Well, How Can I Forget You, Girl...

...when there is always something there to remind me?

(Sorry, this was the best I could come up with if you wanted to sing along. The actual video on YouTube is un-embeddable, although after watching it, I can see why.)

But really, how am I gonna forget this girl? Seriously, EVERYTHING reminds me of her. And it's the great, happy reasons-why-I-love-her memories ('cuz to be honest, I have no bad memories of her/us.) Here's how my day went:

*Wake up and think to myself "Has the past week-and-a-half all been a bad, horrible dream?" Nope. It's reality. And it sucks.

*Get ready for work and reach for my toothbrush. Oh yeah, I packed it for the move. What's left in the apartment? Her old toothbrush. (I know you're dying to know if I used it: Damn right I did. Does that make me some sicko? Not in a physical kind of sicko just because I'm using something that was in her mouth, but in the mental kind of sicko...I sure hope not.)

*I head to the mailbox because I never made it yesterday. I have three items: Pizza Hut coupons (straight into the recycle bin...SHIT! She was so all about recycling and turned me into a good little green guy...not gonna lie, if there's ANYTHING I take out of the relationship, it was that she made me a better person in so many ways...recycling, converted me into a Brita Believer, got me to wear my seatbelt at all times, became a little bit healthier of an eater, invited me to sign up for my first (and definitely not last) 5K, caused me to love something -- her -- more than anyone should possibly be able to love, etc.) Okay, back to the mailbox. Last two items? The iconic blue Tiffany & Co. April catalog and my tickets to a concert coming up I bought a few weeks ago that I was hoping I could take her to. First off, not that I had (yet) bought anything from Tiffany's for her, but c'mon, what am I supposed to think of? And second, the concert is of two of her favorite artists, so when I go (if I do go), what am I supposed to think of during it? I'll be the guy in the crying in the corner of the Palladium...look for me on "TMZ" or "America's Funniest Videos of Single Men".

*A member at the club whom I haven't seen in almost two months comes up to me and gives me a big hug. She asks how I'm doing and how the ex is doing. (Of course, she has to refer to her as "your beautiful girlfriend"* which felt like a dagger into my right atrium.) Never been one to lie (yet never been one to be totally forthcoming and reveal exactly how I'm feeling), I sheeplishly say "Oh, I'm okay. She's doing really well. Unfortunately we're not together any more." (Dagger twisting...)

*Sidenote: When one of my department heads asked why I was walking around work like a strung-out zombie last week and I told him the bad news, it really didn't help when he tells the next co-worker who walks by all about why I've been so moody at work and goes on to describe the ex as "Oh my God, she was gorgeous. Looked just like Cameron Diaz. And so smart...she was in medical school, right?" Jeez la weez, felt like I had a winning lottery ticket but Deebo rolled up on his bike and snatched it right out of my hand.

*From my office I hear on ESPN Tom Izzo, head coach of the Michigan State men's basketball team, getting interviewed. Relevance, you ask? Oh yeah, her folks are from Michigan. Her dad is probably all excited about the Green and White being in the Final Four. And he's a sports junkie. Woulda loved to have watched a game or two with the guy...

*I make lunch from the kitchen and grab an apple. Just a plain ol' red apple. Pretty sure I've looked at an apple or two in the last two weeks but never thought about anything else until now. What vision runs through my demented mind? Her perfume. Sigh...

*During a trip to the bank, a song comes on that makes me think of her...My sister calls to ask how I'm doing and we talk it out...my wine hook-up at work drops in and asks "Why do you and your lady want to drink next?"...I'm sure a few more things happened that caused me to think about her, but it's been an awful day and I just don't have the fortitude to think back all that hard.

All I want to know is "Does it get easier?"


Excerpt from "Abstinence to Zoloft" (chapter "Seven Years in Tibet")

Happy Friday, y'all! Here's another short little excerpt from my book-in-progress, "Abstinence to Zoloft". The following is from the chapter called "Seven Years in Tibet," which is about my dating life (or lack thereof) from 2001 to 2008. It's also a period in my life that I like to call "the lean years". From that tidbit to the title of the book, I think you can see where I'm going with this.

Anyway, enjoy the excerpt and please, please leave feedback, positive or negative. Post in the comment section, text me, email me, Facebook me, anything. I love hearing what everyone thinks and I take all suggestions seriously! Without further ado...

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It's 12:20 AM, spring of 2002 and I'm sitting on an uncomfortable futon in a second-story duplex behind the In-N-Out in Costa Mesa, California. Yes, the Costa Mesa. Home of the South Coast Plaza shopping mall, prodigal son Mike Ness of "Social Distortion", and numerous surfers and surfboard shapers, some more evil than others*. If you've never been to Costa Mesa, swing by sometime. Check out the Orange County Performing Art Center. Have a drink at the Detroit Bar. Say hi to Timo, the bartender.

Then I suggest that you go back to where you came from.

It's now 12:22 AM and I'm counting the seconds on the faded blue IKEA futon. Jenni's faded blue IKEA futon. In her living room.

Date #2 is exceeding expectations.

You're going to screw this up. This played in my head like a skipping record. I drummed my fingers on my knees. Screw it up big time.

Jenni walked out of her kitchen holding two Heinikens.

She's completely naked.

It had been over a year since I had seen a naked woman in person. It had been so long that the concept had become quite foreign to me. I could have turned on C-SPAN and watched British Parliament for an hour and been more knowledgeable on the subject.
I watch her walk over to me. I, being part-gentleman and part-dork, am making complete and total eye contact with her, almost ashamed to take in her nakedness. No, definitely not almost ashamed. I was completely and utterly ashamed.

She hands me the cold green bottle. She sits next to me. (Did I forget to mention she's naked?) She sips her beer. I take down half the bottle in a swallow.

Now is clearly the time to do something stupid, Joe.

"Do you think I'm sexy?" she asks, almost playfully.

At this point, I wish I could have froze time like Zack Morris and broken down the fourth wall and addressed the studio audience. It would have gone something like this:

"Time out! So forty-five minutes ago, I was sharing a pizza with this girl when she tells me her best friend thinks we should get sex "done and over with" since we both liked each other. Ten minutes ago we were fooling around on this very futon. Trying to hide my erection was like trying to tippy-toe around an antique shop while holding a garden rake out. At some point during Date #1, I had -- much to my surprise -- unfastened her jeans, only to hear her whisper "Soon." What was I to do? Time in!"

"Well? Do you think I'm sexy?"

Five seconds pass. During any instant other than this particular one, I would have come up with twenty responses that would have been worthy of her re-telling her gal pals and having them instantly fall in love with me. Her question was simple, yet treacherous...like 60% of all questions asked by women and 100% of those who are naked. I've now been silent for a lethal ten seconds. I'm desperately searching for a cinematic replay.

What next escaped from my mouth is very telling of who I am and who I am not.

"I don't have a condom."

This response was completely ridiculous for four reasons:
1. To this point of my life, I'd inhabited this planet for 23 years and I had slept with a grand total of two women.
2. I never thought to carry condoms as I've never been the one to anticipate sex on the fly.
3. I decided between Date #1 and Date #2 that I wouldn't have sex with Jenni. Ever. Not that I thought I could. Nor did I think I would. But should the planets align and allow the scenario to take place, I wasn't going to do it anyway. Her ex-boyfriend was a body-builder who was some kind of steroid-raging lunatic who somehow found out about me and told Jenni he'd rip me in half. This caused me to drive to Costa Mesa that evening with a golf club in my front seat**.
4. To top it all off, Jenni had lots of tattoos. Hearts, roses, stars and a few punk rock verses. She had the tattoos that simply must belong to a woman who would toss you unmercifully on her mattress and nearly kill you...and that's just foreplay. I don't have anything against tattooed women per say, and yeah, it's not like she had a Harley-riding flaming demon on her back, but when I imagine the mother of my children at a PTA meeting, inked-up Jenni wasn't the one.
"It's okay," Jenni purred, reaching through my shirt buttons and grabbing my chest hair. She gives me a long kiss. "I'm not ready either. You'll know when I'm ready. One night at dinner, I'll say 'dessert's on me.' That'll be our little signal."

After some making out, she walks me to the door...still completely naked. As I leave, she stands in the doorway, waves and in baby talk says "Bwhy bwhy, Joey. Wemember the signal."

I never did have dessert with Jenni and that was the last time I enjoyed Costa Mesa.

*A certain Costa Mesa surfboard shaper plays a large role down the road in my life. But we'll get to that later.
**Unfortunately, I had only brought with me my nine-iron. From the sound of things, I would have needed at least a driver to be able to defend myself against Tony Atlas.

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