monkeys

Well.

You know those times when you have a day that should have been a really good day–and it WAS a really good day–but then one person says one pissant thing and bursts the whole bubble?  And you keep telling yourself “Let it go!  Let it go!  That’s about them, not about you!  Kumbayah, My Lord, Kumbayah!” but your mind floooooooaaaats back to that meanness?  And by the end of the day you think you’ve forgotten about it but as soon as you sit in the car and take a deep breath before turning your mind to what to cook for dinner and who has homework left to do…then all of a sudden you’re CRYING?  And it’s not sad crying, it’s MAD crying?  Then 20 minutes later you’re back to thinking about meanness and wondering if you still remember the finer points of rolling toilet paper all over someone’s yard?  But you can’t do that because your husband is at a conference and you can’t leave the kids alone long enough to go t.p. some trees…oh, and you’re out of toilet paper?  And you can’t take the kids with you because you’d be setting a bad example and besides they suck at being stealthy?

Anyway.

I may or may not have had a day like that today.  Mind keeps floating back to meanness.  Retaliation.  Comeuppance.  (That’s twice in a week I’ve used “comeuppance” in a post so I think it might be time for a spa day.)

Days like today, I recall an old Polish Proverb:  “Not my circus, not my monkeys.”  It’s their clever way of saying “Not my problem” at the same time recognizing that life is essentially a circus filled with shit-flinging monkeys.  Circuses are fun, but they do smell.  

So I made a little picture to unleash my creative side.  If you find yourself surrounded by monkeys some day, print this out and tape it above your desk at work.  Or home.  Depends on the monkeys.  

monkey

I Should Have Slugged Him: My Husband Confesses to an Affair

woman slapping manThis story contains scenes that some readers may find disturbing.  It contains strong language, mild violence, and mockery of a Braves legend.  Baseball fans and cuckolds are strongly cautioned.  Intended for immature audiences only.

Here’s the story of the April night in the year 2000 when I found out why Fartbuster had moved out of our house.  We had been separated for three weeks.  I was parking my car in the middle of the garage and already cooking for one.  He and I talked every day and cried just about every day.  I just couldn’t get it through my head WHY he had moved in with his friend downtown when he was telling me every day how much he wanted to be back together.

So one night he came over for dinner and drama.  We were sitting on the couch with our dogs–pretty normal night.  He started crying first, which usually meant that I would end up crying most.

“I’m not good enough for you.  You deserve better.”  He sobbed.  I patted his knee and assured him that that was not the case.  He was a WONDERFUL person.  Ominously, he peeped at me out of the wet corner of his eye and said, “You don’t know everything.”  

I didn’t say a word.  My heart stopped then raced to catch itself.  “What don’t I know?”

“I had an affair.”

Well.  What’s a wife supposed to say to that?

This wife, being a bit of a codependent class clown typemade a joke.  A bad joke.  The dissolution of our marriage happened just a few months after the public meltdown of Chipper Jones’ first marriage–when he confessed to fathering a child with a Hooters waitress.  I don’t follow baseball, but Chipper had been married to a girl I knew from college.  I had felt so awful for her when he was busted–the situation was terrible enough, but imagine having the world discussing your cheating husband on drive time radio shows and Entertainment Tonight?  So to lighten the mood in our living room that night–oh, when will I ever learn???–I said:

“At least you didn’t get a Hooters waitress pregnant, right?”

He froze.

I froze.  

Holy shit.

I lifted my hand off his knee.  He hopped up off the couch and got a safe distance away before he turned to face me.  “Not exactly…but pretty close.”

Every sound in the world was replaced by the buzzing inside my head, a metallic hum that seemed to begin deep in my bones and rattle through my body.  “Ah,” I whispered.  “She doesn’t work at Hooters.”

“Yeah.”  He stared at me to make sure I had put two and two together.  Or one and one and gotten three.

He started babbling about how he had cheated but knew it was wrong and he had ended it but then she had turned up saying she was pregnant and that was why he had moved out–to clear things up with her.  He planned to come back to me as if nothing had ever happened.  As if.  His fancy German therapist had pointed out the problem with this logic and had suggested that Fartbuster come clean to me if he ever hoped to patch our marriage back together.  I had to know the truth.

And now I did.

Like you might expect, I stomped and screamed and shrieked while he stood there with a hangdog expression in the middle of the living room.  The dogs hightailed it for the bedroom.  I tore off my heavy gold wedding band and beaned at his head, but I telegraphed my pitch and he had time to dodge it.  He scooped the ring from the floor after it bounced off the fireplace and held it between his hands.  He was still crying.

I dropped into a chair as my fury dissolved into anguish.  It was my turn to cry.

He approached me hesitantly.  It’s hard to know if you can comfort someone when you’re the one who dealt the blow.

“Don’t you dare lay a finger on me,” I snarled.  Then I hung my head and sobbed.  He knelt on the floor before me, so still and just a foot away, my wedding ring still in his hand.

We sat frozen there for a long time, like some mockery of a marriage proposal–him on bended knee with a ring and me weeping.

He reached out slowly and touched my hair.  I let him.

I whimpered, “This hurts so bad. …. I want you to hurt like this.  ….I want to hit you.”

He stretched his arms open wide and smiled.  “Do it!  Hit me!  I’d feel better if you did.”

We both laughed as he continued to encourage me to punch him.  “C’mon…this is your chance…”

“No.  I’m not going to.”  Laughing with him like that, like old times, minutes after he confessed to pulling a Chipper?  My fury flamed back.  “I don’t want you to feel better.  I don’t want you to think that makes up for any of this.”  I snatched the ring out of his hand.  “And I’m keeping this.  I can always melt it down and make a pair of earrings.”

Well.  That was the beginning of a long journey–a year it took us to finally go our separate ways.  I think back sometimes to that moment, that choice I made to withhold my fist and not beat the shit out of him.  I didn’t want his atonement to be that easy.  A punch in the face was nothing compared to the punch in the gut that he had dealt me with his confession.  I took the high road that night, but there were many many times in that year when I wished I had walloped him.  Swung for the fence.  Smashed a tater.  Blasted a homer.  Belted him.  Slugged him.  Knocked a four-bagger.  Hammer time.

But if I had, I would have chipped away at the awful burden that he had to carry.  If I had hit him, he would have walked to first.

 

P.S.  – The ex-Mrs. Jones, Karin Luis, has flown far far above where she ever could have gotten with that turkey.  She’s a therapist, author, and speaker who focuses on women’s resiliency and spiritual development. She is co-auther of the book The Fatherless Daughter Project. Check her out on Facebook as “Dr. Karin” or on her website.

An Unknown Soldier

Veterans’ Day and Memorial Day make me sad because my late husband, Richard, was not quite a veteran but his service to his country killed him.  

His first career was as an aerospace engineer.  He worked for the Army Research Lab at Aberdeen Proving Ground–a civilian who got a paycheck from the Army.  This career happened years before we met.  I asked him what exactly he did and he answered, “If something that flies blew up but wasn’t supposed to blow up–I investigated that.  If something that flies didn’t blow up when it was supposed to blow up–I investigated that too.”  

SCUD shot down by Patriot missile.  Richard's not in this picture.  But this is what he did for the Army.

SCUD shot down by Patriot missile. Richard’s not in this picture. But this is what he did for the Army.

He went to Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm to document the performance of the Patriot Missile System (was supposed to blow up–sometimes did, sometimes didn’t, often blew up the wrong target).  He even testified before Congress during the hearings about the Patriot.  

I have snapshots of him in the desert, in Army camo, Army-issued sidearm and everything, standing next to SCUD missiles (the ones that didn’t blow up).  He investigated the terrorist bombing of Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia.  He worked on the Blackhawk Down helicopter crash from Somalia.  But he wasn’t a veteran.  

His investigative work wasn’t limited to Army aircraft.  In 2003 we were sitting in a hot tub in Bermuda at sunset and struck up a conversation with a lively couple.  They were part of a large group, there for a family reunion.  After a while, the wife revealed to us that they were there courtesy of Muammar Gaddafi, who had finally paid a financial settlement to the families of the people killed in the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.  They were one of those families who had lost a daughter 15 years before that night in Bermuda.  Now that Gaddafi had paid millions in blood money, this couple were treating the people who had helped them survive their loss to a vacation.  Richard tensed up beside me.  After they left the hot tub, I asked him, “Did you work on that one?”  He nodded.  

On 9/11, he could barely speak through his rage–because he had worked on the investigation the first time terrorists had tried to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993.  Now that they had finally done it, he was no longer in the game.  He had moved on to being a business professor.  

One year on Veterans’ Day, we were watching the broadcast of the laying of a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  I shed a few tears.  He sat stoically, holding my hand.  I asked, “Doesn’t it make you sad?”  He answered, “It is sad.  But it also makes me proud that I did my part.  I helped.”

cytoloy

Hemophagocytic histiocytes in bone marrow

Thirteen years passed since those days when Richard traveled the world wearing Army fatigues, getting an Army paycheck, on Army transport…but not a veteran.  When Richard developed a viciously aggressive form of leukemia at the age of 37, his doctors concluded that the cause was most certainly benzene exposure.  Why were they so sure?  Because the damage to his chromosomes was so severe that it couldn’t be a fluke.  Because 13 years is the incubation period for that kind of leukemia.  Thirteen years earlier, he had been blowing up or reassembling all kinds of aircraft.  And aircraft fuel is high in benzene.  The office that Richard worked in, investigating all those explosions was situated in a converted aircraft hangar.  When the Army Research Lab converted the space to a laboratory, they didn’t bother to dig up the old fuel tanks or test the soil to see if it was contaminated.  

If he had had any other job, he wouldn’t have died.  If he had even had a different office, he wouldn’t have died.   

All that work he did keeping our soldiers safe killed him.  That’s why I feel conflicted on Veterans’ Day.  I wish he had heard “thank you” for the work he did.  Or “we’re sorry” from the Army.  I am proud to know there are soldiers who have made it home because of something he figured out in that lab.  He gave his life in that lab.