My first boyfriend’s name was Joe, and we met at fat camp. We fell in like during a rafting trip, where we squeezed into a double tube and floated down the river chubby hand in chubby hand. Joe and I “dated” for the remainder of the summer – meaning we made out for forty minutes each night in a bush and ate stowaway chocolate bars we bought for $20 off the black market. We cried when we said goodbye to each other – I lived in New York, he lived in Virginia – but besides one post-camp phone call, we never spoke again. Fast forward ten years to today. I have a desk job and spend most of my time in front of my computer stalking ex-boyfriends left and right. Isn’t that why social networking sites exist? But the more my curiosity grew the worst it got. The punk I dated for a month who liked to snort whippets? He now has a baby. Shudder. My high school sweetheart? Gay. My most recent ex who broke my heart? Currently with a girl who's younger, prettier and stupider than me. (Yes, I looked up her MySpace profile, too. Like you wouldn’t.) Clearly not learning my lesson, I thought, “Whatever happened to the first guy, whatshisface?” I miraculously remembered his full name and MySpaced him. His profile came up instantly. He hadn’t changed much, except he got a lot fatter, and also he was dead.

But I didn’t realize his lack of mortality at first. The first thing I noticed was his lame profile background filled with cars. His “About Me” had several misspellings. In retrospect, this guy was probably always a giant loser. Then I scrolled through his wall postings. “We miss you so much, Joe.” Hmm, did he go on a trip? “My prayers are with you, Joe.” Um, did he join the ministry? “Hey everyone, details for Joe’s funeral and wake are follows…” What?! He died? Did he get in a car accident? Get eaten by a shark? Did he overdose? Did the first guy I ever tongued grow up to be a heroin addict? I kept scrolling, looking for answers. “If anyone would like to make a donation in Joe’s name at the Cancer society…” Oh, shit, he had cancer? “You were so brave, Joe – we know you’re looking down on all of us from heaven.” I suddenly feel responsible, like I gave him the kiss of death during one of our make-out sessions and it gestated in his stomach for ten years. I’m the cancer. And the bitch who called a twenty-four year old kid with cancer a loser. I’m only dating (and breaking-up) with Amish people from now on.


Becky Bain, Jonathan Jacobsen, ARTICLES

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