L ast week, I received one of those out of nowhere, cosmic bitchslaps we all get from time to time.
You know what I'm talking about... you're happy, maybe eating a donut with bacon sprinkles, probably washing it down with a beer, definitely listening to Ice Cube, and then WHAMMO! you discover someone's died, someone's betrayed you, or your cat's taken your wallet and left it in El Segundo. (Cheeky sunuvabitch.)
For me, it was discovering an ex-boyfriend -- the one I'd dated for the better part of a decade, and whom we will call Van Buren, because he has a presidential name -- was getting married. And I found this out second-hand. On fuggin' Facebook.
I was just killing a little time, trollin' the newsfeed and what was this? A funny picture of him with the caption, "Save Van Buren!" and WHAMMO! In the comments was the horrible truth.
Because I am a pretty lady who handles emotional disturbance with self-restraint, unparalleled grace and a preternatural equanimity, upon reading this, I began sweating like a fat kid at a pool party without his swim shirt. Then came the swearing, the dry heaves and the waterworks, complete with snot bubbles.
"I am NEVER going to be friends with another ex for as long as I live," I vowed to the stapler. "No more of this 'Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater, we can still be besties, our shared history and mutual affection is the basis of every great friendship' crap for me. No way. Henceforth, Stapey, I shall show no mercy."
I then grabbed my purse and keys and drove a different ex-boyfriend to the airport.
I told him what happened, and he noted that it "sucked." But further discussion of the situation seemed pointless. It's not like I wanted to get back together. I wasn't going to race into the church at the last minute, bang on the windows screaming his name and take him away with me on a bus, like Dustin Hoffman does in "The Graduate."
Pouting at the bottom of a pool for a little while is more my style, but really, I knew I'd get over the shock of it soon enough. It was time to change the subject.
"You're flying to Chicago for a baseball game, right?" I asked.
"No," he said. "I'm getting married."
Over the next couple of days, I revisited some of the more insane post-breakup ideas I've had over the years. A favorite: We break up, and you take a vow of celibacy, move to a remote island (the moon counts) and stay there. You can be happy and have a swell time, I'll even drop by and visit once in a while.
Obviously, that doesn't work because everyone would end up on Ex Island. The whole "Every girl/guy is somebody's daughter/son" saying is great and all, but it should be amended to "and someone's ex." Unless something's gone horribly wrong, or you're in middle school (in which case, you probably shouldn't be reading this) everyone we date is probably someone else's ex.
This is the way of the world, friends. You're gonna fall in love, then out, then realize a week later she still has your AC/DC concert shirt or he has your backup copy of "The Big Lebowski," and a little further down the road, they're gonna find somebody new and you're going to find out on Facebook. All you can do is acknowledge it, breathe it in, and then get back to that donut and beer. And while I wanna gently suggest you modify your eating habits, you've had a bad day, so knock yerself out. And turn that Ice Cube back on.