I was reading a magazine at the hair salon last month and it reviewed a whole bunch of self-help “breakup” books.

Some of the books were supposed to “heal your broken heart in 30 days” (money back guaranteed!!!) while others sternly broke the news that, “It’s not him, it’s YOU.”


The magazine critiqued each book on its premise and merits and then pulled a few enlightening sentences from each one: “Let go of your past. Live in the moment!” Or a more poignant, “Flush your ex down the toilet and move on.”

One sentence in particular stood out to me: “Whatever happens, remain calm. Reaction with retaliation shows an out-of-control person.”

I read that sentence five times.

While true, it’s probably the hardest piece of advice to follow, since most people ABSOLUTELY react with retaliation when they go through a breakup.

Retaliation feels really good when you feel wronged.
And one could argue that most out-of-control people are ones that recently broke up with someone.

“Reaction with retaliation” could be classified as talking MAD SHIT about your ex to their BEST FRIENDS (or, uh, family members) when you see them at a bar, or bringing someone new to your ex’s known hangout spot or throwing all their things they left at your apartment into the garbage after lighting them on fire.

Some people might even write a Toolbag Tuesday blog post as retaliation.
Um, moving on.

“Reaction with retaliation” can be a small gesture, like the guy who mailed me back my college graduation invitation when we broke up with no note, just the return address as: “that guy.”

Others cause property damage by slashing tires. Or putting a dead baby shark under a house. (Clearly an out-of-control person.)

But, the story I heard yesterday wins as the most ridiculous “reaction with retaliation” story ever.
And all the crazy was even broadcast on Facebook (a platform for many out-of-control people.)

Paul and Jaime were married and seemingly happy. So happy, in fact, that they went on a vacation to Greece together. That kind of time and money is a commitment!!
18 hours on a plane together!!??
(I hope they brought headphones. And snacks.)

They arrived in Greece and they updated their Facebook pages so all their office cube friends could be jealous of them playing on stone streets, touring crumbling castles, eating fried cheese and drinking ouzo.

But vacation wasn’t so fun for Paul and Jamie, although it did provide entertainment to all their Facebook friends who logged on and saw a “mobile upload” picture of Paul the next day, without a shirt on, showing off a bloody tattoo he had just gotten on his chest.
In Greek letters.

Paul didn’t look happy in the photo. He looked mad. And the blood and scabs from the new ink was gross.

The tattoo covered his entire chest, from pectoral to pectoral, and the lettering and his facial expression resembled that of a gang member.

Facebook friends were confused. What’s with the tattoo and what does it say? It was too long to be fraternity letters.

And where was Jaime? A quick look on Jaime’s page….

“Jamie is no longer listed as being in a relationship with Paul.”


They broke up in Greece?? While on vacation???

I figured something terrible must have happened, because people are usually on their best behavior on vacation. I can’t imagine the breakup was pre-meditated.

(No one plans to dump someone at Disney World, for example.)

But, shit happens. People break up all the time, no matter what hemisphere they’re in.

The trick, no matter what happens, is to remain calm. A reaction with retaliation shows an out-of-control person.

Right Paul?


It didn’t take long for someone more worldly than me to decipher his chest tattoo. It was one sentence:

“Nothing lasts forever.”

…in Greek. WOW

You know what DOES last forever? Tattoos.
And people remembering you as an out of control person.

No more ouzo for him.


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