A Change Is Better Than Arrest

Are you familiar with that scene in the movie The Shining in which Jack Nicholson’s character (who’s coincidentally also named Jack, which probably helped the actor feel at home in the part that much more, considering how often he plays himself and, sad to say, has become a parody of himself, not that there’s anything wrong with that–just ask Elvis, Humphrey Bogart, Stephen Colbert, etc.) gets upset at Shelley Duvall’s character for interrupting him while he’s writing?

Granted, the only thing he’s written, and more than a few times, is the line “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” but heck, at least he’s trying!

Well, I have to admit that I can identify rather strongly with his annoyance with his wife, not that I’ve ever threatened to bash the head of mine in with a baseball bat as he does, clearly in a most grumpy frame of mind (the hotel they’re overseeing is, after all, possessed, and so is he).  In case you think I’m trying to congratulate myself for being preternaturally chivalrous or un-misogynistic, let me stop you by saying that I don’t own a baseball bat (or a golf club, which Jack found handy in dispatching a fellow motorist’s windshield during a road rage incident in L. A. twenty years ago or so, apparently because he was distraught over the death of his old friend John Huston, even though that admittedly talented director came across to some of us who didn’t know him personally as a remarkably crusty old bastard).

Before you accuse me of advocating uxoricide, allow me to say that I do love my wife enough not to murder her in cold blood, although she sometimes seems to want me to do just that.  She’s also far more threatening than Shelley Duvall, and more unsympathetic when she’s on the warpath (Ms. Duvall has never shown that side, at least not in any of the movies she’s been in that I’ve seen), and were I to bungle the job, I’d no doubt end up either hospitalized, genitally eviscerated, crucified to the side of a bus, buried alive, or all of the above.

That’s true love.  

Abject fear is a funny basis for a marriage.  But it’s true enough that one of the things that led me to end up with her was an act of emotional blackmail she committed years ago, which should have sent me running the other way, and variations on the same theme have made it difficult for me to extricate myself from the dismal swamp of wedlock, despite the possibility for both of us to find less complicated love elsewhere.

What motivated me to tell you all this was the discovery that, apart from a belief I had that I had to get up and write at four or five in the morning when Jina’s asleep, hence guaranteeing that I wouldn’t be interrupted by her frenetic presence, it’s sometimes an option to break out the tap-dancing fingers at other times of day, as long as she’s not around.  

I knew that goddamned church had to be good for something.  (That’s where she is now, even though it’s Monday night.  God’s always on call, so so is she.)

Meanwhile, I have to follow through with my ambition to get the hell out of the marriage, preferably without having to leave Korea in the process, despite the increasing unbreathability of the air here in Seoul.  As friends and loved ones have pointed out, I’m not doing her any favors by sticking it out with her, considering that the ultimatum staring me in the face right now is to have a baby together that will be raised to be as pathologically devout in its worship of Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit as his or her mother–in other words, to raise the roof, or at least blow the top of my head off as I lose my mind as it pops out like a Jack-in-the-Pandora’s-box.

Remember what Sting said:  “If you love somebody, set them free.”

Besides, if I resorted to the equivalent of a Nicholsonian shattering of my wife’s windshield (excepting that she doesn’t have a car–perish the thought of her behind the wheel of a speeding, death-seeking vehicle), I doubt I’d be so fortunate as to have the whole thing covered up instantly with a televised tribute to my illustrious acting career, surrounded by such swell and sympathetic Hollywood friends in a blatant schmooze-fest.

Instead I’d probably be sent to some North Korean prison with President Park Geunhye’s approval, and dribbled like a basketball up and down the court by Dennis Rodman while Kim Jongeun guffawed over barbecued duck and buckets of beer, cheering on his hero and standing up to applaud as I got stuck for the umpteenth time in the basket, my spine crushed to little bony balls of sand.

Marriage:  it’s not just a joke–it’s an adventure.


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