Sore Losers Insult My Intelligence

Congratulations on your successful divorce!

I know the financial consequences will devastate you for the next two decades and I hope you’re at least somewhat disappointed in how little time you’ll be spending with your children.   Since you’ve been so victimized, I’d like to offer a few thoughts that will allow you to digest what just happened.

Such a lovely family life, isn't it?  (Photo credit: James Delaney)

Such a lovely family life, isn’t it? (Photo credit: James Delaney)

  • Being physically present in the house or grocery store (etc.) with the children does not count as parenting, even if you interact with them at a reasonably human level. It also does not automatically make you a superior parent when compared to your husband who was working 90 hours a week, although leaving the children with you might be construed as negligence and negligence is child abuse. I think child abuse is a crime in most states. If your parenting skills are in question after so many years, it’s not your husband’s fault.
  • If you want to complain about the verdict, it’s okay to mention the child support and alimony and the limited financial resources you’ll have to deal with.  However, you should also sound at least somewhat affected by the loss of child custody, even though your offspring must have said bad things to the judge about you.  Remember that they are still cute.
  • Attacks on your character in court are not automatically lies. People can honestly express negative beliefs about you. Those beliefs can even be true.
  • If you want to show that the testimony about your profligate spending was inaccurate, start by furnishing your new apartment with less expensive items.
  • Do not tell me how you lost because you were pursuing an honest court case while your ex-husband was lying left and right. On second thought, you can tell me that but not immediately before complaining about how your best friend was giving scrupulously honest testimony in court that did not consistently work in your favor.
  • The judge obviously didn’t like you very much and maybe she was biased against you. You know, those liberal activist judges always want to create a more equitable society by giving full custody of the children to the man.
  • It’s not our legal system’s fault that you lost. You consented to the rules when you filed for divorce.   Now go pay your lawyer.

Assumptions Insult My Intelligence

Imagine that you’re walking into court to divorce your spouse of ten years.  When you got married, you had wanted to stay with her for the rest of your life.  You enjoyed your honeymoon but cracks in the relationship had emerged by year five.  By year eight, you could barely stand her presence but you didn’t file divorce papers until year ten for financial reasons.

Now, you’re wearing the biggest grin you’ve had in years because you’re finally free.  You only need the judge’s approval and your life belongs to you again.

No permanent bondage here...  (Photo credit: Tangopaso)

No permanent bondage here… (Photo credit: Tangopaso)

The judge calls you to step forward and then immediately denies your petition to divorce.  The logic?  You were married to that woman for ten years so you must obviously love her too much to let her go… and you are to remain a prisoner to your former self.

You may think the scenario’s impossible, but…

I am an unemployed Ph.D.  Employers see the degree that took many years to earn and they assume that I am too wedded to my old field to really want the job for which I applied.  My resume doesn’t show how cracks started forming early on or how I had decided to pursue a nonacademic career a year or two before completing the degree.  It also doesn’t show that I only finished the degree because I had already poured so much time into it and was so close to completing it when I made that decision.

There’s not enough real estate on a cover letter to fit everything in.

And employers never get to hear much of that because you’re never supposed to badmouth your former employers or academic institutions.

When I’m lucky, employers ask me about it.  Usually, they just move on to the next resume.

Temptation Insults My Intelligence

Even though I had decided not to do any more award acceptances, this one had way too much baggage entertainment value for me to skip it.

So here we go.  Ron Lewis has nominated me for the Liebster Award.  Before I get to the good stuff, I’ll deal with his question first:


If you inherited a lot of money or won the lottery and never had to worry about money or work again, how would that change your life, and what would you like to do that is different?


And my answer:


I would never worry about money or work again, and that’s what I would like to do differently.

But now the fun part:  Ron’s ex-wife also follows this blog.

I will behave myself.
I will behave myself.
I will behave myself.
I will behave myself.

I warned Ron and his ex that I wasn’t sure I wanted to do an award acceptance post, but both urged me to do an entertaining one.  They know I’m always happy to please my readers.


The following is a fictional representation.  Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

An insurance salesman and a menopausal pentagenarian walk into a bar.


Before the party started.  (Photo credit: Evan Munro)

Before the party started. (Photo credit: Evan Munro)


The women were all over the salesman because he’s built exactly like Brock Lesnar.  Or maybe they just needed insurance.  You never know.

On the other hand, the lady more closely resembles Weird Al Yankovic, but with a much better figure and no discernible facial hair… plus makeup and a vagina.  And since the average 20-something guy would grope anything that sports a pair of DD’s and some nice long hair, Madame Yankovic was getting plenty of positive attention too.

Our two protagonists had somehow remained friends even though they were divorced.  However, the divorce opened up a brand new can of worms that neither of them could have expected.  Madame Yankovic, clad in her favorite hot pink lamé body suit with “Abercrombie” printed across the butt, had always been popular with her sons’ friends… but now the sons were away at college.  The friends, however, were not and a couple of them frequented that very bar.

Upon seeing her, the two friends walked up to her and started making nice; her sons weren’t there to dissuade their friends from an attempted “conquest.”  And the friends knew they didn’t have to fear Mr. Lesnar anymore because of the divorce but they could have never predicted Madame Yankovic’s reaction to their advances.  You see, Madame Yankovic is an upstanding human being with no ethical weaknesses whatsoever.  Therefore, the emerging threat to her chastity inspired her to rush to the nearest church and take a few vows.

Sister Mary Alfred Yankovic is now the sexiest nun in California.  And, fortunately for her, the enemies of virtue would never think she’d consider life in a convent.  Her morals are permanently safe now.

Meanwhile, Mr. Lesnar is living it up with the ladies.  He remains comfortable and a little smug with the knowledge that he gets a lot more action than his religiously affiliated ex.  Plus, the nuns eagerly purchased insurance from him because he was so understanding of his ex-wife’s religious “enlightenment.”

So they all lived happily ever after.

Blogger’s notes:

I’m not spending my time nominating blogs for the Liebster Award because I need to wash my hair.  If you want an award, consider yourself nominated.  Or you can have this nifty award.

Also, be sure to come back to this post and check for new comments now and again.  Them lovebirds will surely entertain you with their witticisms.

Self-Esteem Insults My Intelligence

Self Esteem Shop in Royal Oak, MI http://www.s...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By now, I’m sure we’ve all heard the complaints about today’s educational practices.  Them kiddies are constantly told how wonderful they are and everyone gets a trophy and they feel all warm and fuzzy inside until the flu arrives.  That practice may improve results in the classroom but I’m lazy and I don’t want to belabor the point.

Instead, I’d like to tell a tale of how a subset of these kids all live happily ever after.  These are the honors students and I belonged to this group, as did many of my friends.  I consider myself lucky to have been horrible at sports because no coach in his right mind would have given me a self-esteem trophy unless it had been made of dog poo.  I really was that bad, but my ineptitude bred positive results.  Honors students don’t survive (and arguably thrive, at least psychologically) through extended unemployment unless they’ve had a few bumps along the way before that.  Failure keeps me sane.

Otherwise, we honors students were constantly told how we were the smartest, the most talented, the most wonderful person in the class, in the room, in the world.   This caused many of us (fortunately again, not me) to assume a superiority complex as our identities.  Woe to the college teacher who has to burst that bubble.

Been there, done that, never going back.

Unfortunately, some honors students are idiots and they only grow stupider with age.  And thus begins today’s tale…

Once upon a time in a college not far away there was an honors student with overly inflated self-esteem.  At meals, he regaled his peers with how he was the smartest in his class.  His term papers never turned out well in college, but that was never his fault.  He blamed his high school… even though he always waited until the last minute to start researching.  And then he’d confidently inform all of us how the professor told him he’d done well for a [insert one: freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, fifth-year senior, sixth-year senior, billy goat, etc.] when the horrors had ended.  And we’d hear story after story of these words that Mr. Self-Esteem couldn’t recognize as not-quite-praise.

And he didn’t graduate on time because, as I understand it, he wasn’t finishing his work as he was supposed to.  Nevertheless, he dutifully edified us on how he was outperforming all those freshmen and sophomores in his courses.  Impressive!  I’m sure his wife couldn’t contain her pride.

You read that correctly.  He married early in life and the couple had a pair of sons.  His wife had been the college sweetheart who always defended him when others would point out Mr. Honors Student’s poor time management skills.  I’m sure you don’t need to know the physical details on how those sons came into existence.

Or maybe you do, because the happy couple is fighting again and I’d be shocked if they don’t get a divorce this time.  I suspect he and his wife will immolate each other in the process, perhaps making the court decide that the sons would be better off in foster care.

I know enough about divorce to realize that soon-to-be exes often discount the amount of fault they hold for the relationship’s collapse.  But adults who were educated in the art of honors self-esteem face different problems.  My friend thinks he’s being insightful when he explains the situation but he reveals his incapacity for seeing that things were crumbling years ago.  He praises himself again but, as in college, he tears himself down in the process.


This time he can’t escape or ignore the criticism coming from so many quarters because it so intimately affects his future life.  I visited him recently and he seemed to be litigating the case against his wife.  (Truth be told, the wife is another can of worms and she may have bigger problems than he has, again because of inflated self-esteem.  Maybe I’ll write about that another day.)  He also seemed to be litigating against me and occasionally against others he thought might testify against him in the event of a divorce.


This is rage.  This is realizing, perhaps all of a sudden, that people don’t hold him in as high esteem as he was trained to hold himself, realizing that so many people think he’s not quite there psychologically, remaining unable to let go of his self-esteem training and perceive things more clearly.

Then, add a dose of paranoia.  I had (and have) no intention of testifying against him in any future divorce proceeding because I’m not convinced the wife is any better.

Oh, and I think he may now believe I’m his sons’ biological father.

Newborn on scale

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I suppose I’ll never know what inspired him to question his paternity so late, but I have a hard time believing he’d bring up the issue if he hadn’t already been tested.

In case you were wondering, I am not the father.  But thank you for asking and for your vote of confidence.  (His wife is rather lovely, so it’s a show of confidence that you think I could be the culprit.)

And now it’s time for the moral to the story.  If you feed a child a steady dose of empty self-esteem, the world becomes a binary of praise and the rare catastrophe.  In the end, criticism becomes more than criticism; it is the stripping of an identity someone has had for their entire life.  And just as a kitten presumably screeches if you try to skin it with a pocket knife (presumably, I said…), these no-longer-so-young people take these negative words as an affront to their entire being.  And then they claw and bite and pee on you until you put away the knife.  And so you learn to remain silent and gracefully permit the status quo.

There may be more than one way to skin a cat but there aren’t many ways to skin an honors student who can’t let go of the past.  As for me, I’m just annoyed because potential employers see my educational credentials and often assume I’ll be like my friend.  They tell you in school that hard work allows you to become anything you want but they fail to mention that you’re tattooing your own scarlet letter as you build yourself up.  You are judged by the company you keep and hard work doesn’t win you great company.

And so…

The next time your children want to do their homework, tell them to play outside or try a video game.  And make sure they lose sometimes.  Badly.  Being unemployed is also a great way to catch up on some fun, but it’s not such a positive experience for the wallet.

Marriage Counseling Insults My Intelligence

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I’m covering my ears.  Do you have a problem with that? (Photo credit: thatguygil)

Congratulations on your impending divorce!  Before you got married, some of our friends predicted that your relationship wouldn’t last long but you exceeded everyone’s expectations

Sort of.

There was, of course, the bickering, the bickering, and the bickering.  If you have guests over, or are guests at someone else’s home, you shouldn’t be arguing loudly for thirty minutes, repeatedly, about insignificant details.

But that’s not your greatest fault as a couple.  See, when things went wrong, you decided that I would be an excellent person to talk things over with.  Me, the bachelor with no psychological training whatsoever.  I can only smile and nod in that situation… though I’m only smiling on the inside and that’s because you make me thankful to not have married so young.

Of course, my lack of experience makes me an exceptionally unbiased and knowledgeable arbiter of your innermost dissatisfactions.  So, without further ado, I would like to offer ten pieces of advice straight from my heart.

1- You are both deranged.  Custody of the children should be awarded to someone else.  Anyone else… but not me.

2- Your arguments over money are easier to solve.  If you cannot agree on who gets it, let me borrow it on an indefinite basis so that it can create no additional ill will between you.

3- The house is less simple, especially since its value crashed a few years back.  Perhaps you’d find it financially beneficial to share the house as roommates.

4- I refuse to referee your sex life because there’s not supposed to be sex after marriage except to create children.  I expect both of you to practice celibacy after the divorce out of respect for your ex-spouse.

5- Murder is still illegal.  I’m pretty confident that a licensed professional will tell you the same thing.

6- Divorce is fun.  You’ll get to spend more time on each other than you have in years.

7- I don’t care whose fault it is.  Right now, you’re both at fault for disturbing my peace and quiet.  Please argue as though you were in a library.

8- Speaking of libraries, perhaps reading a book would calm you down.  Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” would calm you down for a long time.  Maybe that’s a good choice.  But, please, don’t try to share a single copy.  Sharing things hasn’t worked well between you in the past.  You can afford two copies.

9- The pets are easier to divide… right down the middle and then thrown on the grill.  I’m glad you have fish instead of dogs.

10- You say you want to give the marriage one last try?  Then, please, talk to a professional who can give decent advice.  But don’t spend too much time on it because it’s expensive and you always argue about money.