He was a very successful executive, once upon a time, and decades ago, he cheated on Lisa’s mom. And then married the affair partner, after Lisa’s mom dumped him.
Not only did Lisa’s mom dump him, she moved across town with her kids, put herself through school in a new career, and gave up a whole Stepford wife lifestyle. A lifestyle Schmoopie very much enjoyed and flaunted. Lisa’s upbringing was challenging, to say the least. But she grew up to be one of the best people I know — warm, funny, and a super hard worker, successful in her career, a great mom. I adore her.
One time, Lisa had a party to celebrate a big milestone in her life. She invited her dad, who lived several hours away. It was a crapshoot whether or not he’d show. He did — hours late, wearing a florid canary yellow sports coat. A bit inebriated. But jolly.
So I strike up a conversation with him.
Lisa’s Dad! It’s so good to see you. You must be so proud of Lisa! (I natter on about the success that has brought us here.)
Blank stare. Gives me a wan smile.
Turns toward the charcuterie plate.
Later, he takes selfies, and asks Lisa to take his picture at the party. So he can use the photos in his dating profiles.
(The marriage with Schmoopie by then had imploded, and they were in a long, acrimonious divorce.)
Which brings us to today.
Lisa shared this voicemail her dad left her.
This is your dad.
I’d like to be able to reach… my former wife.
Lisa, uh, Connie… and talk to her some.
Between you and me, I’d like to get back together with her again, and get remarried.
I don’t know if she’s gonna be desiring to do that or not. I would like to talk to her about it. In private. Thank you.
One snag — Connie has been happily remarried for 35 years.
But hey, she WON THE PICK-ME DANCE. Come collect your prize!
Connie is decades into meh. Which brings us to Tuesday: winning is losing the pick me dance.
Lisa’s dad is now many years into terrible decisions. He’s in poor health, lost his home, and essentially eats chaos for breakfast. They don’t get character transplants. But when Connie left him, he was a big deal. To all outward appearances, he was a prize.
Meh is “lose my number.”
Meh is I-am-utterly-mortified-I-ever-knew-you.
Meh is you have zero relevance in my life.
Lisa didn’t share her mom’s number. And maybe her childhood self would’ve wanted her parents to get together, but now? This? Giving a shit walked into the party too late.
Wan smile. Where’s the charcuterie plate?