Two friends of mine broke up last week. It was one of those spectacularly nasty breakups that make police blotters so much fun to read. After an evening spent throwing heavy furniture at each other, they were dragged from their home in handcuffs. And then they each used their one phone call to beg me not to bail the other out of jail.
Normally, I enjoy being put in the middle of friends' domestic disputes. It makes me feel like God. But this situation was a bit too Sophie's Choice for my tastes. Which friend should I bail out and which one should I let languish in the slammer?
So, I called my most Solomon-like friend, Stacy, and asked for her advice.
'Let them both rot,' she said. Apparently, Stacy had still not forgiven them for snickering when Stacy declared at her birthday party that she considered herself to be 'a very young-looking 40.'
'But if I do that we'll never learn the juicy details of their tragic breakup,' I said.
'Good point,' said Stacy, who feeds on loved-one's misery as much as I do. 'I'll bail out one, and you bail out the other. And then let's meet at midnight to compare notes.'
There is nothing I love more than a good breakup story. No matter how amicable the split, people always manage to be driven to the darkest reaches of their character-flaw spectrum. Take my last breakup, for example. We had been dating for a few months when we both realized at precisely the same moment that we had absolutely nothing in common. So, after a friendly handshake, we agreed to part.
But before I left her apartment, I snuck into her kitchen and stole a jar of peanut butter. For months after the breakup, I stared at the jar and tried to explain to myself why I stole it. After all, I don't even like peanut butter. The only explanation I could come up with was that a breakup is never complete without at least one act of sociopathic behavior.
As Stacy and I drove to the jail, we reminisced about our favorite breakup story of all time. A few years ago, our friend Greta went through a cataclysmic split-up with her girlfriend, a woman who could achieve orgasm only with the use of a specific brand of vibrator. The vibrator was custom made by a boutique sex shop. When the woman dumped Greta, Greta ordered the store's entire stock of vibrators and bought the patent so the store could never again make the device. Then she hired a cat burglar to break into her girlfriend's home and steal the last remaining vibrator.
The whole ugly mess wound up in court, where attorneys wielded the vibrator in front of a salivating jury. Stacy and I were called to testify in defense of Greta's sanity, which we somehow managed to do without giggling. Greta won the case and now has a garage full of vibrators. (And she's single, ladies!)
By the time we got to the jail, our friends had reconciled and were cooing at each other through the prison bars. I was happy for them, but disappointed for Stacy and me because we would now never learn the sordid details of their fight. 'They're so selfish,' Stacy said in disgust. 'I told you we should have let them rot.'