Monday, June 25, 2007

Life Is Short -- Get A Divorce

Not so long ago, a lawyer in Chicago put up ads saying, Life Is Short -- Get A Divorce. The ads contained an attractive man and woman in various stages of undress and upset people so much that they had to be removed from billboards. People's objections went along the lines of the fact that the billboards trivialized marriage (hard to believe that a convention that can take place in Vegas performed by an Elvis impersonator could be trivialized!) and that they were signs of a society gone to pot, a society in which the old could be shed for the new without a second thought. I didn't get my divorce for any reasons having to do with boredom, and I suppose most people don't. Most people I know can only break up with someone by gnawing their own arm off, losing vital bits of their identity and soul. At the very least, they aren't swayed by a billboard. The fact that it threatens couples interest me far more than any kind of effect it might have on someone actually considering the act.

I don't know where all the zero body fat men in Calvin Klein underpants were after my divorce like on the billboard-- my first post-divorce date offer came from a man at work that people referred to as Shamu (after the killer whale) who said, I've got a buy one get one free coupon to the Golden Corral. Ever on a diet in those days, I did not eat at places that were named after animals troughs if I could help it. I had to decline. I had to sit at home and evaluate my options -- Lean Cuisine or Healthy Choice, movie or book, deal or no fricking deal. I did not imagine my life would become magically glamorous, and it didn't. But I did become a pariah to many a couple who feared contagion (a valid fear given that break-ups tend to beget break-ups) and became a friend to those who might be considering something else than the love that had turned to tedium in their own lives. I was no billboard and never will be, but when you're looking for a message, you'll take what you can get.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"One man's remorse is another's reminiscence." Gerald Bath

Cocktail Hour
Drinking music suggestion: The Black Rider Tom Waits

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Sunday!


the walking man said...

I guess the attorney was right on for my first wife, that was one short ass marriage. And you are right about break ups beget break ups because after my wife got rid of me three of her brothers got rid of their wives.

People trivialize marriage not nearly naked pictures on billboards..great post



Susan Miller said...

I had planned to do a post on this and may still. Your take on it has such a compassionate feel, and it makes me feel ashamed of the way I saw it.

And you're right...the knawing of the arm, the fear of the predators wanting to take you to the trough and then those nice small decisions your left with afterwards.

Thank you for writing, Michelle.

eric313 said...

It sucks for two people to try and separate back to their original state.

When a whole familly is involved, it is far worse. Life is short, get divorced, screw the kids. That'll make a person gnaw their arm off, but not to get away from a person--it's how you keep company with utter rejection that niobody else will understand. It starts as fingernail biting and progresses to the wrist, the elbow, and beyond that to the soul. And you don't even need to be reminded of it; it plays out as you try to sleep, or drive or eat. It is there when you sit quietly alone in the dark. It is there every time you do those many things you know better than to do but do anyway. Fill in your own blanks, if neccesary.

Sorry. I know you didn't write it with familly or kids in mind, but the subject speaks a different tune to each listener.

Elvis preacher in a sin city convention or not--it is trivialized. Wait until the full force of this generation of half raised children trully takes over--if we can find the drive and confidence to do so. And then only if we stop gnawing long enough to understnad the damage we perpetuate against ourselves.

John Ricci said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cardinal Spellman said...

I have many Polish-American, Catholic friends in Chicago. I can easily imagine their taking offense to such a crude, self-serving billboard message. After all, Michelle, marriage is a sacred sacrament, an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace. Know of my prayers.

eric313 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Ricci said...

Dear Michelle
Lovely view and post, as always. And you speak a truth to those in complicated situations who know love. My son is resilient and well-served and very loved by all. He is quite prepared for the real world. I enjoyed Walking Man's and Susan Miller's comments, but Eric313 needs to be addressed.

Eric313 first of all divorce as been a fact of life in our society for the last fifty years or more. Do not take out the shortcomings of your stunted and diseased soul on Michelle, who is a lovely person and as someone noted recently very compassionate. I suggest that you look in the mirror at your hideous visage and then check yourself into a psychiatric ward. It might do you some good. Although I truly doubt it.

Why say goodbye? said...

Bleu, bleu, l'amour est bleu.

D'Augustine said...

the dates don't lie
or do all dates lie?
the truth is often
worse than falsehood
or the sad knowledge
contained within
the apple
by choice

look into my eyes
and speak the words:
are all men doomed
to this folly?
or is it trully
the debt of those
we make with lies
to pay the toll
on time

Legal Pub said...

Michelle, must admit that I was impressed by your blog. Several marriage strike posts exist on my site and I would really appreciate your comments on some of these topics.