“The literary equivalent of a summer night, a good friend and a gin-and-tonic: Shannon is a deft writer; a natural storyteller with a wicked turn of phrase and frighteningly specific memory...”

Opt-in to the Shannon Colleary Communiqué to have both the Funny & the Wise delivered to your inbox weekly!

When I Tried to Kill my Ex With a No. 2 Pencil

He walked in the door of our house at 1 a.m. as if it were only 6 p.m. and he didn’t reek of Other Women.

I sat on the couch pretending to watch the Late, Late, Late Show, as if I hadn’t been waiting up for him, wondering how many women he’d managed to nail in the seven hour interim between work and home.

He didn’t greet me, just stopped at his desk and began riffling through afternoon mail.

A cool, calm voice in my head said, don’t confront him, you’re living together now, do you really want to rock the boat? You’re four years in, that’s a big time investment for a 31-year-old woman to throw away when you don’t know if there’s someone better out there that you’ll be able to meet and marry before your ovaries implode. 

So I pretended casual nonchalance, stretching and yawning, as if I stayed up late to see what Pauly Shore’s latest, sophomoric, sex-fueled debacle would be.

“Hey honey,” I said, modulating my tone so my quarry wouldn’t sense my prey drive.

“Hey,” he replied, raptly focused on a new Men’s Health magazine.

To this day I have no idea why that mono-syllabic reply instantaneously sent me into white hot, cannonball, psychosis.

Maybe that “hey” said everything that needed to be said about our relationship. That it was small, inconclusive, off-handed, non-committal and something horses should eat.

Or maybe, over the course of four years, there had simply been too many unexplained late nights when his cell phone ran out of juice and I had finally run out of patience.

healthy relationship

I looked for something, anything to hurl at him.

Where are andirons and crystal paper weights when you need them? Why didn’t I own Nunchucks I could keep handily tucked in the g-string I hated, but wore in order to please him?

There was nothing, absolutely noth …

Wait a minute!

There was a freshly sharpened No. 2 pencil sitting right there on the coffee table. I’d been using it to fill in a crossword puzzle between bouts of crying, calling his cell again, crying, calling his cell again. Without a second thought I grabbed that pencil.

“Hey, you! Asshat!” I cried like one of the Sharks calling out one of the Jetts.

He looked up from his perusal of our phone bill just in time to see me launch that pencil like International Knife-Throwing Hall of Famer, Douglas “Chief Thundercloud” Waldorf, end over end, right at his big, fat, cheating, lazy, self-satisfied, bastard face.

The sharpened tip pierced the flesh two centimeters below his right eye.

I felt a brief flush of satisfaction then startled myself further by combusting into a screaming tirade, while he just stood there dumbly smirking, because now the problem wasn’t him coming home at 1 a.m. Suddenly the problem was me, the raving lunatic.

That cool, calm voice that spoke to me earlier, who we’ll call Rational Shannon, stepped outside of my body and watched the scene.

Rational Shannon just kind of shook her head and spoke to Crazy Shannon.

“You realize that by behaving this way you’re giving this Asshat justifications for behaving like an Asshat. Because right now you sound exactly like our Grandma Ann.”

(Grandma Ann was married to my grandfather, an inveterate gambler at the Elk’s Lodge, which drove her into shrewish conniption-fits throughout their entire unhappy marriage.)

“Do you really want to be like Grandma Ann and die at sixty from a heart attack because your heart is always clenched like a fist?” Rational Shannon asked me.

In that moment I kind of fucking hated that smug little bitch, Rational Shannon.

It was just such a relief to let Crazy Shannon run free, unfettered in the perilous dysfunction of a relationship that was slowly but surely taking her down. All the way down to Chinatown.

My Asshat used the Pencil Incident as an excuse to come home whenever he damn-well pleased, because who wants to come home to a screaming harpy acting like … and I quote … “white trash?”

It came to pass that I still managed to spend one final year with the Asshat until I realized that his crazy-making behavior made me seem to be crazier than him.

You may ask why a bright, intelligent woman such as myself could fall prey to such Asshattery. This is my excuse.

But the good news is that I wanted children, who would be raised in a stable home by two parents who loved each other deeply … I wanted that so badly that I did what I had to do to change everything!

Like George Costanza I had to think what I would normally do, and then do the opposite to finally be able to have a healthy relationship.

What’s the craziest thing you did in your Asshataholic relationship?

And If your Asshat makes you crazier than him/her be sure to Sign Up for my free wisdom bites below.

xoxo You are not alone.




Tags assigned to this article:
Asshat Recovery Programhealthy relationship

10 comments

Write a comment
  1. JuneBug
    JuneBug 3 October, 2014, 14:51

    You are indeed, “telling it like it is.” Hope it does, indeed, help some of us, who need to take a long look at our self worth! Bless you, for the effort!

    Reply this comment
  2. Brooke
    Brooke 3 October, 2014, 19:39

    I hurled a roll of sweet tarts at an ex….. but I had bad aim, it hit the wall lol

    Reply this comment
  3. Lisha Fink
    Lisha Fink 3 October, 2014, 19:49

    I threw a phone once. But he totally deserved it.

    Reply this comment
  4. Jaime
    Jaime 4 October, 2014, 09:47

    “It came to pass that I still managed to spend one final year with the Asshat until I realized that his crazy-making behavior made me seem to be crazier than him.”
    You raise a good point – perhaps one of the signs that you’re dating an asshat is that you have become this unrecognizable harpy. Trying to rationalize asshatery into acceptable behavior to maintain a relationship is impossible and causes women to contort themselves into someone they don’t recognize. That rage you felt was you telling yourself “This behavior is not acceptable” and you couldn’t contain it anymore.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 4 October, 2014, 18:50

      Jaime that’s exactly right. I kept swallowing my anger in order to stay with this man and it ultimately erupted volcanically. I’m not perfect in my happy marriage. I can certainly nag at times and even get angry. The difference is that I know the man I’m with loves and respects me and wants to get to the bottom of whatever troubles me so we can fix it. And I hope I do the same for him.

      Reply this comment
  5. BeverlyHillsMom
    BeverlyHillsMom 12 October, 2014, 00:00

    I flung a Sony cube clock radio by the cord David and Goliath style at my Asshat. I was trying to get him out of my life once and for all. It worked.

    Reply this comment

Write a Comment

Your e-mail address will not be published.
Required fields are marked*