I’ve decided to share my latest book (The All-Important, Well-Fed, Giant White Man) with my followers here, free of charge, one chapter at a time. So… Where were we on this read-along… Oh, yes…
Chapter 30: The Golden Ticket of Failed Relationships
If you were to ask me what the three happiest days of my life have been so far, I wouldn’t even have to think about it. Before you even finished asking, I would man-grunt just as my answer came bursting out of me in all directions, and you’d find yourself covered in a thick goopy layer of what I would say are the moments at the top of my list.
Top spot goes to the day my kid was born. And I’m not saying that in an “I’m a dad and I know it’s the correct thing to say” sort of way. There is no question about it. The day Noah was born is one for the history books. This world became a brighter place that day. Light and laughter somehow entered even the darkest corners. The devil himself nearly gave up and went home for good. Oh, I may change my mind about some of that when he rounds the bend to teenager. We’ll see. But right now, the day he entered my life definitely gets the number one spot. And yes, I will happily accept the much-coveted Biggest Cheese Award now.
Second place goes to the day I officially left the Mormon church. Now, I’m sure there will be lots of Mormons reading this, including many of my best friends and family, who will be so sad to hear that. But don’t take it personally. The reason it was one of the best days was because for the first time in my life, I declared to the entire world that I believe something different, and I am going to follow my own beliefs now, come what may. I knew it would lead to a shit storm of resentment and pressure. I knew it would alienate me from a lot of people that I love. I knew that it would make me an outsider from the majority of the society I live in, which is why it took so long for me to do, and equally is why it was such a happy thing for me to finally declare. I am convinced that nothing brings a person happiness faster than a life of true authenticity, whatever the hell that looks like.
The third and final happiest day of my life may surprise you. It definitely surprised me. And it goes to the day that I found out my wife had been having an affair.
I know, I know. Affairs are supposed to end us emotionally and mentally. They are supposed to rip open our hearts and leave us bloodied and bruised and wanting to disappear from the face of the earth. It’s even understandable that they leave so many of us temporarily senseless or even slightly murderous. But not her affair. Not to me.
I never once was angry with her, nor did I feel betrayed. In so many ways I was just thankful. Our marriage had taken us to the point where one of us had to do something drastic to get out because neither one of us wanted to admit that it just wasn’t ever going to work.
We also couldn’t call it quits because divorce is very frowned upon for any reason outside of infidelity or abuse when you’re a Mormon. And I don’t say that lightly. People literally frown at you if they find out you’re getting a divorce. As if heavy weights were attached to the corners of their mouths, their lips droop impossibly downward. Their eyes half-squint. Their nostrils flare ever so slightly. Their eyebrows scrunch. And they look at you as if to say, “I bet you deal drugs and don’t pay taxes and kill babies, too.” I call them righteous frowns, and they have always given me the serious willies.
But throw an extramarital affair from your soon to be ex on there, and you can expect casseroles delivered to your doorstep for the next month!
As people, we love affairs.
We don’t love the thought of them. We don’t love when they’re being had by people who are supposed to love the people we love. We definitely don’t love them when they hurt and break-apart families. But we do love them.
We love to talk about affairs and mix them into our gossip. We love to jump in and dissect the whos, whats, whens, wheres, whys, and hows. We love to point fingers and cast blame. We love to cry out, “I knew that bastard was a cheater from the day I laid eyes on him!” We love the opportunities they give us to shake our heads and feel superior to others.
Affairs are the golden ticket in divorce. They’re the one thing we can take and wildly shake in front of the whole world as we declare, “see! It’s not my fault this marriage ended!” When your spouse cheats, it is so easy to make the entire world love you and hate her. The world cheers for you in your divorce. They understand it, and they don’t fight against it. They justify your divorce for you so that you don’t have to do it…