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    My then-husband and I were not on great terms, so talking to him about other problems was uncomfortable.  I really couldn't trust him in ways.  I didn't feel him as a friend.  If he'd been a real friend, well everything would have been different.

    Not happy with myself for screaming instead of speaking, I sent the comedy guy an email apologizing for screaming.  I clearly expressed that I was not sorry for what I said, but that I would have preferred speaking in a way that it could be better heard.  I had a strong feeling that he preferred a fighting relationship since he needed a target for his shit, but I sure wasn't looking for that.  He was separated while I wasn't yet separated, so if fighting were what I wanted, I could've spent the day with my then-husband. 

    Disappointed but not at all surprised, comedy guy did not acknowledge my email.  He wanted a fight.  I was still lost as to what the fight was about.  The drama was within him and not really between us.  All I could do now was cut my losses and keep my distance.  To me (given I was born into loss), these things are always sad.  Another broken connection in the web of humanity.  I knew I hadn't done anything to this man other than extend friendship.  If that was my biggest error with him, my conscience was clear.  I was accepting that this was how it was for whatever reasons.  Sometimes the why is apparent in later years.

    In the days following, the young woman who participated in the website we were all still connected through had a bad day and asked for hugs.  I watched as all comedy guy's "buddies" lined up their comments of support and affection under her post.  Comedy guy didn't.  I didn't.  I wanted to see what would happen.  To my knowledge, nothing did.  I do not believe any of those guys were suddenly mistreated or dumped as friends by comedy guy for "supporting Annie."  I do not believe they were given the impression they needed comedy guy's approval to show support to whoever they chose to support.  My best fantasy at that point would have been comedy guy seeing what was happening, what he was doing, and telling me how wrong and unfair he had been to me and apologizing from his heart because he was truly regretful and it showing in his actions.  Well folks, that's why it's called a fantasy.

    There were hostilities expressed indirectly on the website.  Usually he'd be in conversation with his boys and make references that were at me.  Most of the time I ignored it.  Several of the comics were running open mic's.  I always had a limited schedule (due to motherhood and jobs) so I treasured my little bit of free time.  I steered clear of any open mic's where I thought he attended.  But he managed to rally his boys against me on line at that website in ways.  Being older than they and not in that lifestyle of picking on people, I typically ignored them.  Every so often, I'd say something.  It rarely came to any good.  Many of them were pre-set in their head to attack.  It got so insane that I was once verbally pounced on for not thinking someone's childhood photo was ugly by the very guy whose photo it was.  Given how I feel inside on most days, it was shocking to me that any adult would feel so threatened by my lack of an insult that he'd have to tell me the "whole comedy community" agrees with him.  I'm a mother.  What kind of mother would sit and laugh at and mock how a boy looked in his adolescence?  Not this one.  To them, it was in the context of humor, and if it was okay with them, fine.  I didn't criticize that they were mocking the photo.  I just offered a different view of the photo.  That has always been my crime and my gift -- a different view.

    I often wonder if Americans really want freedom.  So many get so angry at anything different, whether it be those who are differently abled, another race, way of dressing, religion, sexuality, gender, or way of thinking.  So much goes against the struggle to just be who one is.  If people let each other be, life would still be full of challenges -- hurricanes, disease, hunger, deaths of loved ones, etc.  We have the choice to not make it harder.

    To add to the circus, a problematic person, who I'll call Joan, joined the website and seemed to thrive on the conflict and connect with the negativity quite a bit.  She often added fuel to the fire.  I only interacted with her in positive ways.  She (and many of the others) interpreted that as friendship, but I wouldn't go that far.  Just because I'm not in enemy-ship with someone, doesn't mean we are friends.  There's a whole lot of space in-between called sharing a world.  I am not friends or enemies with any of the people who live in my building.  No one has my phone number, we don't all speak English, yet we hold the door for one another, and when we had a fire in the building and I didn't have my cell phone, a neighbor handed me his to make a call.  Joan stood out because she was female and older than any of us, but her behavior wasn't better or worse than many of the people there.  It was simply less accepted.  However, Joan was very bright and interesting, and she had something to offer.  I would respond to her when it was something positive that I could hook into.  Others got angry and told me I was "encouraging" her.  We probably weren't even using the language the same.  I wasn't encouraging her to act like an unruly boy.  I am an encouraging person when I see something that deserves a pat on the back.  She once shared a list of famous people who struggled with emotional disturbance and/or some form of mental illness.  Abraham Lincoln, Patty Duke, and many, many others were among them.  I appreciated that list so much.  For so long if someone appeared to have a mental illness, that was all they were seen as -- their illness.  Yet someone could be diabetic and not be described as a diabetic as if that was all they were.  It is so long overdue to see whole people with all their struggles and strengths and strength to function with their struggles.

    At some point, I wrote the comedy guy (I might have the chronology confused and it might have been in the same email that I apologized for screaming -- not sure) and asked for him to agree to not be friends without being enemies.  Again, I was expecting adult behavior and still didn't fully digest that he was not capable of that at that time.  I offered that both our lives were hard enough without us going out of our way to make it harder.  I told him we are in some of the same circles since we live in the same borough and are aspiring comics, so we will most likely run into each other from time to time and I'd like for us to not make things worse. 

    I wasn't holding my breath, but I did want to give peace a shot.  I had to know I did what I could to bring this to a better place, at least not to a worse place.  As you intelligent readers might have guessed, he did not grab onto a chance for peace.

    What he actually did do was something I would never have predicted.  I was blind to the depths of his problems.  Maybe I was projecting, but I thought there was some decency in him. 

    I went on the website (that was another tie that I needed to break from and eventually did but not at this point in the story).  There on my blog space was a post from comedy guy telling me that I can sleep with Joan if I want.  This made what my then-husband said come back to me.  Why was comedy guy having another sexual issue with me?  First it was a problem that I talked about oral sex in my act, and then he says I can sleep with Joan?  I started seeing that my then-husband was right.  Friends don't toss me in bed with people just because I treat them like they are human.  If I were to be romantically involved with a woman, it wouldn't be her.  My friends would know that.  My friends also knew me enough to know that if I were to get romantically involved with a man, it wouldn't be with him.  Anyway, the post got worse and was like time travel to the cruelty of junior high school.  Without quoting his 12-year-old language, I'll just say he spoke on my hygiene.  My jaw dropped that this was where he was at -- like "eeewwww, girls." 

    I predicted this time that he might have deleted this hideous comment after writing it (he needs a diary with a lock and key for his self-explorations), so before clicking anything, I copied and pasted it.  I had a feeling I might need it for a small claims court case if this didn't stop.  Employers Google job applicants.  He had a child.  I had a child.  He really wasn't thinking.  Well not like an adult anyway.  The stuff he said reveals more about him than about me, but a 12-year-old doesn't know that. 

    It turned out he did delete it after posting it, but for whatever technological reason, I was always able to see the posted comment once before it showed itself as deleted.  It even now happens with Facebook.  I see the comment in the email notification even if when I go to the site, it has been deleted by the writer.  Since he was way more computer savvy than I, I assumed he knew I could see it and wanted me to see it.  I could be mistaken about that part, but still, just to know what he wanted to say, what he thought, ugh. 

    My then-husband was home when I read it, and he saw my jaw drop.  I shared what the comedy guy wrote.  My then-husband was fuming.  To him, it was all very apparent.  Comedy guy was angry because I didn't fuck him.  My head was spinning. 

    "What? We don't have that kind of relationship.  Plus he knows you and I are still in the apartment together, and I'm not looking for yet another romantic relationship.  And I don't fuck my friends.  He and I went to comedy open mic's together.  That was it.  Oh, he once paid for my slice of pizza.  What did I miss?  We don't kiss each other hello or anything like that.  I'm not interested in him that way.  Why would I fuck him?"

    "I know.  I know you're not interested."  He fumed some more and then said he was going to kick his ass.

    I can't say it didn't feel good that he'd want to on my behalf, but I didn't want that result.  Well most of the time, I didn't.  I told him I didn't want that.  I told him this whole thing was crazy.  He insisted.  It looked to me, as the conversation continued, that this wasn't really on my behalf.  What I wanted was barely being heard.  I began to feel more and more this was a man-to-man thing and I was the object.  It felt bad. 

    I knew comedy guy was creating a situation that could easily end up in violence.  I was confused why he'd do that.  Then again, much of his material was about getting himself hurt one way or another.  I even wondered if he thought this would make good comedy material.  I felt used like an object for material.  That felt bad.

    I showed the comment to a few people.  One man showed his ugliness under the guise of caring about me.  He said that comedy guy wasn't a man and should be passed around in a jail cell for cigarettes.  I was horrified.  That acquaintanceship didn't last long, thank goodness.

    All along I felt that comedy guy was more of an enemy to himself than anyone.  No, I had and have no wish for such an idiot to be repeatedly raped.  That is not a cure for anything. 

    My best friend is a human being.  He's also a male.  We talked at length about this whole thing.  He knew I wanted a peaceful ending if possible.  He was astonished at what comedy guy wrote to me.  He said he'd never write that to anyone even if it were true (and he knew the hygiene stuff had no basis in my case).  I was full of questions.  He really tried to help me understand.  He explained that no matter how accomplished or intelligent many men may be, when it comes to male/female stuff, many men never made it past junior high school emotionally.  They are stupid boys who want the girls but fear the girls and can't admit it and push the girls away and then are angry that the girls don't want them and are just crazy.  Then the scowling would make sense if he thought my looking nice was an attack on him in some way.  Memories of junior high school were horrible.  Staying on track though, I was trying to get in the head of someone behaving like he did.  (Training in acting also helped because you have to analyze why a character would say what they say and do what they do, so you can convincingly portray that character.)  So I had him at about 12 years old in 7th grade.  Then I wondered who was I in his head (besides one of the trillions of females on Earth that he didn't get to fuck).  I didn't care to be 12 again.  Hurt too much.  I figured he must see me more as older and "classy" since I wasn't amused at his belching in a man's face.  Maybe even an authority figure (not that I wanted to be for anyone other than myself and my son).  So I thought if I were a JHS principal and this boy showed the problems he shows, how would I view it?  How would I be able to help turn the tide here without making things worse?
 be continued...

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