Noblesse Oblige

I woke up this morning, brushed my teeth, and had a glass of orange juice. That left a bad taste in my mouth, which got me thinking about my ex-girlfriend, Noblesse. Noblesse Oblige.

Noblesse was beautiful. Her skin was like… oh, what’s it called… you know, that goo that squirts out of a worm’s ass? Then Chinese peasants (working under horrifying conditions that would make Leona Helmsley scream, “Oh, the humanity!”) slave away for sixteen hours a day for no more pay than a bowl of rice at night before going to sleep on a mat made of reeds lying on a dirt floor, those poor exploited people relentlessly spinning this worm ass goo into fabric to clothe our heartless western capitalist bodies— silk, that’s what it’s called! Her skin was like the finest silk. And her eyes… a fella could get lost in her eyes, wind up in a bad part of town, get stabbed, and lie bleeding to death on the sidewalk in her eyes. And her hair… her hair was like, brown.

They say opposites attract, and in this case it was certainly true because Noblesse and I had nothing in common. We were polar opposites in every arena– politics, religion, gender. You might say our families came from different sides of the tracks, but you’d be wrong because we came from the exact same side, unless you were speaking metaphorically, in which case you’d be right because our families were quite different. My family was poor. I came from a long line of shiftless, lazy bums, but we’d fallen on hard times and lost everything we didn’t even have. The Obliges, on the other hand, were rich and classy. I mean really rich and classy. They were so rich and classy, her dad had a gold tooth and her mom had mink eyebrows.

But our incompatibilities extended beyond such trifles as class, politics, and religion. Our entire approach to life was different. I was very spontaneous, taking things as they come, whereas Noblesse Oblige was extremely organized. Methodical. Her sock drawer was arranged chromatically, and subdivided by size, short to long. She clung to her day planner the way a child clings to a beloved stuffed animal, and oh, how she cried when the doctors told her that her velveteen day planner was contaminated with Scarlet Fever and would have to be incinerated. But that’s another story. Noblesse never digressed like that because she was very organized. She even had her menstrual cycle scheduled six months in advance, accurate to within fifteen minutes, and graphed out on a “flow” chart.

Noblesse and I had an open relationship, which led to certain problems. The biggest problem was that she never bothered to tell me. I thought our relationship was monogamous, but no, it was open. It was way open. It was open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a goddamn year, like some kind of nymphomaniac 7-11.

But when you’re as hopelessly in love with someone as I was with Noblesse Oblige, you can put up with a lot. For example, Noblesse had some seriously flawed belief systems, but I never called her on any of her extremely wrong-headed views. She’d say crap like, “Iridium is the heaviest metal known to man,” and I’d just let it go, even though osmium is much heavier. I was so crazy about her that I didn’t want to rock the boat. I hoped that maybe she’d come around eventually. I decided to just forgive her her trespasses. In retrospect, I realize I should have confronted her about it because if you truly love somebody, you should never forgive them for anything.

But if there was one thing that finally tore us apart, it was that her dreams were bigger than our little home town. Noblesse won the Star Search spokesmodel competition an unprecedented eleven weeks straight, and she was able to use that success as a springboard to a lucrative career as a professional escort. She moved to Hollywood to become escort to the stars. I begged her not to go, but she wouldn’t listen. Her career had to come first. And I couldn’t go with her because for me to leave my hometown, those old familiar faces and streets, my family, my world… to leave there would have violated my parole.

I’m sad to say, our break up wasn’t exactly amicable. My last words to her as she left in her Chevy Huff, were, “I hope you get eaten by a pack of rabid dingoes.” You can imagine how freaked out I was when that actually happened some years later. Maybe you read about it. It was in all the papers. I was paralyzed with stunned disbelief. Someone I had loved and cherished was irrevocably gone. Not until that day did I realize how fragile life is, and that’s why you should live each day as if it’s your last. Because sometimes you’re not given a second chance to get even with somebody for dumping you.

Ah, Noblesse Oblige, I loved you, I lost you, and I let pain turn my love to bitterness. But time mellows bitterness into melancholy and melancholy finally into wisdom. I’m reminded of a line from a poem. Walt Whitman once wrote that love is a violin. I’ve always interpreted that to mean that love is a beautiful, precious musical instrument, made of polished wood with some strings on it, which should be kept in a velvet lined case. Whitman! What a moron. Sometimes I think he didn’t know jack about the opposite sex.