Platitudes for a New Millenium

February 23, 2010

Nothing says "mysterious garage fire" like watching this smug bastard pose with your ex-wife.

As you make your way through the various potholes and “Bridge Out” warnings on this road we call “life,” you will often find yourself on the receiving end of unsolicited advice.

Unfortunately, most self-appointed advisors (including us) tend to use shopworn clichés (like “shopworn cliché”) and meaningless catchphrases instead of delivering actual advice (especially us).

Today we take aim at an old favorite: “Living well is the best revenge.”

Is it? Let’s take a closer look.

Say you’ve just wrapped up another Nip/Tuck marathon when your wife says something like, “Speaking of which, I’m leaving your for that plastic surgeon I met at the gym.” And away she heads to a new life full of late-model sports cars and free collagen injections.

And what do you have? Ten years of bills, 20 more years on the mortgage and two sons, one of whom is looking to join the “Orange” team down at the local correctional facility and one of whom is looking to join the Audubon Society.

Unfortunately, the child with whom you actually feel a connection has just sold your laptop for drug money and the other will be sticking you with several hundred thousand dollars in unpaid student loans as he pursues a go-nowhere career in ornithology.

At this point, someone will pipe up with, “Living well is the best revenge,” if only because it’s easier to say than, “There’s no way you’re competing with that.”

But is “living well” really the best revenge? Is it even revenge?

In a word, “Ah, hell nah!” Revenge is still the best revenge. Sugar in the gas tank. Tuna cans in the air vents. The mysterious fire in the garage. That’s revenge. The problem is: you’ll be the prime suspect.

Try this instead.

Get ahold of the good doctor’s name, address, phone and email address. Most of this should be easy to obtain, especially if divorce proceedings are underway.

As for that email address? A week or so of late night drunken calls to his house should get you a sternly-worded email reminding you that your estranged wife has no interest in “servicing” you no matter how “horny” or “depressed” you feel.

Now take that email address and sign him up for every deviant porn site you can find. Sign him up for every shady personal ad site. Every online petition. Every “Work at Home!” scam. Anything that clogs an inbox and takes an act of God to get rid of.

Mark every questionnaire you come across with “Yes! You can contact me at home/work!” Try to make sure that the “Best Time to Call” manages to cover most of a 24-hour period. Add him to any and every mailing list you can find, especially those of the erectile-dysfunction/out-there porn variety.

Unfortunately you won’t be able to witness the ensuing debacle firsthand, but you can let your imagination run wild. He’ll be dealing with a clogged inbox, various strains of malware and popups and nonstop calls from solicitors. He’ll be busy trying to explain away such periodicals as Men Who Love Men Who Love Horses and NAMBLA’s Amateur Boy Scouting Manual.

For more fun, do the same for your soon-to-be ex-wife. It should take their sex life to the next level as they scramble to entertain each other’s perceived fetishes, turning their bedroom into something halfway between a bondage club and a petting zoo.

And then, just as the lube is applied and the animals given a “safety word,” the phone will ring, bringing with it such questions as:

  • Are you available to host the third leg of a charity marathon? You’ll need to supply Gatorade and lined bags for exhaustion vomit.
  • Can you please to wire money to sick relative in Eastern Bloc?
  • Is this the GM who was listed as “submissive” and into “watersports?”
  • Would you take $5000 for the fire-damaged Maserati?
  • You, asking if your wife is available to “service” you.

“Living well” is the old way. The new millenium demands a change. Say it together now:

Living vindictively is the best revenge.”



  1. Those go-nowhere ornithologists really piss me off. Always hanging out down at the edge of the town cracking wise about the Violet Shag and Yellow-crowned Night Heron. I don’t trust them.

    I’m all about being vindictive. Taking the damned highroad gets you nothing but a nosebleed and a late arrival in Scotland. (That’s one of those meaningless catchphrases that never quite caught on but hopefully you get my gist).

    Excellent post, CLT. I’m hoping that there will be more updated platitudes, clichés and general hogwash in future.

    • I’m very suspicious of anyone who believes “birdwatching” is a perfectly suitable career. If that’s acceptable, then why not “horseshoe thrower” or “trainspotter”?

      I like that catchphrase, though, Don. I’ll see if I can’t help out on expanding its usage. I have every intention of running it into the ground during the next six weeks. By the time everyone realizes they’re sick of hearing, they’ll all be saying it.

      Count on more cliche-bursting and hogwashing in the future, Don. Thanks for the visit.

  2. This is brilliant…genius CLT, a great idea for sure!

    I’ve always found that dating a higher rung stripper works quite effectively too. Then you could get 2 or 3 of the strippers ….uh co-strippers(?) to go see the wife’s new beau about a boob job, probably a 34C to a 44D enhancement. A few false sexual harassment claims, and maybe an odd rape later…you’ve fucked up both of their lives. In a year he’ll be repairing cleft palates in India.

    • Thanks, Scott. Great idea for the revenge “in-box.” If it involves strippers, it will most likely be a.) fun and b.) illegal. But that’s why the world needs strippers.

      Great to see you again, Scott.

  3. When I read “mysterious garage fire” my mind instantly flashed to 1981. I was napping one afternoon when I heard pounding on my door and muffled sounds of “your GARAGE is on FIRE!!!” Arson investigators quizzed both my husband and I, asking if we had any enemies (no, but I was having an affair with my plastic surgeon who was also married [which I could not admit to]). The case was never solved. Then there was the time I drove from Sarasota en route to my husbands home (we were by now separated) where I planned to plow my car through his front door. Fortunately, it was a 45″ drive from Sarasota to Bradenton and I had plenty of time to cool off. Things would have been so much simpler (and safer) had I been born a few decades later and could have exacted cyber revenge. Ah, misspent youth.

    P.S. After reading this, I am so glad to have been relationship free for eons. No dude could ever get me that riled up again. An ornithologist sounds downright dreamy.

    • Good lord, woman! When do you find time to sleep? Your life seems to be a mix of every mixedup partner road movie crossed with the most disturbing moments of “Entourage.”

      From now on, every piece I write will come with the following disclaimer:

      The following people, places and events are fictional. Any resemblance to Elizabeth Hersh’s life are coincidental, despite the egregious use of hyperbole, obscenities, graphic sexual/drug content and other such bullshit.

      The views of this author (especially as pertains to ornithologists) do not necessarily reflect those of the readers, or indeed, Elizabeth Hersh herself.


  4. As a biologist who spend several years ‘looking at birds,’ I would suggest you might change ornithology to graphic designer or something.

    Revenge is a cliché best served cold. Funny stuff CLT, really.

    • I have taken your suggestion, Frightening Clown and will change the offending job title to “Blogger.”

      Thanks for the compliments and visit, FJ.

  5. Ah, CLT. Yet another niche you’ve found and serviced, like the remorseful ex-wife who wants to “have her cake and alleviate the subjective burden of guilt too”.

    (Whatever that means.)

    I would love to elaborate on the periodicals (it’s sort of my niche, if you will), but unfortunately sproadic internet access prevents me from doing so.

    Hilarious stuff, CLT. Lined bags for exhaustion from laughing too hard vomit, even.

    (Whatever that means.)

    • I hear you loud and clear, bschooled, mainly by “reading between the lines.”

      However, I fear for your safety and mental wellbeing, what with your limited internet access. Please accept these lined “withdrawal” bags, each marked with the mysterious tagline: “Sponsoro de Gatorade.”

      Thanks for the long-distance (well, longer than usual) visit, bschooled.

  6. Now if you can only find a way to flip birdboy the proverbial bird, and convince number 6572338 son that a laptop in the hand is worth more than a crack pipe up the wazoo (Damn, what a great word, huh?), life might just be worth living again 🙂

    • Judging from the sordid tale above, I’m afraid it may take more than that to make life worth living again. Perhaps a “mysterious garage fire” and something crammed into the offending partner’s wazoo. (It is a great word.)

      Great to see you, j5. Thanks for stopping in.

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  8. I’ve always heard “revenge is a dish best served cold”; what’s the temperature of “Living vindictively” ?

    • Room temperature, more or less when harmful bacteria begin forming. Revenge is best kept between 0-25 degrees Fareheit.

      You’ll find your comment eerily prescient at some point in the next week or two. Just wait for it.

  9. Are you threatening me?

  10. […] then, enjoy Vol. 3 of Platitudes for a New Millenium, which coincidentally enough was proceeded by Vol. 1 and Vol. 2.] Not only is it green as all hell, but look at the size of that […]

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