There have been two moments when I knew that my life, as I knew it, was abruptly over. The first was when I was a teenager and my mom was diagnosed with cancer, and I was thrust, quite against my will, into the head-of-household role in our two-head household. While my mom diddled priests and wore turquoise jewelry and chugged wheat germ, I was balancing the checkbook and suing roofing contractors and thinking my mom was a complete airhead.
"Jesus, John," she would chide. "Lighten up. I swear, you were born 40."
"Ha, ha. Good one. Say, have you seen my childhood? I seem to have bloody lost it recently."
The second time was the annus horribilis that followed the Fucking Amy debacle.
People say they're depressed. I hear it all the time. But then I see them revel in a sad song instead of avoiding music for three years. They successfully order a meal in a restaurant, maybe even crack a smile when they're doing it. This is not depression, in my book. Depression is when you stagger through life, a shell of yourself, absolutely baffled by how people can be annoyed by slow service or care what color the bedroom is.
How can they possibly bicker about the allocation of french fries? My god. Don't they know how little it matters? How little anything matters? Don't they know that right now, the man sitting with them is calculating how much force he'd need to apply to a plastic spork to do the job right?
A lot, it turns out.
So I was in that phase, oozing hurt, unable to think of anything but Amy and pain, no longer able to distinguish between the two. I knew I couldn't just stay at home and feel sorry for myself, so I tried dating. A disaster, of course. I made myself go to social gatherings. Almost as disastrous.
At a party, I was sitting in an easy chair, watching people have fun with a stupified, emotionally bankrupt expression on my face. A friend familiar with my life's lowly state clapped his hands and said "I know! I know exactly what you need!"
He reached into his CD collection, rife with death metal, and pulled out a Type-O Negative disc. The song he selected to cheer me up? An angry head-banger called I Know You're Fucking Someone Else. For the friend's part, he genuinely didn't understand why that song would make me feel worse, not better.
"It made me feel better when I was depressed about being dumped."
This, this is why today all my friends are women.