carry on, my wayward son

My daughter spent Father’s Day weekend with her dad.

This visit almost didn’t happened because my ex-husband fell into some bad habits.

More accurately, he had some bad habits which he wouldn’t abandon, no matter how tearfully I pled with him, and so I had to divorce him. Afterwards, he didn’t change his trajectory, but instead added velocity to his vices. And then he was furloughed at work and so it was full speed ahead to drunken destruction.

bad car crash

And, yes, the automobile metaphor is apt, because just after he got divorced from his first wife, he was cited for a couple DUIs, one serious enough to warrant jailtime.

I was brought into the picture back then because, comparatively, I had my life together.

(Which is laughable since I was taking illegal drugs at the time, and obsessed with harrassing a guy who had hurt me. But—praise be—at least I wasn’t driving drunk.)

Jumping back to the present, my ex-husband got furloughed in late May but recently was rehired by his former employer in a company town. And so not only does he not have to move out of the company house we used to share, but he is now  A) working with people he likes better, B) doing a job he thinks he will enjoy more, and C) earning more money.  So it turns out there is a silver lining to the last two months.

But it was bad enough for an intervention before it got better.


I know that the concept of an intervention can be a trite trope taken too far.

For example, on How I Met Your Mother, the characters staged so many interventions that they made a banner to use whenever they had another intervention. They even, at one point, had an intervention intervention.

HIMYM Intervention

I don’t know how I feel about this.  On one hand, it’s funny because how many interventions do any of us have in our lives? On the other hand, it is insulting to the real impulse to talk turkey to someone who is fucking up their life, regardless of their mood.

In this, I think a kinder and more realistic portrayal of intervention is…

And it didn’t happen like it does on TV. Nothing ever does.

At first, there was a trend towards being drunk on family day trips. He would show up at our apartment and he was a little too easy to laugh, a little too tired to stand.

Still, at that point, I would be driving to and from the event (since my car is nicer), so I told myself that it was really his choice if he wanted to wander around all day in a haze.

Then one time, that’s all it takes, and the bad behavior was over the line.

He was late, and the excuses were old and thin.  We went to a local Walmart and I bought an air bed and a new pillow. I told him that these were his three options: he stays the night without a fuss, he stays the night with a fuss, he leaves without our daughter and a fuss (i.e. I call the cops and give them his name, description and license plate number).

Then I called my cousin who is married to his brother and the shit got real.

Before he passed out on the airbed, he actually told me “thank you.”

Around two o’clock in the morning, he woke me up.  My first thought was, “Oh hell no! I will not be a drunken booty call for a man who nearly destroyed my life.”

Turns out, he was sober and wanted to drive home before our daughter woke up because he was ashamed.

I sat up and said, “Shame is a powerful emotion, and should only be used at last resort.  But good. I’m glad. So go home, we’ll talk later. And carry on, my wayward son.”

That was a bit ago and why I haven’t posted is because I realized the next morning that there was a tiny bit of my heart, and cunt, that wanted to fuck him that night.

I don’t feel shame when I think of this, only sorrow.  It means there is still some love in my body for him, and this makes me furious. But it is better to acknowledge and manage a weakness, just like one with alcohol. Because one way or another, never drive drunk or heart-broken.  Keep that stuff at home and work it out without hurting others.

And that’s all I can say about what was apparently a successful intervention.

Which looks more like this.


Than it does this.

successful intervention

So, remember: do your best and carry on, my wayward ones.

For better spirits, let’s end with a new poem, shall we?


don’t run with
your past
it is too heavy
assess worth
from use
then exact levy

sharpen blades
and wits
to slice through pretense
clip hair short
and learn
how to play offense

be the man
he’s not
resting on laurels
nod your chin
to him
but avoid quarrels

don’t blanch at
his beard
you have the mettle
inside your
steel heart
your debts to settle

Hours I own all of these ideas, but none of these images.
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