Surprise at the Blockbuster

A former “student” of mine from when I taught Sunday school to 14- and 15-year-olds bumped into me at Blockbuster this evening. (She’s married now, with an toddler). She was carrying a Blockbuster form of some sort, and I asked if she was applying for work.

“No, I already HAVE a job” she laughed. “This is an application for membership.”

Okay, it’s kind of weird for someone who has lived in the area for pretty much her whole life to not already have one of these. So I asked “You’re just now getting one?”

“Well, my parents had one, but after they got divorced–” (at this point my brain tuned out everything else she said while I sorted through that casual revelation. Had I heard correctly?”)

A moment’s silence, while I steeled myself to ask an embarrasing question.

“When did your parents get divorced?”

I won’t go into details, because I didn’t get many. It was this year, though, and to be honest, I had NO IDEA. I wondered why I hadn’t seen her father at Church much, but that’s about it.

And I guess that’s the whole point. Her father used to be quite the fixture in Church. I’d recieved several blessings under his hands, and he was what you might call a “pillar of the community,” or at least of the neighborhood. I’m anxious to know what happened, because I really, really, REALLY don’t want anything like that happening to me and Sandra.

I know, I know. Divorce doesn’t “happen.” It’s something you decide to do. It’s a destination on a path you choose, or at the very least it’s a waystation. But how do you know you’re on that path?

In other, sort-of-related news, it turns out the husband of the famously-missing Salt Lake woman, Lori Hacking, was even less honest and upstanding than we believed him to be. Apparently during the time when he’d said he was in school, he was loitering at the local convenience store satisfying a tobacco addiction. This may not seem like THAT big a deal, except that Mormons with tobacco addictions sort of stand out… he went to quite a bit of trouble to hide his behavior, and it seems he successfully hid it from his wife.

I said “sort-of-related” news. I guess it’s related in that when you choose a particular path, you also choose the destination. Whether or not he did violence to his wife, the discovery of his lies and his subsequent incarceration at a mental institution certainly qualify as all-but-inevitable waystations on the path he chose.


24 thoughts on “Surprise at the Blockbuster”

  1. One thing I’ve read a lot is that people who don’t consider divorce an option are less likely to do it.

    So, I would banish the word from your vocabulary. 🙂

    (I’ve been reading Shlock for a long time now, and love it, and I’m so happy to hear your grandmother is doing well.)

  2. Somehow, I’m having a hard time seeing you and Sandra parting ways, at least in a divorce sort of situation. You two seem so compatible, at least online, even after ten years… and you two respect one another to keep things that way, which is probably one key to your success as a married couple.

    In the other news… the whole ‘pack of lies’ thing with Mr. Hacking is why I posted the link in Sandra’s journal. I mean, he not only lied about college, but he even went so far as to go to the bar and smoke? It doesn’t sound like he was very repentant of that, or of anything in particular, given that this wsn’t a one-time issue (the lies, the smoking, etc), but that it was a habit. I know you’ve said the Mormon church is fairly big on forgiveness… but he didn’t seem at all apologetic about his behavior.

    It should be noted that she apparently did catch him out on several lies in the past, according to the news – but it also seems she never acted on them. More’s the pity.

    1. You two seem so compatible, at least online, even after ten years…
      That’s what gets to me. This particular couple seemed really compatible, and had been married for more than TWENTY years. The only thing I can think of is that something “came up,” like an affair, or financial misdealings, or something along those lines. And that’s difficult for me to imagine with these two. Like I said, they’re “pillars of the community.”


      1. My experience tells me that more divorces are caused by an accumulation of “little” things than by one “big” thing. Being pillars of the community also applies pressure to put on a good show. I’m guessing that there were lots of little things we never knew about which undermined and destroyed the marriage.

        Pay attention to the little things. When you look back you might discover they were the big things.

      2. You feel divorce coming…

        Growing up in a Baptist church I saw many “pillars of the community” suddenly collapse unexpectedly. Everyone was always surprised, but it usually came out that there had been hidden problems long before the final issue ever came into being.

        Divorce seems to usually be like that. Stress, frustration, and anger caused by your partner are things that might give you pause, but if they’re not showing up frequently, or they’re not very strong, you probably don’t have anything to worry about on your end.

        The “on your end” is the key thing and one of the reasons (I believe) communication is so important in a marriage. While you don’t want to argue over every niggling detail it’s your job in a marriage to let your wife/husband know when something is bothering you and to try to figure out something positive to do about it. I think a great number of marriages fail right there because people simply don’t try to work together on what problems do arise.

        If frustration, stress, and anger aren’t words you think apply to your marriage, then you’re probably in pretty good shape. Don’t worry unnecessarily, but maybe double check with your wife to make sure everything is going as well as you think it is.

        If your net personalities are any kind of indication of your RL personalities. I’m sure you’re both fine.


        1. Marital Conflict

          When I’m mad at Howard over something. I sleep on it. More often than not the next day there isn’t a problem. If there is still a problem, then I find a time when neither of us is actively mad and we discuss it. Most of the time we reach a resolution. There are a few issues which we have to revisit frequently (IE: My kitchen habits, I don’t clean up as consistently as I should).

          Giving your partner the benefit of the doubt is an extremely valuable marital skill.

          Oh, and if there is something you are afraid to tell your spouse, you need to sit down and discuss it ASAP. If you are afraid OF your spouse, that’s a different issue and you need outside help ASAP.

          1. Re: Marital Conflict

            *chuckle* Thanks for clarifying what I was saying. I didn’t mean that you should (always) talk about a problem RIGHT THEN, because that can just lead to pointless fighting, but if it’s something that really does matter to you, don’t keep it bottled up, because (in my experience) it never, never, works.

            And yeah, if fear of your spouse is involved, then there are bigger issues that need to be addressed immediately.


  3. First off, as the kid of divorced parents who saw it coming LONG before the “Son, your father an I have something we need to tell you” talk, I’ll go on record as saying I’m more likely to become the first Orthedox Jewish Pope (I’m Lutheran, btw) than you and Sandra have of getting divorced…

    Second… Dude, the man’s NAME is “Hacking”…

    That’s like a guy known for the 50m forward crawl having the last name “Swimmer”…

    It’s like a “Well, duh… makes sense…”

          1. I heard that the family of Hacking said that there was no longer a need for volunteers, given information from her husband.

            I’m just wondering if this is the latest lie on top of the rest of the pack. “She didn’t wake me up/I’m in Medical School, so we have to move/I graduated University/No, I don’t smoke/Whatever Lori caught me doing to call me a liar”, etc.

          2. I know little to nothing about this case, but I think the adage of the simplest explanation being the correct one (is that “Occam’s Razor?”) is probably accurate here, as well as the law enforcement statement that when a wife disappears/is killed mysteriously, it’s generally her husband who’s to blame.
            I saw the ABC pic of Lori Hacking; she was beautiful, and now, she’s dead. We all die, sooner or later, but no one should be cut off early without reason.

  4. It’ll be 19 years next Tuesday…

    Over the years there have been times when my husband and I discussed divorce, but it never went past that discussion because what we always discover DURING the discussion is how much we both believe in marriage itself and want our daughter to have a traditional two parent family.

    I’m not saying that that’s right for everyone or necessarily best for every child… I’m just saying that more than whatever our particular stress with each other is right then, it is what WE want. And honestly, after all we’ve been through, I don’t think there’s anything that could change that.

    That faith in the marriage frees us up to explore all sorts of other feelings and friendships and although I’m tempted like ALL the time, so far I haven’t gone there– but it’s no longer because I fear retribution from my husband– it’s my own heart I’d be breaking.

    So I guess what I’m saying is… I worry about breaking my vows all the time, but I don’t worry about divorce. I’m not sure that’s any better, but when I say “my 2nd husband had better…” he always knows it means after he’s dead 🙂 not after I leave him :).

  5. Divorce isn’t necessarily the worst option a couple can come to. It’s the wisest thing my parents ever agreed to, frankly. Then again, they were both fools when they agreed to get married in the first place.

    As far as how you know you’re on that path…it’s usually pretty obvious if you sit down and think honestly about your relationship with your spouse. Assuming (as seems to be the case) that being married wasn’t the wrong decision in the first place; then simply ask if it’s still the decision you would have made, and why.

  6. Extramarital sex is one of the reasons PRE-marital sex is so insidious. Marriage is not about sex. Marriage is about hundreds of things which can be summed up in concepts like “unity” or “friendship.”

    If marriage is about sex, and sex is about pleasure, then marriage is cheapened because each partner will HAVE to wonder whether the pleasure would be greater with a different sexual partner… and at that point the marriage is in peril, because those thoughts lead to actions. Fidelity stems in part from an understanding that even if the pleasure might be momentarily greater elsewhere, it’s not worth the trouble.

    “Hang on, Howard” you ask incredulously. “Do you mean you and Sandra never had sex before getting married?”

    Yup. Not with each other, and not with anyone else. And that’s as close to our bedroom door as I’m letting you guys get, thankyouverymuch. 🙂


    1. As a college student and a recent graduate I would have to disagree…although the one time I was offered I refused….still wonder why altho’ I remember the reason I had at the time. She was married…and attractive and friendly and having a rough patch. We chatted a few times…but if you have a married couple, they must have wanted to marry once…so what can have changed? and if it isn’t as catastrophic when pulled out and looked at…then why scrap something that could be beautiful mended?
      They are still together and I am no longer a recent graduate by a long long chalk.

      Mr Tayler, with what I laughingly call the maturity of my middle ages I have to admit you talk a lot of darn good sense, Sir….
      as well as producing one of the best sci-fi strips on the web.
      In my late 40’s I realise that sex just isn’t the main factor in a relationship…it can’t be, it’s hardly a 24/7 activity. I’ll wait, but I don’t see myself ever getting married…too set in my ways like so many of my female contemporaries who seem to have got their lives a lot better organised than me.

  7. It’s always different on the inside

    My parents were married for 30 years. And for the last half of that time I asked my Mother why she stayed. My father is an overbearing verbally abusive old man to me and my mother and my sister the nut. He isn’t that way with my sister the lawyer nor my brother.

    I got to talk with a friend of the family who couldn’t understand why my mother left the way she did. She sent him off to pay a bill in town then her baby brother got her and my sister the nut out of the house with a bag of clothing apiece. It was in his mind and her mind, the leaving of a battered woman. No one in town saw it. They see my father has this harmless little old man. They can’t wrap their minds around him being abusive. I can’t think of him as anything else.

    1. Re: It’s always different on the inside

      Stories like yours are why I find myself reluctant to name who is to “blame” in divorces. Without being inside, there is no way to really know what went wrong. And even being on the inside, it probably takes some distance and hindsight to figure it out.

      1. Re: It’s always different on the inside

        Yes. I’ve been on the receiving end too many times of both parties of a break up to ever decide that one is right over the other. And I try to remember that when someone is arguing with me. Find the point where I think they are misunderstanding me or that I’m misunderstanding them. Also finding the point where neither of us will change our minds. Find that point, show it to the other person and then shut up.

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