January 26, 2020

About

Hello

You’d probably pass me on the street and never notice me. I’m just some early retiree—a getting-grey grandma—and sometimes humor essayist.

Well, actually, I hadn’t planned on retiring early, but that pesky unexpected nuclear explosion that occurred in my living room made that my only option. You see, my husband of 29 years ghosted me out of the blue. Bummer.

But we do all have our trials and tribulations, don’t we? Smile.

I have to say that surviving the total annihilation of one’s life is a stone cold trip any way you look at it.

Now don’t jump to conclusions and think I’m one of those Debbie Downers, forever crying in my soup because I’m not. Nope, not at all. Actually, I’m a pretty happy camper these days. An austere camper for sure, but a happy one nonetheless. LOL.

Long story short: Getting dumped by your husband and having your life implode aren’t things anyone would choose. But the good news is that neither of those things have to kill you, despite how it might feel at the time.

The Proverbial Silver Lining & The 30,000 Foot Flyover

As they say, the passage of time heals all wounds. Or, as was my case, the passage of time allows us to see that what appeared to be devastation at the time, was really for our good.

My twisted sense of humor finds immense entertainment in that revelation, as well as in reflecting back on the idiocy of my sappy reaction to my said cataclysms.

Yes indeed, after causing a national shortage of Puffs With Lotion due to all my crying, I found myself standing alone on a stage, blinded by this rude and very annoying spotlight.

Echoing through the empty auditorium was this very dramatic drum roll. A man in a black tuxedo stepped out of the shadows and handed me an envelope.

Confused, I furrowed my bow, and became suspicious. Thinking that I was about to be punked, I  scanned the area around me for Ashton Kutcher and a camera crew.

With none in sight, I felt safe opening the envelope. I found a gold-embossed card made of the finest linen card stock. I removed the protective parchment overlay. 

Printed there, in Comic Sans font, were these words:

“You were never in Camelot, my dear. And Nirvana? …  Just a grunge band from Seattle, sweetie. …Move on with your life … Like right now.

Wow! Slap to the forehead! I coulda had a V-8!

First Things First

Before I get lost in humor and start yucking it up too much, I need to say that some very real, very nasty things DID occur in my life. These nasty things were what thrust me into that spotlight.

Imagine my surprise when, with absolutely no warning [!] my Dearest Pumpkin hip-chucked me into the ditch as soon as he reconnected with his old girlfriend from high school via Classmates.com.

Kinda harsh, don’t cha think?

Please join me in a toast and a high-five to social media and living in the digital age.

To make things more interesting, little did I know that prior to his wonderful announcement, Dearest Pumpkin had been surreptitiously taking my name off all our joint credit cards and transferring our marital funds into HIS new individual account. I hate it when that happens.

Busy Beaver had also been buying gold for a while as well. I suppose he felt he needed to be as ‘liquid’ as possible when as the day came to fell the country with his new mistress and our money.

Girlfriend, without so much as a wink or a nod, Sweet Cheeks stepped to the open door of the airplane (our marriage), jumped out, pulled his ripcord, and went sailing off and through the wild blue yonder with a gal-pal he supposedly hadn’t seen in over 30 years.

Bless his heart, as they say in the south. He was kind enough to leave me with all the debts and obligations though. A real D.B. Cooper wanna-be, that one.

Wait, It Gets Even Better

Now, if all that weren’t enough, on the heels of all that monkey business, I was systematically undermined by a coven of witches … er … I mean direct reports at work.

My Three Musketeers had their eyes locked on to the brass ring, salivating at the prospect of possibly being awarded a share of my six-figure salary in the form of pay increases, should they be successful at getting me out of the way.

As often occurs in these kind of situations, a smear campaign was mounted and I soon became a pariah in the eyes of my so-called ‘friends’ and former colleagues.

As Don Henley Once Sang, “Get Over It’

I accept my accountability. I also admit that a great deal of my misfortune was my fault, seeing as how I did not effectively process the tsunami of gaslighting and overwhelming emotions in time to forestall the avalanche of destruction. It pains me to admit it, but in front of an arena full of gawkers, I succumbed to a very public breakdown.

Admittedly, not one of my my best moves.

My burgeoning list of 2000+ contacts in Outlook and glowing professional endorsements on LinkedIn shrank to paltry numbers.

Unable to mystically-magicly ‘snap out of it!, I was labeled by my employers as being ‘nuckin’futz’. The rumor mill came online, increased production, and ran all three shifts around the clock in overtime.

Word on the street was that I had ‘driven off the reservation’. I am not speculating; I know this to be a fact. My physician employers openly discussed this in front of staff members, who promptly rushed to tell me about it.

With blood in the water, a feeding frenzy of piranhas ensued. I was professionally maligned. My former peeps piled on and were enlisted as flying monkeys, eager participants in the smear campaign being waged against me.

Very regrettably, I crawled into fetal position and sank into a deep depression and gave up on life for quite a while. I cried uncontrollably, literally hours a day. People who knew me well did not think I’d live through it. I lost 80 pounds in about 4 months. Good times. Not.

Handing Over The Keys

That was then and this is now. I’m recovered. I’m much wiser now. My takeaway from all of this is that I realize how I lost control. Drained of energy and fight, I allowed everyone else to define the narrative of MY life.

For several years, I was paralyzed by the shock and shame of it all. My inability to counter the narrative in a timely manner cast me in a false and damaging light, doing irreparable damage to my professional reputation and earning ability.

Soon, I could no longer round up even one of the stellar professional references that had catapulted my career and money-making ability. The stigma of my situation spread through my sphere of influence quicker than the Rotovirus on a cruise ship at sea. It wasn’t long before no one would speak to me, return emails, or even acknowledge my texts.

Finally, unable to find a living wage job, and left with all the debts and no income, I went on to lose my residence and everything I owned. For the next several years, I existed by nomadically existing in my car, loitering at various Panera Bread locations 12-16 hours a day because I was essentially homeless.

And She’ll Have Fun, Fun, Fun Until Honda Takes Her 3 Cars Away

Sounds like a fun way to spend a multi-year holiday, doesn’t it? Trust me, there are better things to do with your time. Things like having an ingrown toenail excised without anesthesia.

Suffice it to say that my life was irrevocably changed, but the silver lining is that it was NOT permanently ruined, as I’m sure was my departing husband’s wish.

At the risk of sounding all New Age-y, the adage is true: ‘When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.’

Enter the hero in this story to save the day: my renewed sense of humor on steroids.

Oz, Tin Man & All That Foil

When I was able to start looking at my Runaway Romeo and all the flying monkeys as the foils they truly were, the light side of my story began to emerge.

No, silly! Not those kind of foils!

For those of you who skipped literature class too many times, a foil is a character with attributes that oppose another character, usually the protagonist. The foil character is used to highlight particular quality/qualities of the main character. A subplot can also work as a foil to the main plot.

So How Does This Relate To My Story You Might Be Wondering?

Simple. Once all these folks were reduced to nothing more than literary devices in my mind, writing about them became effortless—and fun.

The next question became which venue I should use to to spill the tea? … Blogging? … Twitter? … Facebook? … A screenplay? … Memoirs? … A tell-all expose?… All of them? … A combination of them? …

Oh wow … I had so many options.

Hmmm … So here I sit, rubbing my chin, and wondering what to do with all the things I’ve already written. Perhaps I should pitch them. Better yet, perhaps I should use them as a springboard and build on them. Perhaps I should use them to find a new career.

Something, like say—a paperback writer. LOL



Lyrics

Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?
It took me years to write, will you take a look?
It’s based on a novel bout a man not here 
And I need a job,
So I want to be a paperback writer,
Paperback writer.

It’s a dirty story of a dirty man,
And his crying wife doesn’t understand
All those bills arriving in the daily mail
It’s a steady job,
So she wants to be a paperback writer,
Paperback writer.

Paperback writer, paperback writer.
..
It’s a thousand essays, give or take a few.
I’ll be writing more in a week or two.
I could make it longer if you like the style.
I can change it ’round,
I just wanna be a paperback writer,
Paperback writer.
If you really like it you can have the rights.
It could make a million for you overnight.
If you must return it you can send it here,
But I need a break,
And I want to be a paperback writer,
Paperback writer.
Paperback writer, paperback writer.
Paperback writer, paperback writer.
Paperback writer, paperback writer.
Paperback writer, paperback writer.
Paperback writer…
Songwriters: John Lennon / Paul McCartney
Paperback Writer lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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