The power of sideburns. And public nudity.
I’m sure we’d like to sit around here and talk about death, and it’s certainly easy to wallow in the ruins after the divorce bomb blows your house up. There’s a flipside to all this moroseness, though, and that is remembering the little milestones that helped you realize you were slowly digging yourself out of the crater. I have two favorites.
The first is the scene in Talladega Nights when Ricky Bobby comes home to find his wife shacked up with his best friend. He confronts her about it while their sons, Walker and Texas Ranger, look on. And after he incredulously asks if she’s asking for a divorce, the boys throw their fists in the air and yell, “YAAAAAY! TWO CHRISTMASES!”
When I first saw that, I was in the divorce’s first throes and walking around with my heart in my mouth. My drug of choice was Broad Comedy, which is great for turning your brain off. I was watching the movie with my laptop perched on my chest, and when I heard that line I closed the lid and stared at the ceiling for a while. Two fucking Christmases.
When I saw that line again on TV a few months later, though, I laughed, because it’s funny. And when I remembered how that line had hit me before, I had a touchstone. A specific, quantifiable control that said, “You’re getting over this.”
The second involves our Sunday Evening Kid Exchange Point. During the year when we lived 200 blocks apart, we chose a meeting place that was about halfway between our apartments. It also happened to be two blocks from the office building where we met, and after she and the kids left I sometimes walked those streets and invented a thousand time machines that took me back to simpler, happier times.
Now, one of our favorite spots is this, which the boys enjoy fully. I like to call it something that rhymes with “Stock Exchange.” Plus, it lets us cityfolk introduce our children to the joys of hanging out at the mall.
I know divorce feels like you’re in a tunnel, and sometimes a light at the end of that tunnel might be an oncoming train. But it might also be a golden shaft of light reflected off a golden shaft.