Funny how planning a wedding, a celebration of love, leads to conversations about divorce. What? It’s true.
On gorgeous, sunny days do we talk about the vicious rainstorm that ruined last weekend’s picnic? Well, I guess sometimes we do.
We are creatures, on good days, who think about the whole picture. The bigger picture. The good, the bad, and the divorce.
Thus talk of marriage brings talk of divorce. Talk of unions leads to talk of splitting. Talk of splitting makes me think about bananas.
You can split a banana, and put ice cream between the two slices, and slather it with chocolate and cherries, whipped cream and nuts, and nobody cares that the banana is no longer whole. Everyone is excited to see it divided, and they don’t even remember what it was like when it was one, all wrapped up in a comfy yellow skin, hanging all crazy upside down on a tree. Nope. People just remember the joy and the yum of that damn fruit severed right down the middle. And it’s dessert.
Divorce should be more like bananas.
You can split a second. You can do something so fast, or something can happen so quickly, that an observer doesn’t even notice it. Yet it could be a big deal. Smooth and harmless. Like in magic. And in a split second, the rabbit appeared, the card came to the top, the quarter vanished.
Divorce should be more like seconds.
You can split a strand of hair. My girlfriends and I, when we were teens with long teen-aged hair, would sit around with scissors – yes, we did this – talking and laughing as we used to do, and we would use the scissors to snip off the split ends of individual strands of hair. A result of dry winter conditions, chlorine from pools, too much sun, blow dryers, or curling irons. Lots of brushing. The solution was simple. A good trim, but better yet, hanging out with friends, scissors in hand, solving life’s little problems.
Divorce should be more like split ends.
Splitting hairs, however, is another thing. We don’t like it when people split hairs, when they go on about something, usually in an argument, comparing two things, and diving deeply into unnecessary detail to prove their point. This can be important if you are arguing for the use of a comma, or the amount of a prescription drug to take. It can be annoying if you have been pulled over, and the cop tells you that you were going 10 mph over the speed limit, and you are tempted do say, “No,officer, I am sure it was 8 mph.” You may then be accused of splitting hairs, and you will get the ticket anyway. Don’t split hairs if you don’t have to.
Divorce should not be about splitting hairs.
As if you could split kids. (Stick to splitting hairs, I say). Imagine a couple during divorce negotiation: “You take the right halves, and I’ll take the left.” or “You take the front halves, I’ll take the backs.” As if the kids were were cattle, and parents were butchers, and divorce judges could procure meat for the courts. ‘Just all ham shanks this week.’
Is that any more ridiculous than ‘You take summers.’ Or weekends. Or after school hours? Or, as is the case with the person who bought my house in Flagstaff, four doors up from the house her ex-husband had just purchased, so they could “Split the kids.”
What? But all of that would be better, I suppose, than the parent who does not want half. Back, front, summer, or otherwise. Doesn’t even want a quarter. Not a rump. Not the lard. Like a vegetarian walking right by the butcher shop.
Divorce should not be like butchering the calf, or the kids, as the case may be.
You can split atoms. Kaboom! What a cool thing it must have been, for a split second anyway, for good old Ernie Rutherford, when he realized all the energy that could be released when he split that first atom. ‘Holy fucking shit’ he might have said years later. Einstein said something like that. This is bad. This could be really bad.
This is probably not unlike what some married people go through. A kaboom sort of moment. That Holy-Fucking-Shit-I-can-do-this moment. That moment when they realize that they can get out of this thing that is bringing them down, or confusing them, or wearing them out, or scaring them. They can act like an atom. Kaboom.
Divorce should not be like atoms.
You can split the check. When you are out for a meal with a friend, and you order very similar things, or you order things to split, it makes sense, and can make the wait person’s life a little easier–especially if it’s a little busy inside the establishment–by splitting the check.
Now granted, there are those (and we’ve all been with, or been, this person) who say, “Let’s just split the check,” when it is really not an even deal. When the suggestor has, in fact, had twice as many drinks, or an extra order of fries, or dessert, or whatever. So splitting isn’t really a proposal of even distribution.
The suggestee may often feel obligated to agree, to be nice, or to save said wait person a moment or two during their busy shift.
Or, the suggestee could just hang on to their onions (as the Russians call them), or ovaries as the case may be, and say, ‘No, that’s okay. I’ve got cash.’ (Good to always carry cash for just this type of situation).
Suggestor might then look a little put out because they might have kind of sort of thought they were going to get a bit of a free ride on this one, and were, in fact, just about to order another glass of wine.
Divorce should be like checks.
You can split a house, and split-level houses were a mid-century rage. So you could be upstairs, sort of. Or downstairs, kind of. Or hard to find, always.
The Macklers moved into such a home in the late seventies, and it came in handy for someone like my mother, who had a bad back. She did not have to go up the whole flight of stairs with each delivery of clean laundry.
Or for me because I had places to go. The little den on the lowest level. The big television room on the middle level. Or the sitting room on the upper level. Houses should always have places to get away. Especially when there are lots of kids. To get away from.
Divorce should be like houses.
You can split that dang infinitive. And usually repair it right away, or you should at least try for heaven’s sake. For instance, that famous one: “To boldly go where no man has gone before . . .” That is one split infinitive that should have been repaired! It should have been “To go boldly where no man has gone before.” And, while we’re at it, let’s repair that other tiny slip. “To go boldly where no one has gone before.” See, there you go. All fixed.
Divorce should be like an infinitive.
You can split a gut. Laughing until you do is a bit of a gruesome image. However, the exaggeration of it is why it is compelling. Same as splitting your sides, or your pants. Laughter, a good hard belly laugh, does feel that way. As if there is going to be a physical division of some sort. Laugh your head off. Laugh ’til you pee your pants. Luckily, except for maybe a sore jaw bone, or aching gut muscle, or maybe a little dribble in your drawers, laughing hard is good medicine.
Divorce should be like guts.
Speaking of peas. You can split them. Sunday was often soup day in the Mackler household. And, said soup was often made by my dad. One of my favorites was split pea soup. Bright green soup with pastel pink chunks of ham. Colorful and yummy both.
Those little hard nugget peas, like rocks they are, could choke a baby! Or old lady. But when you cook them so long they turn into gloopy glop, and then that magic happens. and you have . . . soup! Rich and memorable. Savory and heartwarming.
Granted, if you’re like me, said soup from former rocks might lead to a little bit of gas. But I live alone. We’re all good.
Divorce should be like peas.
Divorce, I suppose, is rarely what we think it will be. Or should be. If we have thought about it at all. Until the surprise moment. Kaboom. The split and the long lasting ripples. Rippling right through new marriages. New love.
Just make soup, I say. Or pie. We survive.
Put Mystery in a Pie
Put mystery in a pie
and you’ll have them begging for more
Put scorn in the crust
and it will brown too dark
Put cinnamon in split pea soup
your guests will think it is so exotic
With some people
it doesn’t take much to make them feel exotic
Remember when tacos were exotic, to most Americans,
and then Taco Bell took over
Remember when goulash was exotic
it will stay that way
Put mystery in a pie
in between each apple or berry
Tuck a secret between the spices
seal it up with butter on your fingers
There’s mystery in the American pie
to this day some don’t understand
Who was Miss American Pie?
or why did we have to say good bye?
There’s also mystery in Pi
keeping scientists up late
all over the world
Do her lithe lines ever end?
There’s mystery in pie charts
especially those used by candidates
to make points for the dummies
They think we’re all dummies
There’s no berries in pie charts
that’s a problem, no mystery
because a few huckles or straws
a goose or a blue
a rasp or a black
now we’re talking