I’d Tell a Joke Here, but I’ve Got Nothing

In this installment of Fixing Me, Gregory Sherl obsesses over all the men she touched below the waist.

So I’m in the shower, right, soaping my legs and arms and parts of my back I can reach if I stretch out like it’s bed even though I’m standing, and then I get an idea for a book I want or maybe need to write: the definitive book on jealousy, called (drumroll, whistle, side hug) … Jealousy.

Out of the shower I run my new book idea by Elizabeth.

First, I tell Elizabeth, I need the names and addresses of all the men you touched below the waist.

In my mind I have already rented a car, bought a tape recorder that fits in the breast pocket of the new black T-shirts I have also bought, some Clif Bars for energy.

A chapter for every guy, a monetary reason for me to think the things I think.

Epic, I tell her. We’ll be rich or at the very least, not nearly so poor.

My beautiful future wife says, You can have a book or a marriage.

And this is the end of that conversation.

I’d tell a joke here but I’ve got nothing.

♦◊♦

For the past few nights I’ve been sleeping on the couch. I don’t mean to but it’s where I nod off, and the next thing I know it’s morning. Sometimes Elizabeth is getting ready for work; sometimes it’s the weekend, and Elizabeth is still in bed.This morning I wake up a little after nine. It’s Sunday, and Elizabeth is still sleeping. Last night Elizabeth made black beans and rice, and then we drank wine while watching L.A. Story. In L.A. Story Steve Martin talks to a signpost. The signpost tells him that the weather will change his life, twice.

I don’t find this even a little bit strange.

Steve Martin’s car breaks down in front of the signpost because it’s supposed to.

My heart is cracking in Vermont. It’s supposed to do that, right?

Gracie, our cat, is curled up on my legs and thighs. Gracie is a heater, so my legs are always on fire, but that’s OK: I live in fucking Vermont, the opposite of a heater.

I pet Gracie until I can no longer pretend that I don’t have to pee.

Is Gracie jealous of everything else I touch today?

♦◊♦

Sitting in my apartment I think about my past. I think about my fiancée’s past. I think about how I could fit all of the women I have slept with in the kitchen. Yes, they would be crowded, their elbows might bump, rub into walls, but these women could fit there, drinking a Petite Sirah and not making eye contact with one another.

But my fiancée’s lovers: they would roll into the living room, the hallways between the guest bedroom and the master. They would stretch out and smell like men on the couch. They would smoke cigarettes on the patio, though they would have to take turns. It’s a small patio.

These men’s coats wouldn’t fit in the coat closet. Coat closets are small. These men are not small; they hulk, flex in front of mirrors, wear too much Axe Body Spray. They would have to drape their winter wear over the backs of chairs, leave their down coats in the empty dishwasher, covering the front of the TV set, or preferably inside the fireplace.

These men would scare Gracie; she would hide in the coat closet. She would stay there until my mind wandered onto something else, and these men upon men would disappear from the apartment they were never invited to.

♦◊♦

Who has the energy to brush his teeth before or after breakfast?

I have been thinking about all of the ways I could die but not mean to: get hit by a car while crossing Main Street, try to ski the black diamond, accidentally brush my teeth with acid, maybe just not eat.

What I mean is I have been thinking about suicide, but I don’t want to kill myself—I don’t really have the energy to properly do it.

Do Good Men ever kill themselves?

If they do, are they still considered Good Men?

Or are their titles stripped, so they are forever known as Mediocre Men?

The Men-Who-Once-Tried-but-Really-Look-at-Their-Peculiar-Hearts Men.

♦◊♦

I tried once, took a bottle of pills while lying on some blue carpet and drooling on my grandmother’s throw pillow. I didn’t do it right, so I woke up in a hospital room covered in charcoal, surrounded by worried eyes, worried hearts, more years of wishing I did it right.

Three days later the doctors let me go.

I was cured! Or maybe they were bored of trying to cure me.

Six years later here I am.

Surely, I am some kind of project.

Surely, these men don’t think about me. Why am I always thinking about them?

I’d tell a joke here but I’ve still got nothing.

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About Gregory Sherl

Gregory Sherl's first full-length poetry collection, Heavy Petting, was released last October. His newest book, The Oregon Trail is the Oregon Trail, is out this month. He blogs/reviews/interviews here.<

Comments

  1. I think you should trick all these men into getting Into one hummer and driving off a cliff. How will you survive? One word. Jet-pack type thing.

  2. HumbledDad says:

    You’ve got to tell those little guys in your head — the other guys — to go away.

  3. robert howard says:

    Strange, stream of consciousness tale.

  4. I feel sorry for your future wife, who now has to deal with all these little men in your head, as well as you! ;)

  5. A. Goodman says:

    I wouldn’t scare Gracie, Gracie loves me

  6. What Greg doesn’t get is that he is screwed. He is marrying a woman who has more power than him. Once married he will find out what it’s really all about as she does as she pleases because she has him trapped in a marriage contract where the govt makes all of the rules. She will change into someone he doesn’t know. If he complains or objects she will just go to that secret email account. The one with the emails from the former lovers she still communicates with. She will have sex with one of them if she pleases. In the end she will divorce Greg and take him for everything she can. As well as ripping his heart out. It’s then that he will will see the light, but it will be to late of course. Good luck Greg, welcome to hell!

    • Does it get tiring being victimized all the time?

      Instead of recognizing the complex nature of relationships, how people change both separately and in a relationship, its “just that bitches fault, and by bitches I mean all women ever”.

      Yes, we men get screwed sometimes, this is not a tale of that. Take your whiny crap somewhere else and let Greg tell honest tales of real, complex, adult human emotion.

      • Intelligent, mature out look A2 Joe.

        Greogory, we are all projects! Thanks for sharing your personal feelings with raw honesty.

  7. Wow, it really was six years ago. It doesn’t feel like it. I feel like it was just yesterday–how can a few months from six years ago have such a powerful grip on my life?

  8. I have to tell you that I read this post and immediately bought your book.

    It’s weird–there usually isn’t this level of frankness on internet blogs. And if there is, it can become too trite, but I’m intrigued by the small details include because I can tell you are speaking from somewhere deep inside you. I feel like you’ve removed the top of your skull, thus removing all the self-filtering and are letting the story fall out, causing it to come out raw and beautiful.

    Please keep talking.

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