Baloney sandwich


I’ve always been a moody bastard. Ask my brother. Real son-of-a-bitch, my brother. Still, he can confirm some basics. I have always been a moody bastard.

My first wife and I married when we were 17. Knew fuck-all about anything. Here’s a transcript of our approach to birth control, as I remember it 20 years later:

“How about the sandwich method?” she says.

“Sandwich method?” I say.

“Yes,” she says.

“Okay,” I say. Being basically simple about such things at the time.

A baby and a half later, turns out she meant the “rhythm method,” which we tried next and also didn’t work.

“What did you mean, the sandwich method?” I asked her late one night or early one morning between babies. “Something about baloney, pressed beef?”

“Well, I couldn’t find anything about it at the library. Baloney, I guess,” she said. She was wearing a crocheted maternity shawl in a bilious green that made her look, with her sallow skin, like a watermelon about to burst.

And the babies kept coming, regular as sandwiches, and we kept living in our little one room apartment until we outgrew it and moved back in with my parents, into their basement with the wet bar, laundry room, pantry and two small bedrooms. It was dark and prone to mold. Like some sandwiches.

The rhythm method was more fun with all that excitement about thermometers and pulling out; produced a couple more babies and a divorce. Eileen moved in with her parents and went to work for her father, who was more of a man than I was ever going to be, according to her mother, or maybe that was her, I don’t know. Four children and another on the way even as the door didn’t hit me on my way out and me not even starting to go bald. Far from it, in fact.

Bad news to be in your prime and divorced already. Should have taken up singing. Nice blonde woman, I remember her, Patricia or Cynthia something, at the divorce group, said that.

“If you feel like singing, sing. It’s good for your spleen.” She said this sincerely, like thinking about my spleen was going to make my life better, more meaningful. 

Meantime, I went out for drinks with her friend Angie, who wasn’t trying to heal my spleen but who gave me dance lessons, on the dance floor and on the sofa, and that gave me my beautiful Audrey. I never did live with Angie or Audrey, gave that one up in papers that I remember signing. Felt like blackmail.

I can fly a little. Always been able to fly a little. Learned how from my first girl, in high school. She taught me how to dance, too. Once time, we left the dance early and climbed up on the roof of the gym, in our polished shoes and corsages. I was on top of the world. She was a great dancer, that girl.

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