Closing Chapters

I moved away from home after I married and I have never lived in that part of the country again.

Oftentimes I have lamented the loss of friendships and casual interactions that distance has denied me. “Oh,” my college roommate (who remained in the state) might say… “I saw X in the grocery story and her daughter looks just like her.” or “I saw Y at dinner the other night and he told me all about his life and his travels.”

I envied that.

These chance reunions almost never happen to me…although I did once encounter a guy I had dated when I boarded an airplane in Germany with a newborn in my arms.

Our eyes met and when recognition came to him, he blurted out, “YOU… have a BABY!!!”

Go figure that comment….I guess I had previously been forever frozen in the perpetual fraternity-party-in-his-mind.

Anyway, although denied these blasts from the past for, lo, these many years, I did, very recently, have a shocking cyber-encounter with another Ex from my college days right here online. There he was on the New York Times webpage, photo and all, having been convicted of being one of these greedy, bad CEOs who seem to be going to prison like its the next step up from the Boardroom these days.

It made me sad.

Granted I never knew the CEO but I knew the Young Man when all the pages of our lives were laid out blank before us. Everything I knew about him gave every indication, that over time, his life story would be always an inspiring read. So if this is his closing chapter, I regret it for him. I think I’ll choose to keep HIM frozen in some perpetual sweet-moment-in-my mind, come to think of it.

Anyway, today I had lunch with friends…all of us long-time married to the first and only groom we ever had. Our conversation led me to think about old boyfriends, and near misses, and friends whose “choices” turned out to be not so nearly as fortunate as ours.

And, of course, celebrity/political scandals.

Lucky me , that at 21 years of age, I chose for a lifetime partner…. a man who has never “hiked the Appalachian trail” or been referred to in our local paper as “Client No 9.”

Lucky me, that I have never had to fear interns or pages…or eye suspiciously visits to the airport men’s room.

Yes, lucky me, that Fate never led Joan to the end of the church aisle with the likes of John Edwards or Al Gore or that ilk.

I feel for the women they DID marry…back when the pages were blank. I regret these last chapters for Elizabeth Edwards and Tipper Gore as well.

Which brings me to a odd personal realization.

Had I been in Elizabeth Edwards’ place, I might have been able to forgive Edwards the infidelity…if had it been with a beauty like Angelina Jolie or an intellect like Condaleeza Rice. I might even, in the darkest part of my heart, felt that his ability to attract such a woman added, in a perverse way, to his esteem and even to mine. Yes, I might have blushed and felt true sorrow at the betrayal, but I might also imagine my friends linking “Angelina”…. “Condeleeza” and…. uh, “Joan.”

I ask you, who could deny some small satisfaction, even under the circumstances, at being included in those ranks.

But…. Rielle Hunter?

Did ya see her on Oprah?

Forget the sex tape, I bet it’s the public release of any audio-tape of John and Rielle engaged in conversational hard core New Age drivel…that has Elizabeth living in fear. As odious as hearing Hubby expounding like a middle-aged enamored Frat Boy…far, far worse, is hearing the man who provided half the genetic material for your children….now spouting mantra yantra like a Astro-Swami to his new Baby-Mommy!

(I’m shivering as I write this!)

Edwards’ flake-out and choice of mistresses is so demeaning to his own intellectual reputation…former clients of his whose cases were lost…may now have grounds for appeal. Elizabeth will never be able to get past this mortifying linkage or the thought that he may have slept with his head under a crystal pyramid somewhere.

As for Al Gore,my friends and I agreed that whatever is going on there…. is something that even multiple homes several states apart…couldn’t remedy. Yes, there’s probably weariness with having climate doom and gloom at your dinner table, and the wind-farm blather, and his own Wind-Bag hypocrisy. But Tipper could have departed for alternative Gore lodgings to occasionally escape all that.

And personally I have my doubts that the Sex Poodle had any success with Larry David’s wife.

No I think it’s something else.

Did any of you read the Masseuse’s description of Al leading her to the bed and playing Pink’s “Dear Mr. President”…(some, get this, Bush protest song) on the Ipod and then throwing his stout self on top of the woman? She then shouts out “Get off me Lummox!” as he giggles and sings along in what she calls some bizarre “karaoke.”*

People, what is described here is apparently Al Gore in high torque seduction mode…

We are privy to something that if God were truly merciful, we never would have had to read.

So think….forty years that marriage lasted, didn’t it?

God bless that Tipper.

And we’ll leave it there.

* (page 12)


6 Responses

  1. Were Aristotle given an opportunity to assess our civilization, he’d likely find it especially disappointing in its elevation of things visual over things auditory. A man who loses his sight can still easily engage in conversation, whereas the “same” man who loses his hearing will never again be able to converse in the ways that first displayed to us the human being that he is.

    Hard to beat as an indicator of our auditory decline is the near ubiquity of loud music—even at gatherings and venues ostensibly designed to accommodate conversation. Great, perhaps, if you’re a twenty-year-old bag of hormones on the prowl for a curvaceous babe, not so great if you’re an adult who understands that what the lady wears on her ears says very little about what resides between them.

    In our low-life politicians we are reaping the harvest of sixty years of television and its inevitable celebration of image. News organizations themselves both advance and succumb to the imperative: How otherwise explain, for example, that nearly all the female commentators on Fox News—the most conservative (i.e., “serious”) of the networks—could compete for lead roles on “Desperate Housewives”?

    Here’s an opener that will enliven almost any discussion among friends: Limit presidential political debates to radio.

  2. Benny, I agree about the Desperate Housewives of Fox News.

    There is something non-serious, even off-putting about the typecasting. One wonders if they are culled from Trump sponsored pageant contestants who also possess law degrees.

    But let me not digress to the topic of beauty contestants. It calls up a difficult episode in my quiet life. 🙂

    I’ll try your conversational gambit at our dinner tonight.

  3. It has been said the most dangerous vice is Pride because all of the other deadly vices fall from it. Add to it the “coveting” created in advertising it is no wonder our culture continues its steady march downward.

    “My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand. ”

    Thich Nhat Hanh – Buddhist Monk

  4. I love that quote, Marco. It’s new to me but I’ll remember it. Thank you.

  5. There is a certain sadness that envelops one to read of a marriage that has irretrievably broken – the why and how of course are the purview of those involved (though of course there is the almost prurient interest that marks us as humans to desire to know) – the sadness comes from the knowledge that the hope, love, and dreams that the couple had on their wedding day have been trampled, cast aside, forgotten, destroyed. I have thought about this lately as my oldest son was married earlier this month. As I watched the radiant bride and groom profess their love before family and friends and promise to love and honor each other til death parts them, I hoped that their promise would hold true through the vicissitudes of life. Both bride and groom have parents who have been married for many years (to their first, and only spouse) and grandparents on both sides who celebrated more than fifty years of married life. If there is a gene for long and happy marriages, I hope that they both inherited that marker.
    The Edwards and Gore break-ups, however, show that even marriages of a long duration can founder. Too what extent they were unions whose seed of destruction existed from the beginning or were infected along the way only the participants can know. What does make one question are those who feel that they must proclaim how perfect their marriage is – this was a constant refrain of both the Gores and the Edwards. I always found that music to be just ever so discordant. Humans are not perfect, thus any endeavor or partnership in which they engage will not be perfect – though striving for perfection is an admirable goal. There will be stresses and strains in a marriage. How a couple meets those and how deep their love, respect, and friendship for each other will determine whether those stresses and strains make a marriage stronger or whether they will cause a rift so deep that the split cannot be bridged.
    The minister who officiated at my son’s wedding delivered a powerful sermon. She spoke of how lovely they looked – all dressed in their finest – a symbol of the importance that they gave to the occasion. But, she said, a marriage was realy about the work clothes that one puts on daily…that a good marriage requires hard work on a daily basis. Work is not a pejorative but a recognition that the two people involved must keep each other foremost in their minds and that God is always there to help them, if they ask for His help. As she spoke, I could not help but reflect on her words and thought how true they were.

  6. Marvelous comment, cks…and welcome. Blessings to the new married couple too.

    I love the part about the “work clothes.” The longer I live, the more I think that analogy becomes even more potent. We women know…you never can get too far or be too comfortable in a cocktail dress and three inch heels.

    I’ve noticed over the years that the couples who are consumed with IMAGE and that PERFECT perception…for themselves and/or their children…pretty much isolate themselves from real friendships. They can’t let anyone in.

    And when the time comes and they need to be REAL…as it almost always does…Life is the harder for it.

    I like this poem ( I think it’s Teasdale)

    They came to tell your faults to me
    They named them over one by one.
    I laughed out loud when they were done.
    I knew them all so well before.
    They were blind, too blind to see…
    Your faults had made me love you more.

    That’s real friendship, or marriage….wearing the work clothes and always working at it.

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