Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Divorcing a Friend

Dear Diary,

My best pal Todd Hubb, only thirty-three, used to be a famous motivational speaker and writer, making millions cheering people up, and then he felt kind of down and then his wife took everything. He's my best friend in the entire galaxy, and for the past eight months, Todd and I have been living in my wife's mother's one-bedroom apartment, eating everything and doing nothing. Two weeks ago, my wife made me choose between Todd and a pie. I went with the pie.

Yesterday, I thought of a million things I'd say to Todd if I ever saw him again. I also thought of things he'd say back to me and then what I'd say back to him. Things like: "Oh no, you di'nt" and then "Oh yeah I did" and then "Oh no, you di'nt" and then "Oh yeah I did". I played our future conversation inside my head for ten hours.

In some mental playbacks, I was wearing a black mask like Zorro, or Robin from Batman, and Todd couldn't tell just what friend was breaking things off with him, and I could tell him terrible things about him to his face without feeling bad about what I was saying because he wouldn't be able to trace the comments back to me.

This morning, after making an appointment to meet with Todd, I walked into a café with two men in suits, each carrying briefcases. I saw Todd waiting for me at a table. I was surprised to see that he was wearing a suit, was clean-shaven, and had his hair cut so that he no longer sported his overgrown mop top.


I sat across from him. A suit sat on either side of me.

TODD: Who are these guys?

ME: They're high-priced lawyers. I'm officially divorcing you as a friend.

TODD: You don't have money for lawyers. You're hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.

ME: I took out another line of credit.

TODD: Oh my God...

ME: Okay, we have tons of documents for you to sign, and this pile of paperwork makes War and Peace look like a pamphlet.

TODD: Eric, I have some news. This will get you out debt.

I turned to the lawyers.

ME: Get your papers out. He needs to sign them pronto.

TODD: I just received a three million dollar advance on the book I've been writing these past two years. Two Years with a Bottom Feeder. The book is about you... so I want you to take the entire advance.

ME: These papers state that you are never to approach me, or try to have any dealings, transactions, nothing...

LAWYER #1: Eric, I think you should hear him out.

ME: No I shouldn't. I got my own problems, like how much debt I'm in. It's hundreds of thousands of dollars, you know.

Todd reached into his breast pocket.

ME: Whoa!

A dozen burly bikers in leather jackets stormed the café.

BURLY BIKER #1 (to Todd): Sir, do not make another move.

Todd stood there, frozen, his hand still in his inside breast pocket.

TODD (to me): Did you hire these guys too?

ME (nodding): I took out a second line of credit. These guys aren't cheap.

TODD: Jesus... I'm just trying to give you a cheque.

BURLY BIKER #1: Sir, kindly and slowly remove your hand from your jacket. Slowly...

Todd did as he was told.

ME (to Todd): I had to make sure you'd let me go as a friend without trying something stupid.

TODD: All right, but first just let me give you...

I interrupted him.

ME: Sign all the papers first, and then we'll talk.

TODD: All right.

Todd signed all the papers.

LAWYER #2: Eric, under these circumstances, I'm not sure if this is the right thing...

ME: Just hang a sec...

TODD: There... I signed them.

ME: Don't talk to me. You can't talk to me. You signed all the papers.

Todd reached into his jacket again.

TODD: Just let me give you the three million.

ME: He's going to kill me! He likes me so much as a friend that he's going to kill me!

The bikers all reached for Todd to hold him away. Once he was immobilized, I charged at him myself.

ME: Just let me go as a friend, you bastard! You friend-loving bastard!

The two lawyers seized my arms.

TODD (to the bikers): Let me go!

ME (to the lawyers): Let me at him!

I turned to Todd.

ME: I hate you! I hate you!

TODD: I tried, Eric. I tried to give you back everything you gave me ever since you found me, two years ago, when I lost everything. Your friendship saved me.

ME: You're not supposed to talk to me. You signed the papers, stupid.

TODD: This is the last time I try to give you this three million dollar cheque.

ME (fingers in my ears): La! La! La!

TODD: Eric, listen to me...

The bikers pulled Todd away toward the doors.

TODD: If you can take anything away from these past two years, it's this: You have something in you that no one else has. This energy... it's a gift. This big, bright energy lights up the Universe. No one has it, but you...

ME: I chose a slice of pie over you. Deal with it. Goodbye!

Todd was shoved out. I looked through the cafe's large windows as Todd was thrown into a cab. The cab drove off.

The lawyers straightened their ties and suit jackets.

ME: Did he just say something about three million dollars?

The lawyers each took a turn shaking my hand.

ME: I don't know... I couldn't hear over all the shouting and scuffling and such, but I thought I heard him mention something about three million dollars.

The lawyers walked out, and a male server came up to me.

SERVER: Sir, we are going to have to ask you to leave.

ME: A slice of pie; that just lasts two bites... if you're lucky and not that hungry... but friendship... I never had a friend like Todd. But am I imagining things? I could have sworn I heard him say three million dollars.

SERVER: I think he did.

ME: I'm hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, I now have two new maxed out lines of credit, I have no best friend, and I just lost three million dollars.

SERVER: And your friend, or should I say ex-friend, just left without paying his bill.

The server handed me Todd's bill. I stood there, with nothing to say, and nothing to pay with.

ME: Will you take this gold watch?

I removed the gold watch from my left wrist.

ME: It's been an heirloom in my family for five generations. It's all I have left...

The server stuck his open palm out for it. With regret, I dropped it into his hand. Tears welled up in my eyes.

ME (barely audible): Enjoy...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

How to Get Closer to Your Wife

Dear Diary,

I came up with a plan the other day to get closer to my estranged wife by spending more time with her. I sat with her on the couch while she watched TV. I think she was watching Desperate Housewives or something that looked like it – all the women were desperate, backstabbing each other, lying to their husbands, and burying bodies in their backyards. One was even involved in a racist hate crime. I'm not sure but it could have also been The View.

I was so bored and antsy, I couldn't sit still. I even started rapping something from ODB. When my wife told me, "RELAX!", I decided to have a glass of wine. It worked. I began to see the show in a different way. I really got into it. I was laughing when my wife was laughing and crying during what I thought were the sad parts. It was an amazing TV watching experience. I found myself actually caring for the characters, saying things like, "I hope Lynnette can stop her killing spree. She's a good mother. She deserves better. Is Whoopie dead? "

I got to really enjoy watching TV with my wife. Every night, I looked forward to viewing our favorite shows, waiting eagerly for the episodes to begin, glass of wine in hand. At first, I'd just need one bottle to savor shows like Bachelor Pad, Kate Plus 8, and Giant Wives and their Little People Husbands. Our nights usually ended with my wife pulling on my arm where I passed out. I'd sometimes wake up the next morning, slumped over the coffee table. One night, while I placed my face just one inch from the television in an effort to appreciate the fine, detailed embroidery on a dress from Say Yes to the Dress, I puked all over the screen, and then lost consciousness, slamming my head against the wet, sloppy image.

My wife finally suggested that on some nights we might want to watch some of my shows (after the police called, demanding she pick me up at the liquor store where I was on the floor, out for the count). I asked if maybe we could start reconnecting in a class on how to make your own wine. We quit the class after I yelled at the teacher regarding having to wait for the wine to ferment. "But Joe Millionaire in on Dancing with the Stars tonight!" I exclaimed. "He's the closest they'll ever get to what they loosely deem a star. I can't watch that crap without not thinking rationally or not being able to see straight!"

So last night, my wife and I decided to try something new. She watches her shows while I sit beside her, typing away at my laptop, Facebooking, Googling, and laughing my head off at all the wonderful things on the Net that last no longer than thirty seconds. I even made a makeshift bathtub in the middle of the living room with a wheelbarrow, enjoying a luxurious bubble bath while eating cupcakes. I think our marriage might be back on track.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Plight of Married Men

Dear Diary,

This past Saturday, my best pal Todd Hubb and I went on a hunger strike after my wife kicked us out of her mother's one bedroom apartment where we were all living (I thought happily). The news crews arrived at around 9am where we were striking in front of our apartment building.

FEMALE REPORTER: So what caused you to go on this hunger strike?

ME: I think I was treated unfairly so I'm going to starve myself until something gives.

FEMALE REPORTER: Does this have anything to do with the fact that your wife has been supporting you and your friend for nine months while you've been unemployed and doing nothing all day?

ME: It has to do with the fact that I'm a man.

MALE REPORTER: How do you figure?

ME: I'm expected to pitch in, pay for a few things, just because I'm male. That logic is from the stoned ages.

FEMALE REPORTER: What about your friend? Is your wife supposed to support him as well?

ME: He's male too, so she's against him too. So don't even go there. I tell you, this thing's just getting out of hand. You don't hate me because I'm a man, do you?

FEMALE REPORTER: No... just mainly because you're a little boy.

ME: Listen, it's only been a few minutes but we'll stay out here for as long as it takes.

FEMALE REPORTER: As long as what takes?

ME: The end, as we know it, of the plight of married men everywhere.

FEMALE REPORTER (confused): What?

ME: Just because married men want a life that doesn't necessarily jibe with the ladies, don't hate on us.

FEMALE REPORTER (annoyed): So what exactly is this so-called plight? Explain it to me.

ME: Three things...

I used my fingers to count them out.

ME: We don't want to work. We don't want to do dishes. We don't want to talk. What we want is to spend the rest of our marriage surfing the Net. I think it's only fair.

MALE REPORTER: How long are you willing to go without food?

ME: We'll be here for days if that's what it takes.

Todd, my BFF, turned to me.

TODD: Days?

ME: Weeks, months, whatever it takes. We might be here for years.

TODD: Eric, please... take it easy.

ME: Decades...

TODD: Eric, it's here.

I turned to find Todd with JC, one of the neighbourhood kids. JC, 12, was standing, straddling his bike, and wearing an army green colour backpack.

ME: Pardon me; one of our advisors is here. I'll be back in a moment.

I walked over to JC and Todd.

ME: Let's talk, boys.

The news cameras stayed on us as we huddled close and JC removed his backpack. They clearly taped JC handing us each a paper bag with the McDonald's golden arches logo. Todd and I both jammed our faces with burgers.

FEMALE REPORTER: Excuse me. What's happening here?

I straightened up, secret sauce dripping down my chin.

ME (mouth full): Nothing. JC is just advising us.

FEMALE REPORTER: Are you eating?

ME: No!

I was incensed, and I yelled, burger bits flying from my mouth.

ME: This is a hunger strike, what the hell!

MALE REPORTER: You're eating!

ME: Get out of here, all of you!

More burger bits flew from my mouth.


ME (annoyed): What?

I looked up to see my wife standing behind us.

MY WIFE (desperation in her voice): If you'll stop this nonsense, you can come back. My law career won't survive this publicity.

ME: You can't have me back that easy. I have some demands.

My wife sighed. This already had been a long day, and an even longer marriage.

MY WIFE: What?

ME: Can you bake a pie?

MY WIFE: All right... but Todd can no longer live with us.


MY WIFE: I can't support two grown men.

ME: NO! Not Todd! He's my friend!

I clutched Todd, tears streaming down my cheeks.

ME: Oh God! Please! Not Todd! Not Todd!

MY WIFE: It's me and your baby daughter, or your dead-beat leech of a friend Todd. You choose.

ME: I choose Todd! I choose Todd!

I held Todd with the strength of an ox.

MY WIFE: And I'll bake you a pie.

I let go of Todd.

ME: Todd, you best be on your way now. Go on. Get a move on. I don't ever want to see your face again.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Hungry for Love

Dear Diary,

For the past eight months, I've been living with my wife, our seventeen-month-old baby daughter, and my mother-in-law in my mother-in-law's one bedroom apartment. I'm unemployed... but my wife is a successful corporate lawyer... but we have no money since I once put us in debt following a charade that some say went "off the rails" which I think is an exaggeration to say the least since they only yell out those kind of things because I'm fun to be with, especially at picnics, and they wish they were too – add to that: I know and sing all the hits from the '80s (Bananarama anyone? Hello?...) and my little "charade" cost my wife and I hundreds of thousands of dollars. So we live in this tiny one bedroom apartment and... oh yeah... my best friend Todd Hubb who is also unemployed lives with us against what my wife calls her "better judgement" and "wishes".

My wife also now claims that we are legally separated but she wants me around to build a relationship with our daughter since I missed the first eight months of her life because I once ran away from home to follow my dreams of living a life of no responsibility or accountability. No one can blame me for that.

This morning, my wife called me into the small kitchen area for what she called a "sit-down talk". Todd, my pal, was sitting a few feet away in the living room area, munching from a bucket of take-out chicken wings.

MY WIFE: Eric, we need to talk about our situation here.

ME: Okay. We have such a great life, don't we?

MY WIFE: Actually, that's what I want to talk to you about?

ME: How great our lives are?

MY WIFE: Our lives are not great.

ME: What do you mean? I eat every day, with a roof over my head... as much take-out as Todd and I can eat... and I don't even have to work.

Todd toasted us with a chicken wing, winked at my wife, and took another greasy bite.

ME: Our lives are fantastic!

MY WIFE: My mother and I are working our behinds to the bone. My life is terrible. You two are eating us out of house and home.

ME (distracted): Sorry hon... hold on a sec...

I shouted out to Todd.

ME: Hey, do you mind leaving me some, you pig!

MY WIFE: Can he... maybe go eat that outside? We need some privacy.

ME: I'd rather keep an eye on him and our wings...

MY WIFE: We need to talk in private, Eric.

ME: He's watching TV. He can't hear a thing.

My wife sighed, resigning herself to what I can only assume many wives do.

MY WIFE: All right...

Todd turned the TV off, and stared in our direction, sucking back a chicken wing.

ME (to my wife): So what's up?

MY WIFE: This really... this whole situation... it's really not working for me.

ME: It's working for me. It's working for Todd. Todd, isn't it working for you?

MY WIFE: Eric, you're taking advantage of me. You haven't worked since you got here over eight months ago.

ME: I put my cereal bowl in the sink when I'm done, just like you told me to. I don't know what you're talking about.

MY WIFE: I wanted you to stay here to get to know your daughter, and for her to get to know you. But you have barely paid her any attention since you came back.

ME: I know my daughter. I know her name. It's Jessie Lou.

MY WIFE: It's Jessalyn.

ME: What kind of name is that?

MY WIFE: I want you and Todd to leave. Tonight.

ME: What if me and Todd make a million dollars by the end of the day? Do we still have to leave?

MY WIFE: How are you going to make a million dollars?

I looked over at Todd, excitement spewing from my face.

ME: Todd, if we made a million dollars, what would we do? Oh my God! The freedom we'd have! To just sit around and do nothing. I think we'd leave this place though, don't you think? We'd leave this place, right? We wouldn`t be staying here. It's small here.

I turned back to my wife.

ME: But you'd have to stay here with the baby. I think this is a better place for the baby, really.

MY WIFE: You have one hour to get out.

ME: What if I decide not to leave and I go on a hunger strike?

MY WIFE: A hunger strike? Good, maybe I'll save some money around here.

ME: That's it! Todd, we are going on a hunger strike.

Todd opened his mouth which was jammed with munched-up chicken and barbeque sauce.

TODD: The hell we are!

ME (to Todd): Now you shut up and you listen to me!

My wife had a mobile phone up to her ear.

MY WIFE: The police are on their way.

ME: Come on, Todd, we are protesting. Put that bucket down.

TODD: Shut your mouth!

I lunged at Todd and we tussled, as I crammed as many barbeque wings as I could into my mouth.

TODD: Stop eating my chicken!

ME: I'm going on a hunger strike! I need to fill up!

When the police showed up, Todd and I were in the kitchen, shoving everything we could down our gullets, prepping for our hunger strike. The place was a mess with barbeque sauce on the walls, porridge on the furniture, and the oven seeping batter onto the floor caused by a failed attempt by Todd and I to bake three soufflés at once.

Ten minutes later, Todd and I were sitting on the street curb with nothing to do.

TODD: This hunger strike is boring.

I turned to my BFF, scratching my stomach.

ME: I'm feeling a little peckish.