Anyone who burns 1200 calories per day wishing that specific people would die should probably not own a gun.
I'm not a gun guy, anyway. I have no desire to fire one, nor clean one, nor pay money for one. Several of my friends are enthusiastic gun guys, and they might as well be gays nudging me to check out the ass on that dude over there. Not my thing. I don't get it, and I never will.
Yet a couple years ago, I bought a handgun. It was easy, as I live in a country where having a driver's license and a pulse constitutes being a well-regulated militia.
And what led me to this choice? Charity work.
Anna and I met through doing some volunteer work. She asked me how I'd gotten involved. I had just caught two chicks in a row cheating on me, and I was trying to distract myself with something constructive. "Me too!" she replied. Her husband, an Army man, had just been banging some bar skank. Now at this point, my antennae go up. I just can't help it. She's kind and hot. But I resolve to do right this time. I will get to know the husband, to help keep things on the straight and narrow. But if I happened to be NEARBY when the marriage disintegrates, just minding my own business, Karma couldn't hold that against me, right? Right.
I met the guy at a charity event. He's a 6'4", 240 pound, triangle-shaped pile of muscle and 'roid-rage. A Nazi post-child. Anna had told me he's a Steelers fan, so I chit-chatted about them, but he was standoffish. Not just with me, with everyone. He was unimpressed by everyone and everything, and he was clearly not pleased about being there. So I thanked him for letting Anna spend so much time away from home for the cause. This REALLY set him off. "Yeah, well, I had to put my foot down about that. Shit wasn't getting done around the house. Dinner wasn't ready when I got home from work. So I had to say, 'I'm sorry, but you ARE the woman...’"
I don’t remember much after that. I stopped listening and started nodding my head, which is what I do when I'm trapped with an idiot yet must remain polite. People at Microsoft have seen this often.
"Rob likes you!" Anna texted me that night. "He never likes anyone!"
When they were in Metamuville for fishing, she invited me to join them. Rob, who I’d only met the once, for 20 minutes back three months earlier, was very happy to see me. He shook my hand warmly and offered me a cigar. I invited them over for dinner and he accepted. Within 5 minutes, he reciprocated by inviting me to dinner at their place, and to his promotion ceremony, and to Christmas. Wow. Um. OK. We’ll see.
After a bit, Anna decided to fish down the beach a ways. “Don’t leave my line of sight,” Rob barked. “Okay,” she replied. Mind you, this was a crowded public beach on a sunny Sunday afternoon. His motivation has been much debated since, but really, all that matters is what he said next, to their nine year old girl: “Deena, do you have your phone?” The child nodded. “Okay, well if Mommy takes you where you can’t see me anymore, call me.”
What. The. Fuck.
At this point, I was really regretting inviting them to my house, but there was no turning back now. Over they came. I tried to tell my Mike Tomczak story, and this self-described Steelers fan had never heard of the Steelers’ former starting quarterback. And just when I thought the evening couldn’t get any more unseemly, it did.
“You’re just like me, John!”
“Doesn’t John remind you of me?”
“John, I knew you were my type of guy when I saw you light up a second cigar without even thinking about it.” (“A second one?!” Dirt asked, incredulous.)
And my personal favorite: “Why have you been keeping us apart, Anna? YOU JUST DIDN’T WANT ME TO HAVE A FRIEND!” This was not said in humor. It was spat like a 7 year old would spit it. He was genuinely upset.
He dominated the evening. Everything was about him. The kids and Anna didn’t tell any stories that didn’t begin at the command “Tell John about the time I…”
When they left, I felt the enormous relief you feel when a truly insane person leaves your home. And then the next day, I started getting texts from an unfamiliar number. “Dude. You’re totally contagious. I’m technical writing this morning.”
Oh dear god. A man-crush. In the days that followed, the texts and invitations have poured in. He’s told me that they don’t socialize, ever, and that our friendship is very special indeed. In fact, I’m his only friend. Yes, folks, we have ourselves a bunny-boiler.
“I’m trying not to find this funny, but I’m sorry. This shit is at least half-funny,” Katrina said.
“He’s gonna ask you to be in a three-way,” Dorkass predicted.
“How’s your boooyfriend?” d’Andre chirped.
In the intervening months, Anna:
- Came to tell me that his affair was her fault, because she was spending so much time away from home.
- Stopped going to school. Uneducated, she'd started school after his affair, so that she had a possible escape route, but now he was insisting she stop and recommit to the marriage. Oh, and he wanted her to quit her job, too. So she did.
- Called me in a panic. She was fearing for her safety and that of their children, because he was flying into a rage and punching holes in drywall. “He’s bipolar,” she said later. “That’s treatable. So what are you doing about it?” I replied. Answer: nothing. Her plan was that his mental problems would get better on their own, and his plan was that she’d learn to live with it.
The texts continued, and I declined all his invitations to come over. I was, of course, thinking his guy is gonna snap at me, at his wife, at the kids, at anyone who’s handy. I was being cordial but distant. I was very, very busy with my job. I just hoped he went away without hurting anyone.
About a month into this, I ran into the kids at the park. “You’re my dad’s best friend,” said the seven year old boy of the psychopath I’ve known for five total hours. “And you’re his!” Let’s not even speculate on what conversations at home led the child to parrot this. “My dad doesn’t like anyone. But he likes you,” added the little girl. “Do you like him? Please say you like him.”
“I like anyone who gives me cigars.”
That satisfied the kids. Then the girl felt compelled to add something.
“I don’t think my mom likes you very much, though.”
To be continued