Writer's Cramp entry: A letter to someone who has made me angry.
That's it! That's the last time I listen to you. You've let me down a thousand times now. We're done. How could you possibly have thought it was a good idea to talk to that woman? Whose side are you on? Johnnie Cochran and Clarence Darrow together with Daniel Webster couldn't convince my wife that was an innocent conversation. What was your excuse again? "How was I supposed to know she'd throw herself at you like that and leave erotic messages on your phone?" You mean the phone I share with my wife and kids? That phone? You idiot! I'd never even dreamed of the possibility of some of those activities, never mind the athleticism required. I suppose we'll all have a good laugh over this later, about five years after the divorce is final and I'm living on the street. Get out of my life!
All these years I've trusted you, and for the life of me I don't know why. I remember that day in the first grade you told me it wasn't cool to put up your hand to ask to go to the washroom. You think it was cooler to sit there in a puddle? Not cool at all. Warm actually.
Then there was the time you said riding a bike no-hands was easy, and that the best way to learn was when you were going really fast downhill. I paid for your expert advice with a permanently crooked grin, and I haven't been able to straighten my left elbow since the cast came off. At nine years old I was well on my way to pitching in the major leagues too. You ruined my life.
And remember when you made me get up on that road grader at the new high school just being built? "These things are easy to start," you bragged. Yeah, they are. But they're impossible to stop. At least I got it going in circles before I escaped. Who'd have thought it could dig so deep a trench in the newly-sodded football field? It took forever to run out of fuel. At least you didn't turn me in.
But that's all kid stuff. I could forgive you most of that. How about when I borrowed my brother's motorcycle and you convinced me how easy it was to wheelie? I never did pay him back for the broken wheel and fairing because I had to pay for the store window and all the mannequins. The place looked a scene from a Bruce Willis movie. My brother still gets a deranged look in his eyes if someone stupidly brings that episode up, which I seem to remember you doing more than once.
And to revisit the subjects of women and scars, I'd have been better off to get my advice on love matters from Popular Mechanics than from you. "She's hot! Be a man and step up," you told me frequently. Hot alright, as in capable of torching a poor guy's heart into a smoking pile of ashes. Where were you when I was lying broken and moaning on love's trash-heap for the umpteenth time and needed some comforting? Busy plotting more pain?
Remember how in university I was brilliant in maths and sciences? I was headed for an Engineering degree summa cum laude and a lush life of fame and riches when you struck again. I'd been dabbling in guitar for years, mostly as an alternate way of publicly embarrassing myself, but you took it to a whole new level. You pumped me up to be the next Eric Clapton, aka God, and I believed you. So I dropped out to forge a career in rock and roll. Thirty years and too many beers later Eric continues to outsell me by several million to zero, and I've had numerous careers, many involving a snappy uniform and minimum wage. I blame you for pushing me from the lap of luxury to be trodden under the feet of poverty.
As I got older I got wiser and regarded your advice with a more critical eye. Or maybe I just got too tired and worn out to listen. Mostly. You did manage to have me donate all my money to the dotcom fiasco.
Since then things had been mostly good. Not all. I scrabbled together enough to live off, and when I had a few extra bucks I followed your persuasive hunch and threw it into Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Obviously my awareness of your treacherous nature was not yet complete.
But somehow against all odds I tricked a good woman into marrying me, reproduced a couple of times, and have a job I can put up with, with only the occasional mild domestic crisis to overcome.
Until now. If your memory is failing you, please refer back to the opening paragraph. Maybe read it twice. In fact, read it until you get it.
Now the ultimatum. When I get up tomorrow morning and look in the mirror, I don't want to see your ugly face. You and me are quits.
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