Justice or Revenge?

Justice that love gives is a surrender, justice that law gives is a punishment- Mahatma Gandhi

In Marie Claire’s July issue was an article titled, “My Ex Sued Me-and Won.” The author, Kim Gamble, was in relationship for a few months when she and her boyfriend went on a trip to India. The trip didn’t go so well. After it ended the relationship did too. Her boyfriend ended up suing her for his half of the trip. It was for $900 and he won.

In France, a woman sued her husband for $14,000 for withholding sex. The women filed for divorce citing, “lack of sex in the bedroom.” According to Time, the ex-husband refused his wife relations over the 21 years they were married. He blamed it on health issues and exhaustion. The judge ruled in favor of the woman saying that sharing a life together implies having sex with each other.

In New York, a man is in a pending lawsuit against his ex-girlfriend for taking his dog, a Puggle named Knuckles, to California. He claimed the dog was kidnapped. Thus far, he has spent his life savings, $60,000, trying to get him back. The ex-girlfriend said they both paid for Knuckles and split the vet bills down the middle.

Are these cases created out of justice or revenge? If it is revenge, it makes you wonder how far people will go. In the article, “My Ex Sued Me-and Won,” Gamble mentions her ex, “didn’t want my money; he wanted to punish me.” She was sure this was an act of control, to make her come to court to see him one last time, to hear him out and give him the last say. She decided writing the check to avoid the court appearance was the best way to write him off for good.

The guy who spent $60,000 to get his dog back, well, the reason it’s all over the news is because, it’s a little crazy. It was his life’s savings. The ex-girlfriend claims he wants revenge for the relationship ending and her moving on. If he doesn’t win, I think he’s going to be really, really mad. I keep picturing him as the guy on the street corner with a beard and a harmonica with his dog sitting next to him. But, at least he’ll be able to sleep knowing  he won-even if it is in a cardboard box.

In the case of the woman in France, she was married to her husband for 21 years when she decided to divorce him. It wasn’t enough to divorce him and walk away, she needed to come back two years later and sue him. Perhaps, he had moved on or maybe, she just needed the time to muster up the confidence. Either way, the man’s ex-wife publicly humiliated his “sex-life” (or lack there of), and he had to pay her $14,000. I wonder how she came up with the evidence, or the amount in damages.

I put this article on our fridge so Mike could see it with a note that said, “Put out or get out, it’s legal now!” This made him very confused. He brought up a trip, decades ago, when apparantly I wasn’t feeling “up to it”…I don’t even know what he’s talking about. Lies!

 

I love you, you’re perfect, now change.

Albert Einstein once said, ” Women marry men hoping they will change. Men marry women hoping they will not. So each is inevitably disappointed.”

I grew up in a conservative Catholic home. For the better part of my life, I based my values and beliefs accordingly.  I remember once when I was about twelve years old, I was riding with my mom in the car. I saw a group of kids standing in the alley. One of them stood out to me, he had a purple mohawk, was dressed in all-black and was smoking. I said to my mom,” If I ever date someone like that, I know I could help him be a better person.”  Taking this opportunity to teach her child a very important life lesson, my mom turned to me and said, “Kari, don’t ever be with a man you think you can change.”

She said this with such simple conviction, I knew it was not only true, but spoken from experience. Time and time again I see couples struggling because one wants the other to be something he or she isn’t.

In an article from Psychology Todaytitled, “Can your Partner Change, Believe it Even if You Don’t See It,” says that if we believe our partners can change, even if we don’t see it right away, they have a better chance at being able to. It is important that both partners be open to change and when a request is made, the one who is making it needs to be patient and appreciate even the small steps that are taken.

I think the key to success here is to pick your battles. The article says couples often get so caught up in the negative perception of each other, they don’t see the small gestures that it often takes to change. It doesn’t happen overnight.

When Mike and I first moved in together, he always left the toilet seat up. This would drive me crazy. As much as I would remind him, he would remind me that it’s a habit and he can’t break it over night.

I tried leaving sticky notes: Morning, please put the GODDAMN SEAT DOWN! I wrote poems: Help me avoid the porcelain splash, on my ass. Apparently, not as impressive as I thought. I decided to have faith in the fact that he was acknowledging my frustration. It took some time, but eventually, he changed his habit from leaving it up, to putting it down.

When I do things that drive Mike crazy: leave dishes out, forget to eat the doggy-bag leftovers, don’t screw the cap on all the way, don’t give enough blow jobs, he seems to get just as frustrated. I too, remind him how hard it is to change a habit. After time, I now either eat my leftovers right away or throw them out and I’ve become a cleaner person, oh, and I’m even better at screwing; the cap on! (still gotta to work on those bjs.)

All I’m saying is for someone to be able to change, they have to have the will to do so. And, if you want to be in a happy relationship, you kind of have to have that will.

As far as the kid with the mohawk, he was probably happy being who he was and most likely wasn’t looking to be rescued. My freckled faced, pig-tailed, ribbon wearing self would have been his worst nightmare.

Is he your daddy?

In medicalnewstoday.com, psychologist Dr Lynda Boothroyd of Durham University, says the quality of the relationship between a woman and her father has an impact on whom she finds attractive.

In an article titled “Are You Dating Your Father?” from Life Script, women who don’t have a healthy relationship with their dads either do one of two things:

a) They choose a man similar to him in order to have a chance to fix the problems they have with their dads in the relationship with man they are dating.

b) They choose someone with completely opposite traits.

While I love my dad very much, there is only room for one of him in this world, let alone in my family. Whenever I was dating somebody and they had a mannerism similar to my dad, it wasn’t as much a red flag that slowly waived from a distance, but more a demolition wrecking ball that would come charging through wherever we happen to be: a bar, museum, doing charity, training for a marathon, helping at the soup kitchen, volunteering to clean up the city (okay, I really meant when we’re at the bar.)

As soon as I’d meet someone who seemed like I could really like him, he’d have me pull his finger or tell a corny joke. My dad loves telling corny jokes, mostly about his wallet being empty. (Probably, because he’s always helping out one of his four children in some way.)

Now, it’s not the schmaltzy joke that would get me, it’s the telling it and laughing at it the hardest and the re-telling it for the rest of my life.  There’s only room in my heart for such antics to come from one man.

I’m not saying I’m above fart jokes either, but my boyfriend does not have me pull his finger every time. He throws in a few new ones, keeps it fresh (not the gas, just the jokes.)

So, there we were having what I thought was a good conversation up until that point and then out it would come, the demolition wrecking ball. It would come right on through as if it were already drawn back, waiting to be let loose. There was no way to stop it.

Demolition wrecking ball aka “red flag”.

This happened time and time again. Sometimes we’d be dating for months, having a typical “couples debate”and then something would come out of their mouths as though it had come straight from my dad, “Kari, what you don’t understand is….” and I wouldn’t even be able to hear what they were saying next. It was just a loud noise of nothing. I’d see their lips moving but I knew it was coming. The unlucky guy at the time, would just look at me and wait for me to respond to whatever he just said. I would just stare. First, with a look of fear and then sympathy because I knew he was about to be pummeled.

After the wreck, I would just walk away. There’s no explanation to save the situation.

Now, here’s the catch…

My boyfriend, Mike, and my dad do share similar features; blue eyes and curly blond hair. I wasn’t even the first to notice it. I mean, I knew that Mike had these traits but, I didn’t realize they were so similar to my dads. It was my oldest sister, Val, who pointed it out and when she did, I just about spit out my beer. I thought, “No way! That’s just crazy talk!” I was sure she could see how cute Mike was and needed to make up excuses so she wasn’t smitten to her little sister’s boyfriend.

Then, I saw it… there they were, standing together with their almost transparent eyes and light, ringlety hair. My dad happens to have a few grays but nonetheless!

After following Mike around for several days, I realized he was going to be okay.  No demolition wrecking ball had come. And if he happen to share a few similar traits with my dad, I knew he wouldn’t be stealing any of his jokes.

and this is my dad, Clark Griswold.

Ever since I was a kid, I could never quite explain my dad to people. Then, one day I saw a movie and it changed the rest of my life. I saw Clark Griswold in the movie Vacation. It was not only the first time I was actually able to show others a small glimpse of who my dad is but also, the first time I was able to appreciate his sense of humor without being directly affected by it.

I am the youngest of four kids. Every year my family would pile into a van and road trip to somewhere across the U.S. One time, we drove 30 hrs to Washington D.C. If we would stop to sleep, it was normally in a motel-one room with two beds. The only requirement was, wherever we slept had to have a pool-even if the pool was dirty, covered in leaves or not filled up all the way.

Clark: Why aren’t we flying? Because getting there is half the fun. You know that.

Our most recent family vacation was a month ago. With my sisters, brothers-in-law, brother, nieces, nephew and parents, thirteen of us set out in a caravan to St. Louis, Nashville and Memphis. My dad does most of the planning on these trips and when things don’t go down as planned, well it gets a little intense.

Clark on vacation with his family.

 
 Ellen: You set standards that no family activity can live up to.
 Clark: When have I ever done that?
 Ellen: Parties, weddings, anniversaries, funerals, holidays…
 Clark: Goodnight Ellen
 Ellen: Vacations, graduations…

 

We were in Nashville during the Country Music Awards. No, we did not plan it on purpose. Which means there were a ton more people than normal and my dad was not about to miss out on any of the fun. We spent most of our time on Broadway Street (which is a cleaner version of Bourbon Street in New Orleans.)

With all the excitement, my dad decided to book an extra night. We thought this was a good idea at first, but spending three nights on Broadway Street with my sisters who couldn’t drink, and four kids, two nights ended up being more than enough. My siblings nominated me to share the news with my dad; that we think we should head to Memphis in the morning instead of staying the extra night.

My Dad on vacation with his family.

The situation was similar to when the Clark’s family decided they didn’t want to go to Wally World anymore. I put in ( )s around what my dad added to it…

Clark (aka my dad): I think you’re all f—-d in the head. We’re (at) the f—–g fun park [Nashville] and you want to bail out. Well I’ll tell you something. This is no longer a vacation. It’s a quest. It’s a quest for fun. I’m gonna have fun and you’re gonna have fun. We’re all gonna have so much f—–g fun we’ll need plastic surgery to remove our goddamn smiles. You’ll be whistling ‘Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah’ out of you’re assholes!

Yep, it went something like that. Nonetheless, we headed to Memphis in the morning and spent the rest of the trip on Beale Street (which is a cross between Bourbon Street and Broadway Street.) The kids loved it. Until they didn’t love it anymore. Luckily, they couldn’t tell the difference between the drunk people and the crack addicts. Eventually, we had to divert from Beale Street so the kids could have a little quieter place to eat. We settled on a restaurant a block off of Beale St. It had a few less people but the waitresses’ all wore tiny crop tops and mini kilts. Everyone was happy.

(I have a point I promise.) To be continued…

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