Some people spend tons of time surfing social media and the Internet, hoping to find encouragement or laughter or just something to fill the time.
Most of the time we have varying levels of success, but sometimes we absolutely hit the jackpot.
Now, the jackpot might not be what you expected, and it might not even be pleasant, but listen – if you can’t forget it, I’d argue that you still won.
These people are passing the winnings along to all of us!
1. This guy who went nuclear on his cheating wife.
I hope you’ve got some time and a snack, because this one is going to be super long, as the events that follow span from late 2019 to last week. As per the rules, all names are altered herein.
Ok, so here’s the backstory. My STBXW was my high school sweetheart. We started dating in 1992 when we were both 17 (we’re both 45 now) and have been together ever since. She’s the only woman I’ve ever been with my entire life. We married 5 years later at 22, fresh out of college.
A year later, we had our 1st of two children, both boys. (22 and 17) 23 years I gave to her. Built her a house. Worked my a** off to give her the life she wanted. Sure, we had rough patches, but what marriage doesn’t? Even in the worst of times, we found a way to pull through and come out the other side better. Which made the discovery of her affair that much more jarring.
Flashback to March 2020, when I 1st got the feeling something was “off”. For a good 2 months prior, we were in a funk. I was on the mend from reconstructive knee surgery (blew out my ACL fall 2019) but still lacking in movement. At the time I only had about 55% range of motion on my knee. This took a toll on quite a lot in the house.
I was out on worker’s comp, as I had been injured on the job, and I was unable to do my usual household duties, so a lot got backed up. My sons would do what they could, but tasks only I was capable of doing had to be put on the back burner, or my wife had to do, which she wasn’t pleased with. Things also crawled to a stand still in the bedroom between us. It had already slowed down prior to my injury, but in the state I was in at the time it completely stopped.
During these months, she (we’ll call her Sue) was spending more time “hanging with co-workers” after work. Between November 2019 to March 2020 it was a regular occurrence for her. Naturally, I thought nothing of it. I’ve never in the 23 years I’d been with her had any reason to worry or not trust her. She has her friends, I have mine, and we have mutual. I’d go hang out with my friends all the time and there was no issue.
It was all above board. It was around January of this year that I noticed something odd. Sue started getting noticeably distant with me. Sure, we were in a funk, but she’d never deny me affection to that point. The usual hugs and kisses she’d give me came to a halt. Her phone was attached to her hand long before my suspicion grew, but she’d always share and show me things she’d discovered on the web. DIY ideas and recipes on Pintrest, memes, all kinds of stuff. But she was now being guarded about her phone. Even her interactions with me became more snippy, as if she couldn’t be bothered.
So we’re now in March. Covid has arrived and New York City is locked down. Our chosen careers fall under the “essential” designation, so neither of us have to work from home. I’d just been recently cleared to return to work after 5 months on the shelf, and I was eager to get back after it, as 5 months on my a** rehabing my knee and not being able to do physical stuff drove me nuts. (For context, I enjoy physical activities.
I’m an avid martial artist and I’m typically in the gym 4 days a week, on top of all of the home projects I did.) Within a week or 2 of the lockdown, my STBXW alerts me that she’s going to have to start putting in extra hours. Again, I think nothing of this because of her field. Of course, I was under the assumption it’d be every other day, but no. It was every day.
And not just an hour or 2. She’d come home 3 or more hours later, and go straight to the shower, spend a little time with me, a little time with our 17 y/o (22 year old lives with his GF crosstown) and then go to bed. As I’m able to support myself on my knee better, we started getting intimate again, but as you’d probably guess she wasn’t mentally or emotionally present for it, which I noticed quickly.
So by early April, the picture started getting clearer to me. All of the signs were pointing to the idea that she was having an affair. That’s when I decided I needed to find answers. So I scoured the internet on things I should be looking for. Signs of infidelity in one’s partner, and sure enough she was pretty much ticking all of the boxes on such behavior.
So then my search inquiry advanced to how to I find proof. I started with her social media. Looking at her FB entries from months prior, it’s pretty much the usual. Pics of us and our sons, pics with her and her friends, and a more then a few pics of her nights out with co-workers. In these pics, it’s a mixed bag of her closets friends from work, and a couple folk I’ve never met from her work.
But I see one recurring thing in a number of these pics, one guy. In every picture he’s in, he’s rather uncomfortably close to her. His arm is around her shoulder, or his hand on her lower back. WAY to close for a guy I’ve never personally met. Needless to say that put a sour taste in my mouth.
But that wasn’t the worst of it.
No, no, no. The worst was the fact that apparently, this dude is a friend of hers on FB and followers her on IG. So I go to look up his FB account and wouldn’t you know it, I’m blocked. Why the hell am I blocked from seeing this guy’s FB account, but he’s friends with her on FB. Yep. Now I’m in Batman detective mode. At that point, I wasn’t even trying to deny it. I knew she was cheating on me with this guy.
My mission was to find out for how long. And over the course of April and May, that’s what I did. You know I never had any clue the depth of info you could secure from phone, text and email records up until then. We have a family plan cellphone package, and I was able to pull up quite a bit of data. My STBXW’s data history was telling. The 2 most frequent numbers she had interacted with from October 2019 to April 2020 was my own, and a number I’d never seen before. Take a wild guess who’s number it was? A quick check on google and I confirmed it was the dude from the photos who blocked me on FB. (We’ll call him POS, cuz that’s what he is.)
Again, the picture becomes even clearer at this point. But a lot of their messages and texts were disjointed, which meant she was deleting a lot of them. I knew she was cheating on me with this guy, but nothing in the data could serve as a smoking gun. I needed more evidence.
It’s at this point that I tell my best friend Oz what I had found. He asked me did I confront her with what I had, and I said no because I felt like it wasn’t enough. That’s when he told me about an app that I could download to apparently spy on her communications in real time. I won’t say the name as I don’t know the rules on that here. I got it installed, sync up my data plan, and waited. Within days of doing so, I finally saw it.
A text string between the 2 of them talking about how much fun they’d had the previous night, and making plans to do it again that weekend. Boom. Gut punch. To say I was completely devastating was an understatement. I guess that moment counts as my “D-Day”, and for the next 2 days after I was just broken. I actively distanced myself from her those 2 days immediately after d-day, which she was noticeably shaking by.
She’d try to console me and ask me what was wrong, but I’d brush it off and leave her presence. I couldn’t even look at her. This woman, who I gave 23 years of my life to. Who I have given everything I could and more to as a husband, and she stepped outside of our marriage for a guy just 5 years older then our eldest son. By the 3rd day, I wasn’t even sad anymore, I was pi**ed.
I contacted Oz to let him know my suspicion was confirmed, and he asked me had I confronted her yet. My answer was no, and I told him I wanted payback. I didn’t want to just divorce her, I wanted to destroy her. I wanted to leave her life in shambles and f**king ruin her. It was going to take time to do so, and I devised a plan.
In my readings and research on infidelity, I had saw a quote that resonated with me that went “the enemy of infidelity is unpredictability”. Or something to that ilk. That was going to be the basis of my plan. I was going to make her life hell on wheels, while also secretly planning my exit strategy.
So we’re now in early June, and I’ve still got the app installed. Pretty much every night, I’m gathering as much data as I can seeing their back and forth messages. They’re talking like it’s a full blown relationship they’re in. S**ting, lovey dovey romantic stuff, nudes, the whole f**king bag. At that point I had stopped looking at any of it, I was just collecting info and cataloging on my private FPS server.
Meanwhile, I start doing things “out of the ordinary”. I start going out at odd times. I start coming home even later then she does. In her presence, I’m on my phone a lot more then usual and when she asks “what are you up to?” I just simply say “just stuff” and put my phone away. I’d also changed my log in info on everything, so she couldn’t access any of my stuff. Mind you, for our entire marriage, we’d never hid anything from each other.
But right around I’m assuming the start of her affair, she’d changed her password on FB, as well as on her phone stating “she had to because of the security breaches in recent months.” Yea, really nice cover for hiding your affair from your husband. Anyway, I’d clued Oz in on my plan, as well as telling my older (and only) sister and two more of my closest friends what was going on.
These are people I trust with my life, and I swore them to secrecy. (For context, Oz and I have been friends since we were kids. The other of our friends Joey and Nina we’ve known since High School. Make note of Nina, she comes into play down the road.)
July comes, and my STBXW is in full paranoia mode. She’s texting and calling me a lot more frequently now, asking me if I’m going to be home when she’s gets home, when am I coming home while she is and I’m not, asking me what am I up to, the works. I can see the seed planted in her head the month prior is starting to sprout, especially in her communication with POS.
She’s confiding in him her doubt and confusion. Telling him that I’M getting cold and distant. The f**king nerve of this woman!!! In the interim of these interactions with POS, she suggests that maybe they should stop meeting up at our house because she has no idea if I’d just show up, confirming that yes, she’s had this fu**kwad in my home. Thanks, Sue! POS asks her in that specific communication was she worried about me potentially cheating on her, which actually pi**ed her off.
I can’t even begin to describe the level of joy and how many laughs I got out of reading that exchange. My cheating wife arguing with her affair partner over if she’s mad her husband could be cheating on her. Oh the f**king irony. Now bare in mind, I’m not hooking up with anyone. When I leave, I’m usually at Oz or Joey’s throwing back some booze, watching fights and spending time with my bros, or at my big sis’ house hanging with her and my BIL, who’s like an older brother to me. My sis is 52 and her hubby is 58. She had told him about my STBXW’s infidelity, but not of my plan. Couldn’t risk it as he’s a bit of a blabber mouth.
We’ll fast forward now to October. That’s when things seriously pick up. I’ve been in my “faux affair” for 3 months now, and Sue is hyper aware of the fact that I’m actively pulling away from her. It’s been as long as the day I enacted my plan until the day she “confronted” me, October 20th, 2020 that I’d even touched her. No hugs. No kisses. No initiation of intimacy. Nothing.
Not like she needed it, she was still f**king POS, just at his place or at motels. So that afternoon, she calls me at work, which wasn’t rare before all this began, but certainly hadn’t happened in a while and asks me to come straight home after work saying she had “something important to tell me.” I’m not gonna lie to you all, I half believed she was going to come clean about her infidelity, but she of course didn’t. Instead, I get home to her asking me was I unhappy with her. The. F**king. Nerve.
She sights the fact that I’ve been spending way to much time away from home, I don’t show her affection anymore and our s** life has completely d**d. She tells me she’s worried I’m pushing her away because I was resentful of how she treated me the months I was rehabbing my knee. And then came the punchline. She f**king asked if I was cheating on her. Folks, I fell out on the floor laughing hysterically. And when I say hysterically I mean Joker laughing gas hysterical.
On the surface it looked like (to her assuming) it was me laughing off the notion of being unfaithful, but it was of course actually me laughing at the sheer irony of what was happening in front of my eyes. I’m tearing up, pounding on the floor in complete hysterics for a good 2 minutes before I compose myself enough to answer. I sit up and look her in the eyes for the 1st time in months shaking my head, but I don’t give her and answer. I stand up, brush myself off, kiss the top of her head and go about settling in for the night.
Later that night, as I’m in my office I decide you know what? Given the brevity of what happened, I wanted to see what she was telling him. So I fire up the app and sure enough they’re actually texting in real time. She tells POS “I know he’s cheating on me. I asked him tonight and he literally laughed in my face. He fell on the floor and laughed for like 5 minutes.
(It wasn’t 5 minutes obviously.) He doesn’t even care how I feel anymore. I don’t know how or why, but he’s gone. I know I’ve lost him. This is karma, I know it.” The smile I had on my face reading that must’ve resemble the Cheshire Cat. She was breaking. POS attempted to console her, saying that if I cared enough for her, she wouldn’t have had come to him to give her what I wasn’t giving her, but the tone of her responses told me she was having doubt now.
She had the nerve to step out of our marriage because I was unable to fulfill my role as a husband due to legitimate injury, and kept the affair going for at that point nearly an entire year, but the idea of her losing me to another woman was enough to make her waver? What a f**king weakling.
Now, during all of this I was also exacting the 2nd part of my plan for payback, getting all of my affairs in order financially. In September, I had met with a family attorney to get the ball rolling on divorce paper, with the mountain of evidence I’d piled up to that point. New York is an “at fault” state as far as Divorce, and the overwhelming amount of proof I’d gathered displaying Sue’s infidelity pretty much solidified I could nail her to the fu**ing wall in a divorce case.
My lawyer instructed me to get all of my financials in order in preparation for whatever division of assets might come as result. I went one better then that, secretly pulling all of my money out of our joint account and putting it in my personal account. I also started shopping around for an apartment as part of “phase 2”.
We’re now in November, and I’ve not changed my behavior. In fact, I’ve ramped it up. This is where my friend Nina comes into play. For context, Nina and Sue have never been what you call “close”. I met Nina freshman year of high school 2 years before I met Sue. Even way back then, Sue has seen Nina as a “threat”, as she’s my closest female friend. There’s always been an implied “I don’t trust her” from Sue regarding Nina.
She’s never addressed it directly, but it’s obvious to anyone who pays attention. Conversely, Nina’s never been a big fan of Sue. Early in me and Sue’s relationship, Nina called to attention to me how Sue was pretty much imposing herself into our little “square” of friends, whereas I didn’t do the same with Sue’s set of friends. That irked Nina because she knew why Sue was doing it, her. Among Sue’s circle even now, there are no male friends…aside from POS. Whereas Nina is the only girl in my “square”.
Nina had been “stuck” overseas due to the virus, and finally returned to NYC November 3rd. Oz, Joey and I decided we were gonna celebrate her return with a night at Joey’s house for dinner and drinks. (There was only 5 of us, Oz, Joey, Joey’s wife…who is also Nina’s sister, Nina and myself. Sticking to CDC guidelines. We take the rona VERY seriously.) Nina, being the evil mastermind she is, comes up with an evil idea to trigger Sue.
She suggested we take some photos in the same vein of the photos I discovered of Sue and POS months prior…and post them to my FB. And that’s just what we did. It wasn’t until the 5th that Sue got wind of it, as I’m guessing a few friends noticed my updates and saw how “uncomfortably” close I was with Nina. This really f**ked her mind up, because she still believed I was cheating, and I can almost guarantee she “wanted” to accuse Nina, but she knew that Nina had been stuck in Europe for the majority of the year.
Still didn’t stop her from attempting to dress me down that night for being so as she said “handsy” in the pics. I saw this as a golden opportunity to deliver the the lead jab for my knockout blow. I say “So what about the pics with you and POS from last year? He was pretty handsy in them. But did you see me get bent out of shape over it?”
Dear in headlights. It was the 1st time I even mentioned the dude’s name throughout all of this. The hamster wheel in her head started reeling in real time as she tried to to explain away those pics. To that point she hadn’t even known I saw them, that’s little I use FB. When I actually do post something it’s like an event to people, which is why the pics with Nina specifically got so much traction among our circles.
And explain away she did. “He’s that way with everyone.” “He’s just a really friendly guy.” “I can see how it looks, but there’s nothing their.” “I’m sorry if those pics hurt you. I’ll delete them.” No, no…the pics aren’t what hurt me. The year you’ve been f**king the dude whilst lying to me that you’re working extra hours and hanging with friends is what hurt me. But vengeance, as Lt. Comm. Warf from Star Trek: TNG so famously said “is a dish best served cold.” From that night, Sue was being extra specially clingy and attentive to me. Like, annoyingly so.
She’s try to initiate affection and intimacy with me and I’d stonewall her at every chance. All the while, I’m still archiving everything she’s saying to POS. Mind you by this point I’d long since gone numb. Any desire I might have had to save my marriage was d**d. I’d checked out the day I enacted the 1st phase of my plan.
She’s confiding in him that I’ve gotten worse. That she doesn’t know what to do, and she feels like I absolutely h**e her. (I do.) Then comes the bombshell. She says she can’t see him anymore. The guilt is to much for her, and she feels like karma is suffocating her. She can’t risk losing me.
She says that she loves POS deeply, but she “still in love” with me, and she has to save her marriage before she loses me. No, my dear…you’re about 8 months to late for that. POS loses his s**t, saying such lovely things as “He doesn’t love you the way I love you.” and “You’re making a mistake, you can’t just throw me away like this.” That text chain would be the last they’d have until about 3 weeks ago. Throughout the remainder of November into December, Sue is tuck in limbo. She’s trying to gauge where my headspace is and is still unable to tell if I’m actually being unfaithful.
Meanwhile, POS is steadily blowing her phone up daily, but she’s not responding to him. I’d see her check her phone often, the quickly put it away. Meanwhile, phase 2 of the plan was now officially complete. The divorce papers were done. I’d found me a studio apartment in Co-Op City (New Yorkers will know the area) and signed a 2 year lease on it. All of my money was in my personal account. I was ready to throw my haymaker.
So we’re now at Thanksgiving. My oldest and his GF were hosting a small gathering of our immediate families. So them (Oldest and his GF), Oldest’s GF’s parents (she’s an only child) myself, Sue and our youngest. We have a great night. My oldest’s GF is studying to be a chef, and she did all the cooking herself. The girl can f**kin’ cook lemme tell ya’.
As I had to keep up appearances of nothing being wrong between Sue and I, I initiated affection with her several times that evening. Kisses on the cheek. Cute lil’ hugs. Wrapping my arms around her shoulders from behind. The gestures didn’t go unnoticed by her, as she reveled in it. Bare in mind, this was the 1st time I touched this woman since I kissed the top of her head the night she “confronted” me in October…so just about 2 months.
Not gonna lie, I felt repulsed doing it. But I had to. I couldn’t risk the plan, and me being distant to her in the face of my boys, my oldest’s GF and her parents would set off alarms. So my youngest decides he wants to stay over with his big bro for the night, so Sue and I head home. On the drive home, she thanks me for being so good to her, and says “I don’t know what you’re going through, baby. But I’m here for you.” I had to hold off busting out in maniacal laughter again, and responded saying. “I know. I just need time.”
So for the 1st time realistically since Springtime, we had s** that night. I figured f**k it, with what I’m about to do, may as well get some action before I delete her from my existence. I won’t go into detail, but it wasn’t “love making”. When I was finished she was a lump of flesh laying their trying to figure out the direction of the truck that ran her over.
No cuddling or anything after. I just got up, showered and and went to go sleep in my office. To her confusion though, I used a condom. 1st time 2 d**n decades I did. She was definitely perplexed by it, but she didn’t ask questions. (Sure as hell wasn’t going raw in her knowing that she’d been doing so with POS for months at that point.) I wake up the next day and check my handy dandy spy app, and for the 1st time in weeks, she responded to POS.
Dude went full novella. He professed his love for her. Said she was wasting her time trying to rekindle a flame in me that d**d. That she’d been “in a prison” with me for 23 years and deserved to experience the love and affection of a man who would cherish her. Mind you, this dude is 27 f**kin’ years old. Five years older then our oldest son. And he’s THAT sprung on a 45 y/o married mother of 2? What a grade-A, high quality SIMP. She chose to blow up our marriage and destroy the home we’d built for this dude? Pretty boy with a “soft side”? HAAAA!!!
She responded saying pretty much the same thing she said when last they talked. That she loves him, and enjoyed their time together, but she can’t lose me. I’m still the love of her life, but she’ll always have a place for him in her heart. That they can still be friends if he chooses, but the physical relationship between them is over.
He begged her to see him one last time that week, and yep…you guessed it, she said yes. One more for the road, right? Who am I to say anything, that’s what I did to her the previous night. Of course I added all of that to the archive I’d compiled. December 4th is when phase 3, the final phase of operation “Shinobi Ghost” started. The divorce papers where in hand. My new place or residence was set up. Now I had to slowly start moving me stuff out of the house.
But 1st, I had to break the news to my boys. I called my oldest to the house that Friday night, had them join me in my office…and laid everything on that table. Not the specifics, but that there mother had been cheating on me for over a year, and I was going to be filing for divorce soon. My 17 year old was especially shaken up by this, because he himself had recently experienced his 1st taste of infidelity.
Yep, his 1st GF had cheated on him just 4 months prior. Seeing his heart broken a 2nd time at the idea that his own mother was capable of doing this hit him hard. My oldest took it a lot better, and suggested taking his brother in to live with him until this blows over, to which I agreed.
We packed up some of his stuff, and he asked me was I gonna be ok. I told him “Yes, son. I’m going to be alright. And so are you. We’re going to be alright. I promise.” And then they were off. The hardest part was now over, and it was now time to arm the nukes. Over the next few weeks, day by day Oz would help me get a little of my most sensitive stuff out of the house.
Gave him a list of all of the definite stuff to grab while Sue and I were at work and left him the spare key. This was all stuff Sue wouldn’t notice was missing unless you told her it was gone. I’d also gotten a new phone and phone number, and told everyone who needed to know (Oz, Joey, Nina, My boys, big sis and my mother) my new contact info.
Meanwhile, I’m keeping up the rouse with Sue and she’s non the wiser. trickling bits and pieces of affection to her just to keep her off of the trail, whilst she’s still in contact with POS. Not to the extent that they’d been prior, but there’s still an emotional thing happening. The fog is feint, but it’s still there. All the while, I gather everything, and I do mean everything. Every bit of data I’ve archived since I started the plan, call logs, texts, pics, emails…everything, and start making printouts.
Folks, I must have spent over a $1500 on staples supplies. Printer ink, paper, binders, the works. And I cataloged everything in order, from the beginning of the affair until that last bit 2 weeks ago, December 16th in the binders. 14 of them.
I then put each one in a box, and gift wrapped each, addressing them to various people. My mother (my father passed 7 years ago), her parents, her 2 sister, her brother, her HR department (Did I forget to mention POS works for the same company, and there’s an expressed rule against inter-company relationships because of the nature of what she does?), several of her friends, POS AND POS’s parents.
Lugged all of those f**kers to the post office and shipped them all out December 16th. ETA for delivery, December 22-24th. PERFECT. So we’re now at Christmas Eve. Sue comes home around the usual time, no idea if she’d seen POS, I’d stop tracking her on the app the 18th. Figure I’d gotten all the mileage I needed from it. As per usual, she showers, hangs out with me a bit, I blow her back out on the living room couch (I know, I’m a f**king a**hole) and she turns in for the night.
The final phase was upon me at long last. The nuke I’d been arming since June was finally about to launched. In the middle of the night, I woke up and wrapped up one of the 3 remaining binders, with the divorce papers taped to the inside cover, and set it on my side of the bed with a note note that said “Merry Christmas” on it. Next to it I left my old phone, and the business card of my lawyer. I packed up the remainder of my most needed items, enough to fill 2 backpacks, and I left my home…that I spent 23 years in, for the last time.
That my friends, was one week ago. To Sue I am completely off the grid. Gone. Shadow ghosted. She’s blocked on FB, but still hasn’t blocked me for some reason, so I’m keeping tabs on the fallout. It’s absolutely glorious. My packages have reached everyone I sent them out to, and Sue is getting crucified. Her youngest sister completely dressed her down.
Both of her parents have condemned her. My mom absolutely destroyed her. Like holy s**t, I know my mom has a mean streak…but the things she called Sue were un-f**king-holy. She’s been frantically trying to find out if anyone knows where I am, but those that due, aren’t saying a word. All over her FB feed she’s desperately trying to reach me, because I’m guessing she knows I’m likely looking. But I’m not saying a f**king word to her without my lawyer present. That’ll be the next time I share oxygen with her.
She’s got no way of spinning the narrative to paint me as the bad guy, because I’ve exposed her to everyone who matters to her. And from what a mutual friend who works in the same company as her, she and POS apparently are being put on administrative leave as of tomorrow, so yea…chances are she’ll be going into 2021 unemployed. As for the the final 2 binders, well…one has been turned over to my lawyer as my final bit of evidence for my impending divorce, and the last one I put in my storage unit to be burned in Joey’s fire pit when the divorce is final.
Do I feel guilty about this? No. Not even in the slightest. 23 years I did right by this woman. I gave her the home she wanted. I gave her the family she wanted. I gave her the life I felt we both deserved, and I loved her unconditionally. Never have I faltered. Never have I strayed. Never have I even entertained the notion of breaking my vows. When an issue came up that I felt was effecting our marriage, I came to her and told her, and we sorted it out as best we could.
She opted to find comfort in another man’s bed. Rather then come to me and say she was unhappy with our s** life at the time, she decided to step out with a young punk who gave her the tingles. So no, I have no sympathy for what I did, or for her. She can burn in hell for all I care. The most I stand to lose is my house, a car and maybe a couple hundred bucks a month in alimony, but seeing as the divorce is filed under the statute of adultery and NYS is At Fault, that might get waved with the insurmountable about of evidence I’ve provided. As far as I’m concerned, she’s d**d to me and I’m never looking back.
TL:DR – Wife of 23 years had a 1 year long affair with a co-worker 18 years younger then her. Pretended to be in an affair myself while collecting evidence of hers for the majority of 2020. Had divorce papers drawn up early Fall. Compiled all the evidence in early December. Shipped binders full of the evidence to everyone near and dear to her to arrive around Christmas Eve.
Left one binder with the divorce notice attached inside on my pillow, as well as my phone and lawyer’s card as she slept Christmas Eve. Completely went off the grid on her as her life completely imploded the following days after Christmas.
2. Grief comes for us all.
Alright, here goes. I’m old.
What that means is that I’ve survived (so far) and a lot of people I’ve known and loved did not. I’ve lost friends, best friends, acquaintances, co-workers, grandparents, mom, relatives, teachers, mentors, students, neighbors, and a host of other folks. I have no children, and I can’t imagine the pain it must be to lose a child. But here’s my two cents.
I wish I could say you get used to people dying. I never did. I don’t want to. It tears a hole through me whenever somebody I love d**s, no matter the circumstances. But I don’t want it to “not matter”. I don’t want it to be something that just passes. My scars are a testament to the love and the relationship that I had for and with that person.
And if the scar is deep, so was the love. So be it. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are a testament that I can love deeply and live deeply and be cut, or even gouged, and that I can heal and continue to live and continue to love. And the scar tissue is stronger than the original flesh ever was. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are only ugly to people who can’t see.
As for grief, you’ll find it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the magnificence of the ship that was, and is no more. And all you can do is float. You find some piece of the wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it’s some physical thing. Maybe it’s a happy memory or a photograph. Maybe it’s a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float. Stay alive.
In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don’t even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you’ll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart.
When they come, they still crash all over you and wipe you out. But in between, you can breathe, you can function. You never know what’s going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything…and the wave comes crashing. But in between waves, there is life.
Somewhere down the line, and it’s different for everybody, you find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming.
An anniversary, a birthday, or Christmas, or landing at O’Hare. You can see it coming, for the most part, and prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging on to some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you’ll come out.
Take it from an old guy. The waves never stop coming, and somehow you don’t really want them to. But you learn that you’ll survive them. And other waves will come. And you’ll survive them too. If you’re lucky, you’ll have lots of scars from lots of loves. And lots of shipwrecks.
3. Magic Johnson.
I used to have a membership at the Hollywood YMCA, and there was a pickup game there every single day.
The normal game was just a bunch of guys who were there every day, but once or twice a week, some crazy good ex college and sometimes even ex pros came in. You had 5 man teams, played to 10 points, winning team kept the court and the next team rotated in. When the really good guys came, they always played on the same team, and they ran the court for hours at a time. (They were d**ks about it too, acting like they owned the place, etc.)
There was this really old man (60 or so) who played alot, he wasn’t worth much but he could bomb threes like mad when he was hot, and he always claimed he was friends with Magic Johnson and that one day he’d bring him in and we’d finally get to beat this one really good group of guys. We all thought he was full of s**t.
Then, lo and behold, one day the group of really good guys came in and started winning, (one of them played for UCLA back in the day, and one of them had played pro in Europe) and they started ordering everyone around, calling cheap fouls, etc. So this old man lost it, he leaves and says he’ll be back in twenty minutes. Twenty minutes later, he came back with, no s**t, Magic Johnson. This was like summer of 1997, so Magic was probably only a year or two removed from his comeback season with the Lakers.
He was in really good shape, and he looked like he was about 37 feet tall compared to me, and I’m 6’3″. So, Magic and this old man formed a team, I tried to get on it but they needed runners and I was a known gunner. Eventually it’s their turn, and they take the court. Magic played PG, dribbled the ball up the court, and he said he would only shoot the ball two times per game. “The first bucket of the game, and the last.” The other team just scoffed and said he could shoot all he wanted, they were obviously not scared at all.
Long story short, Magic absolutely destroyed the game, made those guys look like little boys. As he stated, he did indeed score the first bucket of the game, a very long three pointer (it actually only counted as 2, that’s how we played) and then he just became strictly a passer. It seemed like he grabbed just about every rebound of the entire game, and made some insane passes. At one point he actually dribbled the ball up the court by running backwards, and was laughing and obviously not even trying at all.
The old man who called him there ended up hitting a three to make the score 9-3, or maybe 9-4, I can’t recall, but then Magic said “Ok, you guys get one more possession, then this game is over.” With this big grin on his face. So the other team took the ball up the court, but all of a sudden, like a lightning bolt or something, Magic just… it was almost like he disappeared, that’s how fast he moved… he just exploded off his feet, stole the ball from the dribbler, dribbled the ball up the court like a sprinting deer, took it all the way to the hole and dunked it.
Not a hard dunk, not a spectacular dunk, it was more like he dunked it the way a normal person would open their car door, like, his facial expression didn’t even change. Game over.
The other guys were mad and demanded a rematch, but Magic said the rules of the court were that they had to give up the court to the winning team and wait their turn to play again. Magic ended up playing there that day for about 2 hours, and won at least 10 games in that timespan. The really good team played his team 2 more times, and again Magic’s team won both times, score was never even close.
4. A deep blue nightmare.
Many scuba divers think they can go a little deeper, but don’t know there are special gas mixtures, equipment and training required for just a few meters of depth.
Imagine this: you take your PADI open water diving course and you learn your dive charts, buy all your own gear and become familiar with it. Compared to the average person on the street, you’re an expert now.
You go diving on coral reefs, a few shipwrecks and even catch lobster in New England. You go to visit a deep spot like this and you’re having a great time. You see something just in front of you – this beautiful cave with sunlight streaming through – and you decide to swim just a little closer.
You’re not going to go inside it, you know better than that, but you just want a closer look. If your dive computer starts beeping, you’ll head back up.So you swim a little closer and it’s breathtaking. You are enjoying the view and just floating there taking it all in. You hear a clanging sound – it’s your dive master rapping the butt of his knife on his tank to get someone’s attention. You look up to see what he wants, but after staring into the darkness for the last minute, the sunlight streaming down is blinding.
You turn away and reach to check your dive computer, but it’s a little awkward for some reason, and you twist your shoulder and pull it towards you. It’s beeping and the screen is flashing GO UP. You stare at it for a few seconds, trying to make out the depth and tank level between the flashing words. The numbers won’t stay still. It’s really annoying, and your brain isn’t getting the info you want at a glance. So you let it fall back to your left shoulder, turn towards the light and head up.
The problem is that the blue hole is bigger than anything you’ve ever dove before, and the crystal clear water provides a visibility that is 10x what you’re used to in the dark waters of the St Lawrence where you usually dive. What you don’t realize is that when you swam down a little farther to get a closer look, thinking it was just 30 or 40 feet more, you actually swam almost twice that because the vast scale of things messed up your sense of distance.
And while you were looking at the archway you didn’t have any nearby reference point in your vision. More depth = more pressure, and your BCD, the air-filled jacket that you use to control your buoyancy, was compressed a little.
You were slowly sinking and had no idea. That’s when the dive master began banging his tank and you looked up. This only served to blind you for a moment and distract your sense of motion and position even more. Your dive computer wasn’t sticking out on your chest below your shoulder when you reached for it because your BCD was shrinking. You turned your body sideways while twisting and reaching for it.
The ten seconds spent fumbling for it and staring at the screen brought you deeper and you began to accelerate with your jacket continuing to shrink. The reason that you didn’t hear the beeping at first and that it took so long to make out the depth between the flashing words was the nitrogen narcosis. You have been getting depth d**nk. And the numbers wouldn’t stay still because you are still sinking*.*
You swim towards the light but the current is pulling you sideways. Your brain is hurting, straining for no reason, and the blue hole seems like it’s gotten narrower, and the light rays above you are going at a funny angle. You kick harder just keep going up, toward the light, despite this d**n current that wants to push you into the wall.
Your computer is beeping incessantly and it feels like you’re swimming through mud. F**k this, you grab the fill button on your jacket and squeeze it. You’re not supposed to use your jacket to ascend, as you know that it will expand as the pressure drops and you will need to carefully bleed off air to avoid shooting up to the surface, but you don’t care about that anymore.
Shooting up to the surface is exactly what you want right now, and you’ll deal with bleeding air off and making depth stops when you’re back up with the rest of your group.The sound of air rushing into your BCD fills your ears, but nothing’s happening. Something doesn’t sound right, like the air isn’t filling fast enough.
You look down at your jacket, searching for whatever the trouble might be when FWUNK you bump right into the side of the giant sinkhole. What the hell?? Why is the current pulling me sideways? Why is there even a current in an empty hole in the middle of the ocean??You keep holding the button. INFLATE! G**DAM IT INFLATE!!
Your computer is now making a frantic screeching sound that you’ve never heard before. You notice that you’ve been breathing heavily – it’s a sign of stress – and the sound of air rushing into your jacket is getting weaker.
Every 10m of water adds another 1 atmosphere of pressure. Your tank has enough air for you to spend an hour at 10m (2atm) and to refill your BCD more than a hundred times. Each additional 20m of depth cuts this time in half. This assumes that you are calm, controlling your breathing, and using your muscles slowly with intention.
If you panic, begin breathing quickly and move rapidly, this cuts your time in half again. You’re certified to 20m, and you’ve gone briefly down to 30m on some shipwrecks before. So you were comfortable swimming to 25m to look at the arch. While you were looking at it, you sank to 40m, and while you messed around looking for your dive master and then the computer, you sank to 60m. 6 atmospheres of pressure.
You have only 10 minutes of air at this depth. When you swam for the surface, you had become disoriented from twisting around and then looking at your gear and you were now right in front of the archway. You swam into the archway thinking it was the surface, that’s why the Blue Hole looked smaller now.
There is no current pulling you sideways, you are continuing to sink to to bottom of the arch. When you hit the bottom and started to inflate your BCD, you were now over 90m. You will go through a full tank of air in only a couple of minutes at this depth. Panicking like this, you’re down to seconds. There’s enough air to inflate your BCD, but it will take over a minute to fill, and it doesn’t matter, because that would only pull you into to the top of the arch, and you will drown before you get there.
Holding the inflate button you kick as hard as you can for the light. Your muscles are screaming, your brain is screaming, and it’s getting harder and harder to suck each panicked breath out of your regulator. In a final fit of rage and frustration you scream into your useless reg, darkness squeezing into the corners of your vision.
4 minutes. That’s how long your dive lasted. You d**d in clear water on a sunny day in only 4 minutes.
5. This guy who found a nightmare in the middle of nowhere.
When I was 19 I worked for a company that allocated labour to rural areas of Australia. Basically what you did was tell them when you were available, and they’d send you to a remote farm for a few weeks where you’d do whatever they needed done. It was hard work and long hours, but good pay and good fun if you got in with a nice group of workers.
When this occurred, I was working on a large property (I was told it covered roughly the same landmass as the state of Maryland USA) about 9 hours from Sydney city, and the property itself was about 40 minutes from the nearest town. In short, it was the middle of nowhere.
I was working at the farm clearing bushland with 3 other guys my age from the city, our boss was a guy called Jeremy who owned the farm and supervised us while helping out with the work. He was pretty laid back, and was generally really good to us. This summer in particular was very hot, and the work was hard, so one day when the temperature hit about 38 degrees Celsius (about 100 Fahrenheit) Jeremy decided to give us the afternoon off.
He said he knew of a water hole on the farm about a 25 minute drive north, I was keen for a swim but the other guys just wanted to relax for the arvo, so him and I hopped in one of the work trucks and started heading across the property. It was mostly wide, empty expanses with a few clumps of scattered bushland. Jeremy wasn’t much of a talker, so we drove more or less in silence. After about 20 minutes however, he suddenly perked up and jabbed me in the ribs;
“do you see that over there… beneath the two d**d trees?”
I should mention here that if you’re not familiar with inland areas, particularly those in Australia, they are brown or red, and mostly flat and bland, meaning any bright colors stick out like a sore thumb, so you can imagine our surprise when we could see a large blue angular structure far off in the distance.
We steered in it’s direction, and as we got closer we realized it was a huge blue shipping container just sitting in the middle of nowhere. Jeremy was perplexed, I asked him if he knew what it was but he obviously didn’t. He said he hadn’t seen it when he drove through the same area about 5 weeks before, and he wanted to go and see what it was.
Initially we pulled to a stop about 100 meters away from it. At this stage I had a really bad feeling, the whole thing wasn’t right, its hard to explain, but if you can imagine seeing such a foreign object in the middle of a huge barren expanse, it had to be something weird. Jeremy however wanted to investigate, which I understood, given it was his property, but in truth I was really anxious.
As we got closer, things got even more bizarre. There was a big diesel generator behind it thumping away, and a CCTV camera on each side, all motion activated so they buzzed from side to side, following us as we moved around. I tried to reason with Jeremy, something along the lines of “with all this security, someone obviously doesn’t want us here, lets just go”. He brushed me off however, reminding me it was his farm and whoever had put this here was trespassing, so he wanted to go inside.
Despite all the surveillance, there was only a small padlock on the huge door. We had some bolt-cutters in his toolbox, and after a bit of a struggle, we broke the lock and went inside.
The first thing I noticed was the rush of cold air as we got in, the place was air-conditioned, which I must admit was quite pleasant on such a hot day. We searched around for a light switch, but I could already see this was some sort of I.T set up, there were flashing LEDs all around the place and the sort of hum you hear when a hard drive is working hard. When we finally switched on the lights, we could see a sophisticated (albeit somewhat cluttered) office set up.
There were hard drives the size of bar fridges and other computer equipment lining the walls, sometimes piled 2 or 3 high, and plastic storage boxes scatter around the far wall, and several desks with computer monitors arranged in the middle, complete with rolling office chairs.
At this stage I felt like I was in one of those nonsensical dreams, this made absolutely no sense. We wandered to the middle and sat down at the desks to see if the computers could give us any idea of what the hell was going on here.
My heart was racing and I just wanted to bolt, we had been seen by the CCTV, so if anyone was monitoring they already knew we were here. Jeremy on the other was adamant we had to get to the bottom of this, so I put on a brave face and started looking through the computer.
This went on for a while, but in short neither of us had a very high grasp of technology outside of Facebook and Microsoft Word. The best I can describe it from my lay position is that it was endless lists of “computer talk”, it was like the old Napster or Limewire download screens looked like, just constantly picking up and receiving data then recording it on several windows.
I gave up on the computers and walked cautiously over the far end of the container to the big pile of storage boxes. By then I was pretty sure no-one else was there as there was nowhere to hide really, but I was still incredibly on edge. I decided, against my better judgment to see what was inside all these boxes. My brief sift through this box still makes me feel sick to the stomach.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that the this box was full of posters, DVDs and photos, all of hard core child p**nography. One thing that still gets to me is that it was all neatly ordered in to folders and smaller boxes… These people were organized. I immediately recoiled, jumped up and ran over to Jeremy. I could hardly string a sentence together, I said something to the effect of “mate, get out, child s**, go, get the heck up!”. I dragged him out, composed myself and managed to explain what I saw.
We jumped back in to the truck and sped back to the house. The farm had no mobile phone reception, and we hadn’t bought the satellite phone so we had to get back to the landline to call the police. Once we called them they still had to make it all the way to the farm from the nearest police station, which was in a town about a half hour from the town closest to the farm (as I mentioned, very remote).
We waited, talking frantically about what we’d seen, until the cops arrived almost an hour later. They arrived with 2 four wheel drives, and we jumped in and led them back. This is where it gets worse…
By the time we got back, the container door was open and there was fire inside. We had only two small extinguishers in the cars, and these did very little. The fire department took an hour to get there, by which stage most of the damage was already done. An arson report by the federal police found almost no evidence of the computer equipment described, and only traces of paper and cardboard.
This means that whoever ran it, knew we were there and had time to come and remove most of it and get away. There were various ways to get off the property and the landmass was huge, so there was no real way to tail them. Since the police hadn’t taken us all too seriously in the first instance, probably due to our poor explanation on the phone, aerial surveillance was also impossible by the time we had pieced it all together.
I took a keen interest in following it up, but with no real evidence of who might be responsible, the investigation went cold. I’ve kept in contact with Jeremy, and the shipping container is still sitting there on the farm, as its too expensive to move.
I’ll never forget what I saw in those boxes.
6. This tale of woe for the IT department.
I witnessed this astounding IT meltdown around 2004 in a large academic organization.
An employee decided to send a broad solicitation about her need for a local apartment. She happened to discover and use an email@example.com type of email address that included everyone. And by “everyone,” I mean every employee in a 30,000-employee academic institution. Everyone from the CEO on down received this lady’s apartment inquiry.
Of course, this kicked off the usual round of “why am I getting this” and “take me offa list” and “omg everyone stop replying” responses… each reply-all’ed to firstname.lastname@example.org, so 30,000 new messages. Email started to bog down as a half-million messages apparated into mailboxes.
IT Fail #1: Not necessarily making an email@example.com email address – that’s quite reasonable – but granting unrestricted access to it (rather than configuring the mail server to check the sender and generate one “not the CEO = not authorized” reply).
That wasn’t the real problem. That incident might’ve simmered down after people stopped responding.
In a 30k organization, lots of people go on vacay, and some of them (let’s say 20) remembered to set their email to auto-respond about their absence. And the auto-responders responded to the same recipients – including firstname.lastname@example.org. So, every “I don’t care about your apartment” message didn’t just generate 30,000 copies of itself… it also generated 30,000 * 20 = 600,000 new messages. Even the avalanche of apartment messages became drowned out by the volume of “I’ll be gone ’til November” auto-replies.
That also wasn’t the real problem, which, again, might have d**d down all by itself.
The REAL problem was that the mail servers were quite diligent. The auto-responders didn’t just send one “I’m away” message: they sent an “I’m away” message in response to every incoming message… including the “I’m away” messages of the other auto-responders.
The auto-response avalanche converted the entire mail system into an Agent-Smith-like replication factory of away messages, as auto-responders incessantly informed not just every employee, but also each other, about employee status.
The email systems melted down. Everything went offline. A 30k-wide enterprise suddenly had no email, for about 24 hours.
That’s not the end of the story.
The IT staff busied themselves with mucking out the mailboxes from these millions of messages and deactivating the auto-responders. They brought the email system back online, and their first order of business was to send out an email explaining the cause of the problem, etc. And they addressed the notification email to email@example.com.
IT Fail #2: Before they sent their email message, they had disabled most of the auto-responders – but they missed at least one.
More specifically: they missed at least two.
7. How this person explained relative wealth.
I can answer this one. For some reason, I attract these people into my life. I don’t do anything super extraordinary. I am not famous. But I count many people with ultra high net wealth among my close friends and I have spent more time than even I can believe with 8 different billionaires.
This is not just meet-and-greet time. This is small group and even one-to-one time. I dated the daughter of one billionaire several decades ago. So I have gotten a peek into this life.
Let’s get one thing out of the way. There are gradations of rich. I see four major breaking points:
Worth $10mm-$30mm liquid (exclusive of value of primary residence). At this level, your needs are met. You can live very comfortably at a 4-star/5-star level. You can book a $2000 suite for a special occasion. You can fly first class internationally (sometimes). You have a very nice house, you can afford any healthcare you need, no emergency financial situation can destroy your life.
But you are not “rich” in the way that money doesn’t matter. You still have to be prudent and careful with most decisions unless you are on the upper end of this scale, where you truly are becoming insulated from personal financial stress. (Business stress exists at all levels). The banking world still doesn’t classify you as ‘ultra high net worth’
Net worth of $30mm-$100mm
At this point, you start playing with the big boys. You can fly private (though you normally charter a flight or own a jet fractionally through Net Jets or the like), You stay at 5 star hotels, you have multiple residences, you vacation in prime time (you rent a ski-in, ski-out villa in Aspen for Christmas week or go to Monaco for the grand Prix, or Canne for the Film Festival–for what its worth, rent on these places can run $5k-20k+ per NIGHT.), you run or have a controlling interest in a big company, you socialize with Congressmen, Senators and community leaders.
And you are an extremely well respected member in any community outside the world’s great cities. (In Beverly Hills, you are a minor player at $80 million. Unless you really throw your weight around and pay out the nose, you might not get a table at the city’s hottest restaurant). You can buy any car you want. You have personal assistants and are starting to have ‘people’ that others have to talk to to get to you. You can travel ANYWHERE in any style. You can buy pretty much anything that normal people think of as ‘rich people stuff’
I know its a wide range, but life doesn’t change much when you go from being worth $200mm-$900mm. At this point, you have a private jet, multiple residences with staff, elite cars at each residence, ownership or significant control over a business/entity that most of the public has heard of, if its your thing, you can socialize with movie stars/politicians/rock stars/corporate elite/aristocracy.
You might not get invite to every party, but you can go pretty much everywhere you want. You definitely have ‘people’ and staff. The world is full of ‘yes men’. Your ability to buy things becomes an art. One of your vacation home may be a 5 bedroom villa on acreage in Cabo, but that’s not impressive. You own a private island? Starting to be cool, but it depends on the island. You just had dinner with Senator X and Governor Y at your home? Cool. But your billionaire friend just had dinner with the President.
You have a new Ferrari? Your friend thinks their handling sucks and has a classic, only-five-exist-in-the-world-type of car. Did I mention women? Because at this level, they are all over the place. Every event, most parties. The polo club. Ultra-hot, world class, smart women. Power and money are an aphrodisiac and you have it in spades.
Anything thing you want from women at this point you will find a willing and beautiful partner. You might not emotionally connect, but d**n, she’s hot. One thing that gets rare at this level? friends and family that love you for who you are. They exist, but it is pretty d**n hard to know which ones they are.
I am going to exclude the $10b+ crowd, because they live a head-of-state life. But at $1b, life changes. You can buy anything. ANYTHING. In broad terms, this is what you can buy:
Access. You now can just ask your staff to contact anyone and you will get a call back. I have seen this first hand and it is mind-blowing the level of access and respect $1 billion+ gets you. In this case, I wanted to speak with a very well-known billionaire businessman (call him billionaire #1 for a project that interested billionaire #2.
I mentioned that it would be good to talk to billionaire #1 and B2 told me that he didn’t know him. But he called his assistant in. “Get me the xxxgolf club directory. Call B1 at home and tell him I want to talk to him.” Within 60 minutes, we had a call back. I was in B1’s home talking to him the next day. B2’s opinion commanded that kind of respect from a peer. Mind blowing.
The same is true with access to almost any Senator/Governor of a billionaires party (because in most cases, he is a significant donor). You meet on an occasional basis with heads-of-state and have real conversations with them. Which leads to
Influence. Yes, you can buy influence. As a billionaire, you have many ways to shape public policy and the public debate, and you use them. This is not in any evil way. the ones I know are passionate about ideas and are trying to do what they feel is best (just like you would). But they just had an hour with the Governor privately, or with the Secretary of Health, or the buy ads or lobbyists. The amount of influence you have can be heady.
Time. Yes, you can buy time. You literally never wait for anything. Travel? you fly private. Show up at the airport, sit down in the plane and the door closes and you take off in 2 minutes, and fly directly to where you are going. The plane waits for you. If you decide you want to leave at anytime, you drive (or take a helicopter to the airport and you leave. The pilots and stewardess are your employees. They do what you tell them to do. Dinner?
Your driver drops you off at the front door and waits a few blocks away for however long you need. The best table is waiting for you. The celebrity chef has prepared a meal for you (because you give him so much catering business he wants you VERY happy) and he ensures service is impeccable. Golf? Your club is so exclusive there is always a tee time and no wait. Going to the Superbowl or Grammy’s? You are whisked behind velvet ropes and escorted past any/all lines to the best seats in the house.
Experiences. Dream of it and you can have it. Want to play tennis with Pete Sampras (not him in particular, but that type of star)? Call his people. For a donation of $100k+ to his charity, you could probably play a match with him. Like Blink182? There is a price where they would simply come play at your private party.
Love art? Your people could arrange for the curator of the Louvre to show you around and even show you masterpieces that have not been exhibited in years. Love Nascar? How about racing the top driver on a closed track? Love science? Have a dinner with Bill Nye and Neil dGT.
Love politics? have Hillary Clinton come speak at a dinner for you and your friends, just pay her speaking fee. Your mind is the only limit to what is available. Because donations/fees get you anyone.
The same is true with stuff. You like pianos? How about owning one Mozart used to compose music on? This is the type of stuff you can do.
IMPACT. Your money can literally change the world and change lives. It is almost too much of a burden to think about. Clean water for a whole village forever? chump change. A dying child need a transplant? Hell…you could just build and fund a hospital and do it for a region.
RESPECT. The respect you get at this level is just over-the-top. You are THE MAN in almost every circle. Governors look up to you. Fortune 500 CEOs look up to you. Presidents and Kings look at you as a peer.
PERSPECTIVE. The wealthiest person I have spent time with makes about $400mm/year. i couldn’t get my mind around that until I did this: OK–let’s compare it with someone who makes $40,000/year. It is 10,000x more. Now let’s look at prices the way he might.
A new Lambo–$235,000 becaome $23.50. First class ticket internationally? $10,000 becomes $1. A full time executive level helper? $8,000/month becomes $0.80/month. A $10mm piece of art you love? $1000. Expensive, so you have to plan a bit. A suite at the best hotel in NYC $10,000/night is $1/night. A $50million home in the Hamptons? $5,000. There is literally nothing you can’t buy except.
Love. Sorry to sound so trite, but it is nearly impossible to have a normal emotional relationship at this level. It is hard to sacrifice for another person when you are never asked to sacrifice ANYTHING. Money can solve all problems for someone, so you offer it, because there is so much else to do. Your time is SOOOO valuable that you ration it. And that makes you lose connections with people.
Anyway, that is a really long answer, but I have a very unique perspective because I have seen behind the curtain of the great and mighty OZ. just wanted to share.
8. How poop socks almost ruined a relationship.
TL;DR: Found my gym socks in the garbage covered in poop. Asked girlfriend about it. She started yelling at me and crying and left.
I don’t even know where to start with this. I’m dumbfounded. She just stormed out the house and I’m sitting on the bed asking myself A LOT of questions.
I live a pretty normal life, and I thought so did my girlfriend. We’ve been together for a few months and after things got serious, we moved in together. We started sharing a lot of the household responsibilities, but the one thing she was adamant on doing was the laundry.
She would come home and find me in the bedroom getting the laundry together and would quickly ask me to go do something else. I’d come back to finish the laundry and she would have already started it. I always thought it was sweet and never her job to do it alone, but hey, if it makes her happy to do it all the time, I wouldn’t stop her.
This is where it takes a turn for the weird. I keep all my socks and underwear in the bottom drawer of my dresser. I also go to the gym frequently, so I always keep a good supply of clean gym socks ready to go. I never kept count, but I know by just a visual glance I several pairs. This morning when I went to grab a fresh pair to pack for the gym, I noticed there were several dress socks, but no gym socks. Again, not weird, they must have been in the laundry.
I went to check the laundry basket and it was empty, so I checked the washing machine and dryer. Both were empty. I couldn’t figure out where all of my gym socks had gone. So, I did the very natural thing of asking my girlfriend what had happened to them. After all, she is the one who does the laundry all the time. She went silent, turned red and ran out of the room.
When I went after her to see if she was okay she wouldn’t talk to me. I told her I wasn’t mad, I was just looking for my socks. She kinda mumbled “I’ll don’t know.” I still wasn’t mad, of course, but I was super confused. Socks just don’t disappear. So I asked her again, even laughed about it and she just looked at me and got mad and said “I’ll buy you new ones!”
The first thought that went through my head was she had somehow managed to destroy my socks while washing them. I thought the sight of that was actually pretty funny, so I joked with her about ruining my socks. Wrong. Thing. To. Say. She started immediately crying. Like, full on sobbing. At this point I don’t care about the socks anymore, I want to know what’s wrong with my girlfriend. I sat down next to her on the bed and put my arm around her and asked her of she was okay.
She just kept saying she was sorry and that she would buy me new socks. I tried assuring her again it was okay. Even went so far as to say I would buy new socks and she didn’t have to. I sat with her for a few minutes trying to calm her down and eventually had to get ready for work. I told her loved her and got my things together to leave for the day.
On my way out I grabbed the garbage to take outside. When I got outside I lifted the lid off the garbage can and I noticed a small plastic bag sitting on top of the garbage already in there. I could see through the bag (kind of the semi see through ones) there were socks in the bag.
Since I was sure she had somehow managed to ruin the socks washing them, I wanted to see for myself. I opened the bag and immediately regretted my choice. There, inside the bag, were several pairs of my gym socks covered in what looked like poop. As soon as the smell hit me I knew it WAS POOP.
We don’t own any pets.
We don’t have any kids.
WHOSE POOP WAS ON MY SOCKS?
Work could wait. I couldn’t go the rest of the day wondering why my gym socks were covered in poop and inside a plastic bag in the garbage can. I grabbed the bag and walked back inside. As soon as my girlfriend saw the bag she flipped out and started yelling at me. She said I shouldn’t be going through the garbage and that I was disgusting for bringing it back into the house.
I asked her to calm down and that I just wanted an answer as to why there was poop on my socks. I wasn’t blaming her of anything, but she started accusing me of blaming her. That’s when it clicked. I don’t know what it was that lead me to ask this, but everything leading up to this moment had just been so crazy. I asked her “Is this your poop?” She started sobbing again and ran out of the house. I didn’t go after her this time.
So, now I am sitting on my bed with a bag a poopy socks on the floor and a lot of questions in my head. The only conclusion is that she used them after going to the bathroom. Which that alone has its own set of questions above everything else. I sent her text asking her to come back.
She hasn’t responded yet. I don’t even know what I’m going to say when (IF) she gets back.
9. That time someone posted in the fantasy football subreddit asking for relationship advice.
First time asking for relationship advice online, so bear with me.
I have been with my gf for about 5 years. We both still live at home with parents while going to college. Over 5 years, we have had very happy moments, but also some bad moments.
One thing about her that has always driven me nuts is that she is ALWAYS late to everything. I mean like a daily thing. If we planned to see friends at 3pm, she wont be ready till 6pm.
It also extends to doing things on time. For example, this is the 3rd year in a row she did not give me a gift for on my bday, saying she has it ready but she’ll give it to me later. Well, its been about 2 months since. Another example is this past Saturday, we we’re supposed to dress up for Halloween and meet friends for a night out at 5pm, yet she wasn’t ready until 9pm, at which time my friends were all long gone.
I realize some people just make a habit of being late, but it’s been 5 years and I am not joking when I say this happens every other time we see each other. The worst part for me is that she will always have a random excuse and won’t admit fault at being late. She’ll blame traffic, her parents, got an important phone call, etc.
This has really gotten on my nerves and we’ve argued about this several times before. Before I met her, I was sort of a perfectionist and would usually be on time to mostly everything, but ever since I met her I have become more and more like her. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t even want to make plans with her because I just get lazy at the thought of her.
She is a very caring, nice girl and I do love her, but I am at a point where I’ve basically had enough of this. On 3 seperate occasions, I’ve been really close to breaking up with her over this before but she has made false promises of changing this behavior.
Am I overreacting or is this a legitimate reason to break up?
tl:dr Over past 5 years gf has constantly been late and seems to always make excuses.
Should we break up over this?
10. A very goofy smile.
I have one moment that stands out above all the rest. I was waiting for someone to ask me this question. It’s the reason I left a good job as a VIP Tourguide and moved to the Character Department.
I was working City Hall one day when two guests came in with two little girls. One was in a wheel chair and the other one looked like she had just seen de**h. Both were cut and bruised and the one in the wheelchair had her arm in a cast. The two women were actually nurses from a hospital and were asking for a refund on the girl’s tickets, something we avoided doing at all costs.
When I asked why they told me the story. The two girls were with their mom and dad at Epcot and on the way home they got into a horrible car accident. The mother was beheaded right in front of them. The father eventually d**d too but the two girls didn’t know that yet. They were from overseas and had no money and no contact information for anyone they knew. They were bringing the tickets back to get the girls some much needed money to help get them back home. My heart absolutely sunk.
If you had seen these girls you’d know why. They were truly traumatized. I refunded their tickets and got permission to be their private tour guide for the rest of the day (which they were not expecting). I walked them to the VIP viewing area for the parade which was as far as I could walk them in the costume we used to wear at City Hall. I had to leave them there while I put on my VIP costume. On the way down I pulled out every kid joke I could think of. I was a REALLY good tour guide (I helped write part of it) and I knew how to make kids smile. Nothing worked. These girls were too far gone for that.
I left them at the bridge to go change, walked backstage and bawled my eyes out. I just had never seen something so horrible. I was truly affected and it was a terrible feeling of powerlessness not being able to fix the situation. When I came back I brought them to get ice-cream, take them on rides and stuff but they never smiled, not once. The nurses were loving it and were trying to get them into it but it just wasn’t working.
We went back to the bridge to watch the parade. It was there that I honestly saw true magic. Real magic, not bulls**t. I had called the parade department to let them know what was going on and set up a private meet and greet after the parade. As the parade was coming around Liberty Square I told the girls that I had called Mickey and told him all about them. I told them that Mickey asked to meet them after the parade.
The little girl in the wheelchair smiled.
“Really?” she asked. My heart skipped. “Yes, really! He told me to tell you to look out for him in the parade and to follow the float back to City Hall.”
The other girl smiled.
“You mean right now?” she asked.
It had worked. They were talking. Not laughing, but talking. It was the first time I had heard them speak. Every single parade performer came up to them on the bridge and told them to look out for Mickey. Every one of them told them that. When Mickey’s float came up Mickey (who was attached to a pole at the top of the float) managed to turn her body sideways, look down at the girls and point towards Main Street. That was all it took.
The girls were excited now. They had forgotten about d**th. They were lost in a magical world and I couldn’t believe I was watching it unfold in front of my eyes. We followed that float all the way back to City Hall, singing “Mickey Mania” the whole way. Back then, City Hall used to have a VIP lounge behind the desk that was for privacy during difficult situations or to host celebrities. I took them in and showed them the book where all of the autographs were. They were eating it up.
The girl who was Mickey that day got down off her float and without even taking her head off walked up to me backstage and said “Let’s go.” I walked in with Mickey behind me so I got to see the exact moment the girls met their new friend. They got shy but Mickey was in control now. Those girls met the REAL Mickey Mouse that day.
Every single parade character stayed dressed to meet those girls. One by one they’d come in and play a bit then leave. We were in that lounge for over an hour. Mickey stayed in costume the entire time (which is hard to do after a parade). When Mickey finally said goodbye I had two excited girls on my hands that couldn’t stop smiling. They talked and talked and talked.
We had a wonderful day after that but what I remember most is when we walked by the rose garden, the older one said “Oh, my mommy loves roses! I mean…” and she stopped. I held out my hand and walked her to the gate, picked her up and put her on the other side and said “Pick one!” She looked happy as she picked out her favorite rose.
She didn’t say anything more and she didn’t need to. I said goodbye to the wonderful nurses and the wonderful girls then walked backstage behind the train station. This time I didn’t cry. It felt so good to be a part of that.
I realized that as much as I liked helping guests at City Hall, the true magic of Disney was in the character department. I auditioned, transferred and never looked back. Thanks for letting me relive this. It was a special day for me.
11. This priceless advice from an ex-insurance claim adjuster.
Hey OP… I used to be the guy who worked for insurance companies, and determined the value of every little thing in your house. The guy who would go head-to-head with those fire-truck-chasing professional loss adjusters. I may be able to help you not get screwed when filing your claim.
Our goal was to use the information you provided, and give the lowest d**n value we can possibly justify for your item.
For instance, if all you say was “toaster” — we would come up with a cheap-as-f**k $4.88 toaster from Walmart, meant to toast one side of one piece of bread at a time. And we would do that for every thing you have ever owned. We had private master lists of the most commonly used descriptions, and what the cheapest viable replacements were. We also had wholesale pricing on almost everything out there, so really scored cheap prices to quote. To further that example:
If you said “toaster – $25” , we would have to be within -20% of that… so, we would find something that’s pretty much d**d-on $20.01.
If you said “toaster- $200” , we’d kick it back and say NEED MORE INFO, because that’s a ridiculous price for a toaster (with no other information given.)
If you said “toaster, from Walmart” , you’re getting that $4.88 one.
If you said “toaster, from Macys” , you’d be more likely to get a $25-35 one.
If you said “toaster”, and all your other kitchen appliances were Jenn Air / Kitchenaid / etc., you would probably get a matching one.
If you said “Proctor Silex 42888 2-Slice Toaster from Wamart, $9”, you just got yourself $9.
If you said “High-end Toaster, Stainless Steel, Blue glowing power button” … you might get $35-50 instead.
We had to match all features that were listed.
I’m not telling you to lie on your claim. Not at all. That would be illegal, and could cause much bigger issues (i.e., invalidating the entire claim). But on the flip side, it’s not always advantageous to tell the whole truth every time. Pay attention to those last two examples.
I remember one specific customer… he had some old, piece of s**t projector (from mid-late 90s) that could stream a equally piece of s**t consumer camcorder.
Worth like $5 at a scrap yard. It had some oddball f**king resolution it could record at, though — and the guy strongly insisted that we replace with “Like Kind And Quality” (trigger words). Ended up being a $65k replacement, because the only camera on the market happened to be a high-end professional video camera (as in, for shooting actual movies). $65-goddam-thousand-dollars because he knew that loophole, and researched his s**t.
Remember to list f**king every — even the most mundane f**king bulls**t you can think of. For example, if I was writing up the shower in my bathroom:
- Designer Shower Curtain – $35
- Matching Shower Curtain Liner for Designer Shower Curtain – $15
- Shower Curtain Rings x20 – $15
- Stainless Steel Soap Dispenser for Shower – $35
- Natural Sponge Loofah – from Whole Foods – $15
- Natural Sponge Loofah for Back – from Whole Foods – $19
- Holder for Loofahs – $20
- Bars of soap – from Lush – $12 each (qty: 4)
- Bath bomb – from Lush – $12
- High end shampoo – from salon – $40
- High end conditioner – from salon – $40
- Refining pore mask – from salon – $55
I could probably keep thinking, and bring it up to about $400 for the contents of my shower. Nothing there is “unreasonable” , nothing there is clearly out of place, nothing seems obviously fake.
The prices are a little on the high-end, but the reality is, some people have expensive s**t — it won’t actually get questioned. No claims adjuster is going to bother nitpicking over the cost of f**king Lush bath bombs, when there is a 20,000 item file to go through. The adjuster has other s**t to do, too.
Most people writing claims for a total loss wouldn’t even bother with the shower (it’s just some used soap and sponges..) — and those people would be losing out on $400.
Some things require documentation & ages. If you say “tv – $2,000″ — you’re getting a 32” LCD, unless you can provide it was from the last year or two w/ receipts. Hopefully you have a good paper trail from credit/debit card expenditure / product registrations / etc.
If you’re missing paper trails for things that were legitimately expensive — go through every photo you can find that was taken in your house. Any parties you may have thrown, and guests put pics up on Facebook. Maybe an Imgur photo of your cat, hiding under a coffee table you think you purchased from Restoration Hardware. Like… seriously… come up with any evidence you possibly can, for anything that could possibly be deemed expensive.
The fire-truck chasing loss adjusters are evil sons of b**ches, but, they actually do provide some value. You will definitely get more money, even if they take a cut. But all they’re really doing, is just nitpicking the ever-living-s**t out of everything you possibly owned, and writing them all up “creatively” for the insurance company to process.
Sometimes people would come back to us with “updated* claims. They tried it on their own, and listed stuff like “toaster”, “microwave”, “tv” .. and weren’t happy with what they got back. So they hired a fire-truck chaser, and re-submitted with “more information.” I have absolutely seen claims go from under $7k calculated, to over $100k calculated. (It’s amazing what can happen when people suddenly “remember” their entire wardrobe came from Nordstrom.)
I don’t know if I’m the same person now, but thanks?
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