You've heard it a thousand times: Breaking up is hard to do. Nonsense. Breaking up is easy to do. It's finding the right place to do it that's hard. My high school sweetheart was the first to reach into my chest cavity and tear out my internal organs. We dated from the time I could drive until the time she could leave me. We broke up two times, both on her terms. The first time was at McDonalds. Four years together and she breaks up with me over a box of McNuggets. She was smart—the first rule of breaking up or killing a man is to do it in a public place. I did the only thing I could: beg her to take me back. She did, and finished us off in the cafeteria at Eastern Washington University, right before our Logic class. She stuck to the first rule of breaking up, and I received my first 0.4 grade in college. But I learned a valuable lesson and broke up with my rebound relationship in a Denny's two months later. I forgot to follow the second part of Rule Number One, however: Make sure there are actually people in the public place.
My next relationship ended about 14 different times. The first was when she got home from a Seattle Thunderbirds game only to falter under my questions about the game. All Thunderbirds games are on the radio. And no one "doesn't remember" who won the game, even a minor league hockey game. Rule Number Two: When you are cheating on your sports-loving boyfriend, choose an alibi other than a sporting event. The next time we broke up was during The Simpsons. This was the smoothest breakup yet. Rule Number Three must be to break up during America's greatest television show. Unfortunately, the postbreakup ruined it; she found out I was seeing someone else. I broke Rule Number Four: Wait a day or two to start hanging out with someone who's in the same crowd as your ex. This was a dark day. I couldn't keep track of any of the rules. I still can't.
There is music to describe the pain and disgust you feel during those terrible times in your life. And this is Rule Number Five: Find angry music after breaking up, immediately. A perfect band out of Scotland for this is Arab Strap; they make my relationships seem like a walk in the park. The Elephant Shoe (Jetset) is their latest, and it brings me back to a fast-food restaurant so many years ago and puts into words the sadness that filled my heart and the anger that fueled my fist as it crashed through the window of my car.
Listen to John thank god for his wife Monday through Friday from 6 to 10am on the Morning Show on 90.3 FM or on the Web at www.kcmu.org.