"On the knees of your soul? Might as well be useful. Scrub the floor." - Saul Bellow, Herzog
Where it is explained further what it means to not ever have had to suck cock. Last in a series exploring the Sponge Thief's complex relationships with his vehicles, and by extension, his life, and by extension, our lives.
In Loving Memory of the Prized Jeep
His mourning leads him, as it always does when he loses yet another car to dereliction, to recount the long drawn-out history of defunct cars of his past. There are a dozen or more whose demise I have personally witnessed, starting with the cherished cream colored CJ 7 Jeep that he drove when we first met 22-years ago. The Jeep is the prized auto to which all other jalopies have paled in comparison for decades, and no car conversation ever ends without a trip down memory lane to the days of the hallowed Jeep.
I am convinced, were it not for the presence of the famed Jeep, he never would have wooed me into his life in the first place. Perhaps that is why it is particularly onerous to hear the fairy tale revisited every single time a new jalopy dies. On the outside the Jeep seemed smooth yet powerful. Its V-8 engine roared loudly, and excited me with the promise of the ride of a lifetime–a way to escape my reality and live in a world where someone else, who could be trusted, and said all the right things was behind the wheel. It was a badass vehicle that could drive over any obstacle that got in our way, which came in handy because we had a lot of hindrances, including reality, in our life in need of a good running over.
The façade of the Jeep took some time to crack. Even when I stood high atop a mountain, many miles from anywhere, next to the broken down Jeep with a snapped front-axel, I had no idea of the long line of jalopies whose demise I would witness over the next two decades. These car deaths would show me time and again how very wrong my fantasy was of my getaway car that was sexy on the outside, but rusted out and defunct on the inside.
Bad Luck Favors the Delusional
As was true for that Jeep, and is also true for all of Our Ex-Husband’s cars, his jobs, his money, his housing, his wives, his children, his teeth and his college degrees that have come and gone in a fiery blaze, they are all usually lost due to his lack of capacity to deal with basic reality.
For the cars for example, not having money to fix their ailments well before they become terminal is surely an obstacle. But before those maladies actually even strike, the inability to foresee the inevitable breakdown and ensuing sorrow that comes from ignoring the basics of car maintenance that will hasten their death is nothing less than remarkable.
Then the bemoaning of the bad luck ensues.
Understanding the logic of the bad luck that comes from not once flushing the transmission in a 28-year old car and then not expecting things to end badly is tricky. It requires a break from reality most people aren’t capable of achieving. The idea that luck might favor the prepared is entirely lost on Our Ex-Husband.
The Great Revival
Our Ex-Husband isn’t capable of most shit most of the time. In fact, any time things aren’t on fire or a near death experience isn’t being endured, Our Ex-Husband lacks even the most modest capacity to follow through or be relied upon. When the crisis involves a derelict automobile that has been neglected and driven until it literally spontaneously combusts, however, he goes into action–the kind of action replete with the most luckless maneuvers possible, that in his mind can right all with no cash required. This comes in handy because no cash exists in the lives of our Ex-Husband. A series of “Jerry Rigging” maneuvers are attempted, and an even deeper leave of absence from reality begins.
Definition of Jerry Rigging:
To fix an object (usually mechanical) to a working condition in a haphazard way. Also known as doing a MacGyver on it. This can apply to any non-working thing, to fix it in a nonconventional way. This term was created during WW2, in reference to the Germans who were referred to as "Jerries" as slang. Allies often came across hastily repaired objects left by the Germans hence the term Jerry-Rig came to be.
Past classic maneuvers in the Jerry Rigging department have included: fastening a rusted gas tank back into a 65’ banana yellow Ford Galaxy using bright blue luggage straps; holding the axel of the famed CJ 7 Jeep suspension in place with stray bobby pins found in his girlfriend’s hair while off-roading; plotting routes to his destination that never require him to go in reverse or over 11 mph for the eight months his 90' Nissan Maxima can only be driven in first gear; and parking the 85’ Toyota Supra over a baking pan at night, so that in the morning when every last drop of oil has drained out of the multitude of leaks in the engine, it can be poured back in and used again.
The Great Fall
The great fall out of his delusional state only happens when these slipshod Jerry Rig maneuvers land a car defunct in the middle of a large intersection at rush hour on a 105 degree day, or our child cowering on the side of the freeway in a fiery gulf of stupidity. These deaths are never understated, and the lament at the deepening bad luck Our Ex-Husband experiences is far reaching.
By this point, all parties involved beg to be put out of their misery, but the misery has only begun. For this is when the emphatic pleas of desperation are initiated and Our Ex-Husband, the Sponge Thief himself, does what he does best and turns his attention to sponge off his ex-wife.
He slathers me with so much assholishness and tumult that I am rendered deaf, dumb and blindsided with rage anew as though the last dozen times have taught me exactly nothing.
Past classic sponging maneuvers involving dead and defunct cars included the time a charge for a $6,000 transmission installed in a 7 series BMW with 280,000 miles showed up on my credit card statement well after we were no longer together. This was followed by the time the mechanic I had been going to for ten years suddenly called me to say that my husband had dropped off our new car – a 90’ Nissan Maxima – and the car and its $2,063 worth of repairs was ready to be picked up. The only problem was I no longer had a husband and my car was in the driveway. I should have been infuriated that my mechanic would believe he was my husband and that somehow I all of a sudden owned a 17-year old heap of junk. But the Sponge Thief is nothing if not adept at convincing even the shrewdest person of the most improbable schemes, and this was just another in a long miserable line of schemes with a jalopy theme.
When I contested the BMW transmission on my credit card, I had to pay it anyway because we were not yet officially divorced at that point. I also had to give a painful explanation to my current mechanic on the stupidity of all persons involved and explain why this husband imposter was really my ex and the Maxima was his car not ours. But no matter how many times I won’t bail him out, Our Ex-Husband will keep trying, because he knows that he may get lucky if he wears me down enough and has sufficiently sucked all the resistance out of me with his incessant sponging. It's true: he doesn't suck cock; instead, he sucks the goodness and/or cash out of anyone within close range.
A Life Sentence Commuted?
My son turned 18-years old this year, and graduated from high school in the spring. For years I pretended our son becoming an adult would mean bearing witness to the long era of my Ex-Husband’s Jerry Rigged life would come to a rapid and tidy end–my manacles of stupidity finally shed. But alas, having a child with a Sponge Thief is a life sentence because kids don’t turn 18 and magically stop needing parenting–and with parenting comes co-parenting.
So alas I can never really let my vigilance wane, for he’ll always have fantastical tales of woe ready to lure me in if I let him. Lest I let my guard down for even one minute, he will not only have my every sponge, but my second car as well. And because it’s his biggest accomplishment he will manage to remind me that no matter how down and out he has always been, and will always be, he has never had to suck a single cock. Why should he, when he can always get someone else to do it for him?
Second in a series examining the Sponge Thief and the Symbolism of His Cars.
“At least I haven’t had to suck cock.”
My ex-husband is standing next to the shithole crawlspace over a garage he calls home while this declaration comes rushing out as part of a flooded and tangential monologue. He is reviewing in great detail why none of the catastrophes in his life of late, and therefore in mine, are his fault.
Atop the list of recent calamities is his only hours-dead jalopy that met a fiery end on the side of the freeway while our teenage son was driving. My relief that my child did not meet the same fiery end on the side of the 101 freeway, and the fury that it was even a possibility compels me to make an effort to look for logic where none ever exists. Though our kid’s brush with a flood of automotive fluids, billowing smoke, and flames is my only concern, the word salad being tossed from my ex-husband’s lips also includes his plight that nobody will hire him after being fired three times in as many months; and not shockingly it also contains a lengthy explanation of why he needs to borrow my second car.
When he proclaims his good fortune at avoiding having to suck cock, I replay his pronouncement in my mind a few times to make sure I understand it. Despite my earnest efforts, I have great difficulty comprehending his relishing in his success at not being reduced to sucking cock amid a life catching fire around him. It is an ironic statement to be sure, especially given the several years he chose not to work while we were still married, which is when I found myself doing exactly the thing he had been so pleased to have avoided.
I was 21-years old and going to college full time, and my then 36 year old husband was doing community theater for free when I made the choice to become a prostitute. I wanted to stay in school, but I could no longer deny that my two jobs were just not cutting it. Our financial ruin grew by leaps and bounds by every semester that passed, (and the corresponding community theater production). Not surprisingly, every student loan and credit card was in my name, and my name alone.
I had to make a bunch of cash and prostituting was the only way I could think of to do it quickly enough to stop the bleeding and to stay in school. Perhaps it goes without saying that said prostitution included sucking cock–a whole lot of wanton, and often flaccid cock. But that was the price I paid for staying in school and letting go of the fairy tale that I no longer believed existed. By then I was all too aware that princesses had to save themselves.
As I stand there in his driveway, I begin to get lost in the events of those early college years. But after his cock sucking assertion, My Ex Husband does not pause long enough for me to respond to this small, yet significant side note. Instead he earnestly continues to spew forth his tale of woe at his usual alarming rate of speed and I know exactly where we are headed.
to be continued
One may recall that J. Mitigate posted a piece about her Sponge Thief's affection for his Jeep CJ7. It became apparent that an accompanying piece was necessary in order to explain T. Halophile's Sponge Thief's parallel regard for his Jeep CJ7. After all, this more-than-coincidental over-regard for the Jeep CJ7 became one of the forensic milestones in discovering we may have the same ExHusband. However, it became apparent that in order to fully deconstruct T. Halophile's Sponge Thief's regard for his Jeep CJ7, the entire archaelogy of his vehicles must first be examined.
I was five centimeters dialated when giving birth to my son when I started to have brief moments of clarity about my life. I was nineteen, a freshman in college, and married to a man twice my age whose life choices were questionable at best. In that moment I begin to see this was an ill thought out life choice to have a baby with such a man, but the real eye opener, was 36 hours later when my husband was driving my newborn son and I home from the hospital and our 1990 Mazda 323 gave birth to its stillborn transmission in the intersection of Kalakaua Avenue and Kaiulani Street.
My breast milk flowed freely in that intersection, as did my tears for I now foresaw the years of struggle ahead with previously unknown clarity, and the cars that followed the lifeless Mazda told the tale.
The Mazda begat the 1990 Nissan Sentra and it wasn’t until we took if for an oil change a week after purchasing it from some fast talking locals that the mechanic broke the news that nearly all parts of the engine and body were held together with coat hangers.
After paying someone to tow the Sentra out of the driveway mere weeks later, we bought a 1980 Toyota Corolla wagon off of a welfare mother for $800. It was our last $800.
The Corolla had huge rust holes in the body, and the cockroaches that infested the interior no doubt fed on the WIC purchased cheese and cheerios strewn across the backseat. Having done it to several cars in his day, my husband bondo’ed the rust holes with pride before he spray-painted the entire car flat black and voila–“The Briquette” was born.
With each year that came our financial struggles seemed to multiply like those welfare cockroaches in the backseat of The Briquette.
My husband picked me up from campus everyday and each time I awaited his arrival, I fantasized that somehow he would get it together and show up in a reliable car, and tell me he had a job and that everything was going to be fine. But day after day and week after week I heard The Briquette’s arrival a few blocks before it turned the corner, and the announcement that he had quite the theatre and had a paying gig never happened.
To put it wisely as my friend did:
"...To do justice by whatever it is to which you have committed your time and attention, the idea is that you have to work on it, intensely, every day.
"And that is what it takes to be a good parent: mainichi."
To our dismay, the Sponge Thief would rather steals sponges than to show up every day - but it takes years before we realize that this is the best thing that could ever happen to us. The farther in the distance my Sponge Thief fades, the better off we all are...