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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Column: Ain’t no fun, probably

I was smoking an expensive cigar in my high-rise corner office, sifting through the piles of letters that accumulate on my desk. I came upon one asking for some advice. As you may remember, giving advice is only a part of what we do here at Long Industries. (The rest is sort of an import/export operation.)

Anyway, I opened the letter and knew my advice was needed. Here’s an abridged version of the message with all the good bits, sort of like Moby Dick without all that whale anatomy (as interesting as all that may be):

“Senior year of high school, I dated this guy – long distance. As is inevitable, we broke it off shortly after starting college. Then I met a guy who was exactly like the other guy, but with my same ideals. Score. So I’ve been dating the new and improved version for over a year, and have tried remaining friends with the ex and his mother, who still calls me her daughter. Here’s the catch: in a couple of weeks, the mom is driving past here for work. So she’s going to stop by and see me. But it looks like her son, my ex, is going to come up and stay with me for the three-day weekend while she goes and does work somewhere else. My ex is a Jehovah’s Witness. I think part of him still resents me for not marrying him. The weekend that he’s coming up is Valentine’s Day weekend. What should be done? – ‘Bri.'”

Quite the predicament.

First of all, I should warn that relationship woes are not my area of expertise. I tend to deal with things like, “What movie should I watch?” or “How deep of a hole should I dig to keep the coyotes away from the body I’m hiding?” You know, pertinent things.

So with that in mind, I think the liquid-metal killer T-1000 has a perfect quote for Bri: “Get. Out.”

I can’t think of one good thing that could come out of such an odd setup. Valentine’s Day in itself sounds like a nightmare. (I’ve never been there, personally.) The last thing I’d want to deal with are two doppelganger lovers vying for my affection. That sounds like something out of the Twilight Zone.

The simplest way to deal with this is to tell your ex that having him around just isn’t your jam. If he already resents you, what’s a little more resentment thrown on top of that? From personal experience, it’s best to break things off clean – that’s the way it is with severed limbs, at least.

I can’t think of one good reason why an ex-lover would want to hang around unless he was trying to re-holler. There are exceptions to this, as always, but my advice would be to pick one and to cut the other loose. It’s around this point that your ex will have to get his shit together and move on.

Of course, you could always pit one against the other. In the good ol’ days, animals would have to fight tooth, nail and antler for mating rights. What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with a bare-knuckled brawl to the death? That way you can be sure you’re choosing the right guy. Buy a keg and a tent. You can even turn a profit selling tickets to the extravaganza.

It doesn’t all have to be violent. You could hold a triathlon of sorts. Maybe start these rival lovers off with something academic, like a game of WordTwist. Then move onto some kind of test of spirit where you pour scalding oil on them and the first to move is… less scalded. I don’t know. I’ll have to think about that one. Maybe just stick to that bare-knuckle-brawl-to-the-death I was talking about.

That’s just an idea. I’m just thinking out loud here (on paper).

You know, I could be wrong, though. It’s happened twice before. Maybe the three of you will all get along fine and Valentine’s Day will be the happiest day in the world. And then the sun will set in the north and a whale will write a book about Nixon called Tricky Dick and have all these detailed chapters about the human endocrine system. It could happen.

WILL LONG believes that animals know best. How do you think he got all those expensive cigars and that high-rise corner office? Leave a message with his raccoon secretary at wclong@ucdavis.edu.

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