Welcome to my writer’s war room. It’s ugly, vicious, unfinished and if you like things all perfect and symmetrical I suggest you take a tour of a fake-tit factory. Me, I like flaws. I consider perfection the enemy of interesting. Now, back to the shit tsunami that was my life the year after my first book, Bleachy-Haired Honky Bitch, came out and the film rights sold.
First, if you are a parent who is going through a divorce, you need to know this: Family court does not like flaws. Okay, let me revise that: Family court does not like the mother to have flaws. Ever, not anywhere in her life past or present, pre or post motherhood. If you’re a mother and you make your kid a pancake that isn’t perfectly round, family court will call the fucking SWAT team on you, I swear to God. The father, now, the father could get caught sucking a dozen bleedy dicks behind a dumpster and all the court will care about is, well, were the children nearby?
Don’t get me wrong, I am not taking sides here. I am just recounting my true, I-kid-you-not experience. I know this because after my crazy-ass experience in family court, my sister became a family law attorney and then ran her own nonprofit for ten years. Also, I happen to love fathers, because in the years to come after that crazy judgement and my ex turned into EX-ZILLA and did his best to (often successfully) fuck up my livelihood, it was other fathers who came through for me a lot, and defended me.
I remember a TV producer, I won’t say his name because he’s a Southern gentleman and eschews spectacle, a divorced father himself, who contacted me just days before a television special, in which I was to factor prominently, was to air. He’d received a bunch of disturbing emails both from both the Ex-Zilla and some other poor person the Ex-Zilla had enlisted in his harassment campaign.
I want to stop here an explain something: Stalkers are really good at enlisting a certain kind of people in their harassment campaigns; these people tend to be civil-type workers like policemen, zoning-code enforcers, DFACS workers, perhaps a school teacher, etc. It’s because these people are civil-minded, good people deep down. They spend their day making no difference, so when someone comes along asking for their help, say a big, sad 6’4” former professional linebacker everyone thinks is scary but is just misunderstood, they see this as a chance to make a difference for once. So the person the Ex-Zilla enlisted in this part of his harassment campaign? Who sent emails to the producer at ABC saying I prostituted my child? Who said I was found by a judge to be unfit to parent? This person was a college professor at UGA and had a wife and kids of his own. This poor dupe actually jeopardized his own family by allowing himself to be convinced by my ex to send libelous emails in an obvious attempt to interfere with my livelihood. (In case you’re curious, no, I didn’t sue the guy, I hate court, remember? I settled for a detailed letter of apology, which came in very handy to combat all the similar attempts to come.) Stalkers are good at what they do, people. They’ll pull you up on their crazy train to do their work for them, if they can get you to believe what you’re doing is right.
Anyway, remember what I said about the difference between social truth and actual truth? Here’s an example of social truth using a picture of an “alcoholic passed out with the kids nearby and a glass of wine next to him”:
Okay, so social proof establishes this picture as evidence one way, because the person presenting it has said so. But the actual truth could be something completely different. I’m using this as an example because that’s exactly one of the things the Ex-Zilla used to say about me to our girl’s teachers, to my employers, to my clients, to my readers, to my colleagues, to the other parents at her school, and to the court. He’d say, “I’d come home from work to find my alcoholic wife passed out with a glass of wine next to her and our baby nearby totally unattended.”
Now here’s the actual truth: My ex was a bartender. He got home from work at four o’clock in the fucking morning. I was asleep in bed, a full glass of wine on the nightstand with barely a sip missing, and our daughter tucked away safely in her own bed, sleeping soundly. And that glass of wine, by the way? Why the fuck is it not empty if his wife is such an alcoholic? Unfortunately, not many people wait for the actual truth to surface, and they just grab the social truth and run with it.
But there are a few people who are impervious to social truth and make up their own minds, and plenty of these people, in my case, were divorced fathers. Take this producer who alerted me to the Ex-Zilla’s onslaught of emails demanding the station tank my segment in their upcoming TV special. Most producers would have just cut the segment, because they’re busy and it’s easier to just remove the irritant than to examine whether the irritant has any right to be irritating. But this producer did not do that. He contacted me, forwarded me the emails, allowed me to provide tedious facts in the form of court documents and such in order to allay any worry that a single thing being said about me by these assholes was true. And on went the show. Why did this producer have my back when he hardly knew me? One of the reasons, he said, was because my Ex-Zilla reminded him of his Ex-Zilla. To this day, ten years later, I count this producer among my most treasured friends.
Believe me, I will get to the part about how my stalker pulled off getting awarded child support without, you know, the hassle of actually having full custody of our child, because it’s a fucking interesting story, and if there are any family-law drama junkies out there (as I am one, now), you’re gonna want to hear this, but for now I want to end this with a fond memory of Grant Henry (that’s right, I haven’t forgotten about you, motherfucker).
One day soon after the Ex-Zilla had pulled off the biggest family-law stunt in the history of every fucking life experience of every attorney with whom I’d talked about it with afterward, my friend Polly Biasucci sent me a screen capture of a Match.com profile. Yes, you guessed, Ex-Zilla was now on Match.com. His profile described him as a poor, sad single Dad, raising his adorable daughter all on his own, the mother was “no longer in the picture . . . blar blar sad puppy single tear whimper whimper choke die somebody stab me in the eye.” But what made this profile so special was the profile PICTURE, right? His profile picture was of himself and our daughter. Oh my GAWD!! Was this man really using our kid to troll for sex on the internet?
Well, if I were to be rational about it, which was pretty cocksucking hard to be right then, I’d have to concede it depended on his intensions. According to his profile, Ex-Zilla was looking for a long-term relationship, and oh, yeah, he didn’t like “fake tits.” (Just as a funny aside, back then Mach.com ran the text of the profile description flush right alongside the profile picture. Since the profile picture included my adorable 5-year-old daughter, the words “fake tits” appeared right next to her lovely little face.) So it was Grant’s idea to create a fake profile and respond to Ex-Zilla with the following (abridged) proposal:
“Hi, I think you’re super sexy, I’m a stripper and I remember you as a bartender at my favorite Buckhead bar — I know you’re looking for a long-term relationship, but I’m not looking for anything long-term, I just want to have lots of meaningless sex. Oh, and I have huge fake tits. Whaddaya say?”
Let me stop here to emphasize that Grant Henry did this. Today I have to remind myself sometimes he wasn’t always a complete shit. Or maybe he was and it was instances like this that just kept me from knowing it. Because this all was happening during the whirlwind of Bleachy-Haired Honky Bitch hitting the charts like a rocket, my appearance on the Tonight Show, and the negotiations for the film rights of the book. During this time, I was too terrified to do anything except love my kid and pay the ransom the Ex-Zilla demanded each month. I probably needed to get my head back in the game. So Grant, he did this, he catfished the Ex-Zilla by pretending to be a fuck-obsessed stripper with huge fake tits, and not only was this hysterical, not only did it cheer me up immensely, not only did it put a smile on my face when I thought I’d never find anything funny again, but it actually came in handy later when it was time to go back to court to correct this fucking mess. Because the Ex-Zilla’s response to Grant’s fake-titted stripper who just wanted nothing but a fuck buddy? I think you know how Ex-Zilla responded.
Stay tuned for the next episode. In the meantime, YES I AM GOING THERE, below is a button for you to tip me if you like what I’m doing. Because this book, The Rise and FAIL of Sister Louisa, I am not taking this book to a traditional publisher, who can then make my work available for the low, low price of nothing on Kindle, or allow used versions of my work to sell for one single cent on Amazon. I am publishing this fucking thing myself. And if you want to help me do it, mash the fucking button, please. Or don’t, do what you want. I promise I’m not keeping score. Maybe you think your money is better spent by throwing $9 at my old friend, now a filthy rich carnival barker, in exchange for a 25-cent Walmart ruler with the words “Fuck Fear” carved into the side. It’s totally your choice. Thank you! (Free Shipping!)