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    At the time, my then-husband and I had agreed to separate.  There were many challenges going on in my home that included our son (at least as a witness, and my then-husband was involving him instead of protecting him), so I was having in general a very hard time of things.  Between all that and this weird situation with comedy guy, there was no shortage of challenges coming my way.  One evening my best friend, who knew everything that was going on, said, "You've been taking the high road so much, it's amazing you don't have nose bleeds."

    I honestly did not know how long I could last.  It's not like comedy guy sincerely apologized and publicly admitted to having treated me wrong or anything.  That would -- well, that would be a different person.  He couldn't do that apparently. 

    Then one day on the web site, he announced that there had been orange juice on his car engine making a bad smell.  He said he didn't know how that got there.  Oh my God.  This was his twisted admission that he was wrong, but he couldn't address his behavior.  I exclaimed to my friend, "His nose doesn't know the difference between orange juice on hot metal and pussy?" 

        +     =

    Apparently, he was giving the whole thing some thought.  It was likely because his guy pals didn't think he was cool.  They were, to varying degrees, older than twelve.  But he couldn't address me.  He had my email.  This never had to be a schoolyard fight (which is now the world wide web). 

    Weeks went by.  The website was feeling generally unfriendly to me though I had some on-line buddies there.  The older woman who many fought with (who did her share of instigating as well) was blocked from the site.  I was more amazed at who and what was tolerated.  However, it was a site for comics and fans, so I guess they could make a case that her stuff was never really comedy related.  She was probably experienced as there to harass.  And sometimes, it did seem that way.  However, the reactions to her were more horrifying to me as she could have been ignored when behaving negatively.  Some had done that.  But many hadn't.  At some point, I was accused of having "called them out" when they had been having trouble with her and how I encouraged her.  It gave me a chance to tell them what my side of it was.  I did not encourage her to mess with them.  I privately advised her not to.  Publicly, I ignored her when she did that.  I did not egg her on.  I am not of the gang mentality.  If something is wrong, it's wrong.  They had referred to her as my friend.  I explained that not being abusive to someone doesn't make them my friend.  I told them their fighting with her was more encouraging to her to continue than anything I did.  I told them I couldn't believe some of the mean things that were said to an older woman and how uncalled for it was.  And yes, at some point I had to say something about it.  (That's what they referred to as being "called out".)  With some, the air was cleared.  With others, they weren't being honest with themselves as to what their problem was.  And the less mature guys still were loyal to comedy guy.  But even if comedy guy and I never had problems, the website wasn't for me.  The more mature people disappeared.  Those whose sensibilities were more like mine left or just blogged but didn't really interact with others. 

    It was near the end-of year holidays if I remember that right, and I saw that comedy guy had changed his photo.  In the new one, he was interacting happily with his child.  That was my chance.  It wasn't going to get better than that.  I wrote a blog of what I appreciated about the site as a happy new year type thing.  Mixed into the list I mentioned comedy guy by name when I said I liked his new photo because he looked happy in it.

    For a while, there was quiet like during a snowfall. 

    I visited the site less and less as time went on.  So it was really by chance that I happened to see a blog by comedy guy one night.  In it, he mentioned me by name and wrote that I was one of the rare ones who shared opportunities.  In one hour, he took the blog down and reposted it without that line.  The one with the line went into his archives.  Most folks in that community read the current blogs on the front page and wouldn't be likely to go into the archives.  The chances were so slim that I'd see that, that it felt like something greater made sure I saw it.  I believed it was genuine.  He missed the opportunities.  Maybe he even saw for a minute that he ruined it.  But he never expressed being sorry for hurting a friend.  His sorrow was for his loss, not for my feelings.

    ............
     
    Fast forward about 7 or 8 years to a couple of months ago.  I'm at an open mic in the Bronx with my buddy.  In walks Ken Burger* and he sets up his recording device behind me for when he does his thing at the mic.  He says hello to my friend and then goes to sit at the table in front of ours.  He turned around to look at me.  I felt myself in defense mode.  He did some creepy face, a grin and a nod type thing.  I know my face looked like, "What the fuck is wrong with you?"  I sat on the urge to blurt, "What? Say what ya gotta say like a grown man.  Don't be making faces at me."
     
    Breathe, Mindy.  Start on the exhale.  Think of your material for the mic.  But my mind wandered to my ex-husband who didn't understand how comedy guy's ex-wife's family hadn't hurt him.  Mindy, that is part of comedy guy's sickness.  He gets people to want to do physical damage to him.  Don't feed into it. 

    He and I were the only ones at the open mic there to do comedy.  The others were mainly musicians.  He went up earlier than I.  Later, when I was called up, he was still there.  Typically he leaves after he's done.  I didn't look at him.  I did my thing, and for an open mic, I did okay. 

    "What amazes me about him is he has no shame," I told my buddy on our ride home.  "He says hello to you like he never did anything wrong.  He sets up his recorder behind me like he sees no problem being near me.  Then he goes behind you and turns around and gives me a weird face and nods.  I'd be so embarrassed if I were him to even look at me."

    "Shit, me too."


    THE END!



    *Ken Burger is a fictional name.
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