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May 22, 2021

Is there an off switch?


“You are such a goddamn loser,” Melodie says.

She’s talking about me. She’s talking to me, well, sort of. Really she’s grandstanding for her lawyer and my lawyer and an invisible audience only she can see.

In another 10 minutes, she will be tweeting about it because anything worth saying is worth saying to your 40 followers on Twitter. She’s a part of what I’ve taken to calling the leisure club. A group of women, some men, let’s not be sexist, but mainly women who have corrupted the life of June Cleaver by jettisoning all the menial work like cleaning toilets, doing laundry, or mopping floors to make room for social.

In any other industry, they would call it disruption. Melodie is disrupting the traditional housewife role with a modern version, one where you spend your day tweeting or fawning and preening for your next Instagram selfie. Melodie is 38 and her biggest disappointment is that she can’t ride the sugar daddy train that is the disruption of the disruption — women who fawn over men who are so desperate for affection that they don’t even insist on sex for money. Being a sugar baby is what Melodie longs to be but sadly the market for frumpy women with no personality who are unwilling to put out is weak at the moment. Stupid economy.

“Are you even listening to me,” she says again as though I’m an idiot.

I give her my best blank stare because I know that it bothers her tremendously when I don’t answer. In addition to be a narcissist, Melodie is a diva — she is the cliché of every dilettante soccer mom ever and, until two minutes ago, she was my wife.

But Melodie is fucking Paul now and I guess they will soon marry and things will be good for a while until they aren’t. Than he will be the new me and I will be, well, dead.

You see I’ve decided to kill myself.

Not out of any sense of desperation or depression or for any other sad reason. I’m going to kill myself because I’ve had a good run. Humans weren’t meant to live forever. I’ve spent a lot of time reading the literature. This idea that we are meant to find happiness is nothing more than the delusional machinations of a species that is terrified to die. Instead of just procreating and dying like every other species on the planet, we just linger, overstaying our welcome because God or whoever didn’t install an off switch. And don’t even get me started on the holy rollers preaching about the promised land in the great hereafter. If it is so damn great, why is it no one is in a hurry to get there? Why are we all huddling in the lobby when apparently there is a real rager going on up there in heaven?

No, I’m pretty sure the only reason most people stick around after having kids and raising them is that are either living the billionaire lifestyle or hoping to. Hope. Hope is the hook that keeps people going, and it is packaged and sold like a fine wine. It’s a drug about as addictive as heroine with the same high and the same low. But I’ve done my biological part and now it is time to check myself into rehab and ween myself off hope. Like I said, I’ve had a good run. I didn’t win the race but I figure I placed in the top 50.

But now my twin daughters are grown up and started college last week. If the whole point of my existence was to procreate and parent, well, my work is done. No sense in overstaying my welcome. Now that the girls are grown up, the wife is an ex, all that’s left for me to do is pull the trigger and move on to the next adventure. I’m not a monster. As my now ex-wife points out, I suppose I rank as something of a loser. I’m a technical writer by trade, a boring and inglorious job. No one goes to college aspiring to be a technical writer. We’re the folks who write the instructions that are imprinted on the side of pretty much every product man has ever made — from tampons to tricycles, cars to chairs, our function is to make it possible for even the dumbest among us to get the job done. As you can probably imagine, there are no Nobel prizes for technical writing and Hollywood is not busting down our door to option our written work. On a good day, maybe we made someone’s life better, on a bad day, the instructions led someone to mix the wrong ingredients and left them with a case of diarrhea.

Of course, although I’ve made the decision to kill myself there are a few things I have to deal with first. I was reading about closure and can see that while it may not have any impact on me, others might like a chance to say their goodbyes. In the case of Melodie, I’m letting her rant and rave because I secretly hope that once I’m dead, she will suffer from severe guilt over the things she has said about me. Then there’s my parents, my siblings and, of course, my girls. Though I can’t tell them about my plan to kill myself, I do think I need to at least give them a chance to say their goodbyes. And in the case of my girls, I can’t leave their financial fortune to chance and I can’t depend on Melodie or her new fuck-pal, Paul, to take care of them if they run into problems.

My plan is to take out an insurance policy on my life and set up a trust for each of the girls. I figure if I’m going to go out, why not set them both up for a better life than the one I had. Sure, I can’t insulate them from their crazy mother but I can leave them with enough cash to make sure that they can get the best therapy money can buy.

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