In our last episode, we learned:
- Ricky Martin = gay. Kiefer Sutherland ≠ gay.
- Shania Twain is CRAZY (in love with her ex’s new wife’s ex).
- Mikalee Byerman is CRAZY (crap: no parenthetical content here. I just may be crazy.)
Actually, I guess I should change #3 to read “was CRAZY,” as in past tense. Because as most of you guessed, I did date the ex’s ex ex’s ex…but nope, he is NOT Boyfriend Brett.
So it occurs to me at this point of the conversation that there is an uncomfortable reality about the ex’s ex-ex’s ex that I’ve always avoided: I don’t even want to think about the concept of degrees of separation…
You know what I’m talking about, right? Degrees of separation — like in BEST. GAME. EVER: Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.
According to Wikipedia (the all-knowing knower of all things worth knowing…), this is a “trivia game based on the concept of the small world phenomenon and rests on the assumption that any individual can be linked through his or her film roles to actor Kevin Bacon within six steps. The name of the game is a play on the ‘six degrees of separation’ concept.”
So, to find a Bacon number (mmmm…bacon….), all you have to do is calculate how many steps (through films) it takes to get from your desired person to Kevin Bacon. Would you believe there’s even a website called the Oracle of Bacon that can calculate Bacon numbers in mere seconds?
(Hey now…don’t even think about it. You can all go calculate Bacon numbers ’til you’re blind after you’ve read the rest of this, k?)
Anyhow, in case you’ve managed to find your way back to this post, let’s look at an example:
Ricky Martin —> Kevin Bacon.
Ricky Martin was in Idle Hands with Carl Gabriel York who who was in Apollo 13 with Kevin Bacon. Bacon number from Martin: 2 (hmmm…interesting…that’s a pretty intimate connection there, isn’t it, Bacon boy????)
So with the crazy connections to various odd people in my life, I am thinking of developing a new game. And with all due respect to the Oracle of Bacon (please picture me reverently genuflecting here), I humbly call it Six Degrees of Mikalee Byerman.
Mikalee Byerman —> Fred Astaire
Mikalee Byerman was (amazingly) Photoshopped into a picture with Fred Astaire (by her awesomely talented reader, kitchenmudge). Byerman number from Astaire: 1 (he is dipping me, after all!)
Mikalee Byerman —> John Davidson
Mikalee Byerman was kissed by John Davidson at a Las Vegas variety show in the mid-’70s. Byerman number from Davidson: 1
(Add 50,488,722 points to your score if you even know who John Davidson is…)
Mikalee Byerman —> Michael Bolton
Mikalee Byerman had a 45-minute conversation with Michael Bolton (mmmm….Bolton). Byerman number from Bolton: 1
(Yes, I had a crush on the still-mulleted Bolton between the years 1991 and 1995: post-Milli Vanilli crush years, pre-George Clooney crush years.)
Mikalee Byerman —> Hugh Grant
Mikalee Byerman is dating a man who looks remarkably like Hugh Grant. Byerman number from Grant: 1(ish)
(That counts! Right?)
Mikalee Byerman —> Vanessa Williams
Mikalee Byerman was married to a man whose father was the best man in Vanessa Williams’ first wedding. Byerman number from Vanessa Williams: 3
(I’m still trying to get her to write a forward for my book, based in part on our crazy-low Byerman number. So far, no luck…)
Mikalee Byerman —> Shania Twain
Mikalee Byerman did the same thing Shania Twain did by dating her ex’s new wife’s ex. Byerman number from Twain: 0
(Clearly, we’re like the same person. With different bank accounts. And vocal chords. And bodies. And happily-ever-afters. And teeth.)
Mikalee Byerman —> Marilyn Manson
Mikalee Byerman dated her ex’s ex-ex’s ex: Byerman number from Marilyn Manson: 2
At this point, my goal in life is to spread the wealth a little — low Byerman numbers mean STOP BEING CRAZY AND LIMITING YOUR CHOICES TO THE ONLY OTHER MAN WHO DATED HER!
(Quick aside: Byerman…Bacon…Bolton…Davidson…Manson. Are you seeing the same pattern I am?)
Anyhow, the ex’s ex-ex’s ex (which is now just getting cumbersome… henceforth, we shall call him “X Man”) and I met at the ball park. And our first conversation was at the concession stand, when I looked at him and said, “Wow, do I have a lot of questions for you.” His response, “Yeah, me too.”
But our conversation was cut short by the helicopter exes, who swooped down and started hovering so close, we feared they may start spinning out of control as their main rotor blades bounced off each other.
So we decided to meet up after the game at El Pollo Loco (which, for you bilingual folks, appropriately translates to “The Crazy Chicken”).
Crazy chicken indeed.
We talked for a long time that evening over our scrumptious vegetables and even scrumptiouser chicken. We talked for a long time on the phone that night. We shared silly inconsistencies in the stories each ex had offered us. We shared hypothesized meeting times (and confirmed meeting times). We shared questions, speculations and assumptions.
Of course, there was a connection based on shared experience. Here we were, five short months after my divorce, nine short months after his, with no answers whatsoever. Each of us had lived the other half of this experience, which allowed us to connect many of the dots at the bottom of each looming question mark.
Only the result of this dot-to-dot was not worthy of a coloring book: neither a silly smiling airplane, nor a My Pretty Pony. It was a hot ugly mess. Also known as a huglymess.
To this day (more than two years after the conclusion of our short-term relationship), I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that there was absolutely no connection based on revenge, or spite, or intentionally making The Others (dig the Lost reference?) uncomfortable. After all, why would they feel uncomfortable in the first place? I knew I didn’t have that power any more over my ex, as he clearly couldn’t care less about me based on how he ended our 11-year marriage.
But he did care. She did care. They made comment after comment about how crazy we both were. And yet, we were just two adults with a crazy common experience.
I’m not going to say a whole lot about the four weeks that X-Man and I dated (and the few months during which we remained very close friends). It was a bizarre time, yet much of it was — dare I say — fun (he did give me the best date of my life. Seriously. Best date ever.).
But let’s just say: The situation did not end well. At all. It was ill-fated from the start, as I kept struggling with the idea that I was dating the only other man in the world who had also had a long-term relationship with the OW in my marriage. Ick.
And while he and I are no longer close friends, he is remarried now, and we do still see one another at games and gatherings. I know where he came from in the relationship, and how we got to where we got that resulted in the bat-shit crazy end of what was a bat-shit crazy idea in the first place.
…which brings us to the pastor.
In the aftermath of this new “break-up” in my life, I received a phone call. From the pastor of my new ex, a.k.a. the ex’s ex-ex’s ex, a.k.a. X-Man. He said he’d like to meet — to talk about what had happened in my past and what was happening in my present.
Of course, I was curious. I mean, what could he possibly want to share with me? What did he know? You see, he was not only X-Man’s pastor, but he was her pastor, too (when they were married). And employer (yes, she worked for a pastor, a man of God, a representative of all that is holy … matrimony included. Isn’t that hysterically, side-splittingly funny?).
I remember that day so well. I walked into an office that could best be described as churchy-chic: ‘70s inspired shag carpeting, an old overstuffed sofa and symbolism everywhere. One wall: covered in ankhs. On the other: a gold dagger affixed to a piece of wood with a gold plaque underneath. I struggled for the meaning (since I couldn’t make out the engraving), but I didn’t have to wait long before the dagger was used. Symbolically, of course…
“Did you know the word ‘divorce’ derives from the Latin word for ‘amputation?’” he asked.
“No, I didn’t,” I sheepishly responded, wondering where THE HELL this was going.
“So what would happen if I grabbed that dagger on the wall and chopped off your arm?” he asked.
(At this point, the conversation easily became the strangest interaction I’d ever had with a Man of God.)
He saw me struggling to respond and decided to complete the thought himself.
“Would it be neat and clean? Would I calmly grab your arm, wrap it up, and call a family member to come pick you up to take you to the hospital? Nope, there’d be blood everywhere. Spurting blood. We’d be panicking and screaming and trying to stop the bleeding. The blood would be all over the carpet, my sofa, the table here. The paramedics would come, and they’d be feverishly trying to stop the bleeding. It would be ugly and disgusting and messy.”
(Yip. Strangest convo ever with a pastor. I refrained from trying to clarify why he’d be helping me after he CUT OFF MY ARM IN THE FIRST PLACE, but it didn’t seem appropriate to be so fixated on the semantics.)
His point, I think, was to tell me that feeling crazy in the aftermath of my divorce was A-OK. That is was normal to be frantic and frenzied and not feel myself. Because dammit, my arm was missing. Symbolically speaking, of course.
Anyhow, the kind pastor really was very comforting (despite the dagger talk), and he shared with me other information that gave me a great sense of calm. He assured me that everything I had guessed about the calculating OW and her agenda was right on the money. He knew her well, after all — he was her boss. And her pastor. And X-Man’s pastor. Probably Kevin Bacon’s, too…
So as a result of all of the above, I have found myself adding to my ever-evolving list of things you should NEVER do in life. Namely, one should NEVER:
- Date the ex’s ex-ex’s ex. Then try to calculate degrees of separation. AW-KWARD!
- Wear white sunglasses. (Seriously. NO ONE looks good in white sunglasses).
- End a marriage with a brick.
- Piss off kitchenmudge (I don’t want to even think about who he’d Photoshop me with if I angered him…)
- Final thoughts on the whole X-Man/pastor/amputation story?
- Anything to add to the list of things to NEVER do in life? Because clearly, my common sense needs help…
- Seriously: Boyfriend Brett and Hugh Grant are like the same person, right? And I didn’t even stage that pic…I took it, got to looking at it and thought “Where have I seen this expression?” Then I found the mugshot…BINGO!
- Tell me about my fun Byerman numbers through all of you. For example, because of bitchin’ bloggy buddy Lori Dyan, I know the following:
Tom Selleck —> Mikalee Byerman
Tom Selleck once kissed Lori Dyan, who sometimes reads and comments on Mikalee Byerman’s blog. Byerman number from Selleck = 2.