Johnny America


Re­bound and Bound We Go


Ah, yes. L’amour, That’s Amore, Get­tin’ Freaky, Romance.

When ro­mance comes your way, don’t run from it. Em­brace it. Em­brace it the way one might a ba­by cougar: En­joy it while it seems in­no­cent, but then send it off to the near­est zoo or lab­o­ra­to­ry the mo­ment its claws be­come dan­ger­ous. It’s true, there are many ro­mances that can cause dis­ap­point­ment, but such is life. There is one to be weary of, though — one to be avoid­ed: it is the one termed ‘the rebound.’

The re­bound is the ro­mance that takes place im­me­di­ate­ly fol­low­ing a stren­u­ous breakup, where the one on the re­bound, whom we’ll call X, has had their life turned up­side down and is look­ing for some­thing to hold on­to (in­sert vi­o­lin strings of sym­pa­thy here). There is dif­fi­cul­ty in know­ing whether or not the ro­mance you find your­self on the re­ceiv­ing end of is a re­bound, but there do ex­ist a few tell­tale signs that, un­less you’re in com­plete de­nial, you can look for.

First Sign: Af­ter meet­ing X and hit­ting it off be­yond your wildest dreams, you find your­self at their quaint hov­el. While X is prepar­ing cock­tails for you both, you amuse your­self by pe­rus­ing the fam­i­ly pho­tos that hang on the wall. “You and your broth­er are very close,” you say.

To which X replies, “I don’t have a brother.”

“Your cousin, then.”

“I have no cousins.”

“Well, then, you and the mail­man are very close.”

Bring­ing you your drink, X looks at the pho­to in ques­tion and says, af­ter a quick gulp of cock­tail, “Oh, that. That’s Y, my ex.” (in­sert omi­nous ket­tle drum or bas­soon here).

Un­less you’re an id­iot, you should avoid ask­ing the nat­ur­al fol­low-up ques­tion at all costs, much the way you should avoid pulling a cork jammed in­to a hole in a dam.

“How long have you been bro­ken up?” — You idiot.

“Oh, a few weeks,” X an­swers non­cha­lant­ly. Then, just as you feel a chance to change the top­ic com­ing on, adds, “Yeah, we were to­geth­er for…”

And so, you sip your drink while lis­ten­ing to the Greek tragedy that was X and Y.

As the evening goes on, di­a­logues go from one sub­ject to an­oth­er, but you quick­ly find that the men­tion­ing of Y is ap­plic­a­ble in every top­ic of con­ver­sa­tion. Disneyland?

“Y and I went there last sum­mer. We had sex on the Peo­ple Mover.”

Oh, well how about the the­o­ries of plumb­ing? “Y’s fa­ther was a plumber. Did you know that the Ro­mans had a sys­tem of plumb­ing? Any­way, that’s what Y said.” The pos­si­bil­i­ty of re­mov­ing the stain from the drink you just spilled on your shirt? “You know, Y had a shirt just like that.”

I sug­gest you throw that shirt in­to the near­est house fire and get out of there. But, if you are in­clined to give the ben­e­fit of the doubt (or if you’re just blind­ed by cock­tailed lust), you will stick it out a while longer. But, be warned. Keep your eyes open.

Sec­ond Sign: Chalk­ing up the first sign to X’s deem­ing you wor­thy of in­ter­per­son­al com­mu­ni­ca­tion, you con­vince your­self that X is tru­ly in­to you, and is some­one that should be pur­sued fur­ther. Af­ter a few days, maybe even soon­er, ro­man­tic li­aisons pro­ceed the nat­ur­al route and you find your­self in an in­ti­mate sit­u­a­tion with X. Af­ter­wards, you are sur­prised when X, who mo­ments be­fore seemed pleased with your pres­ence, be­gins sob­bing in­to a pil­low. Had you made some ter­ri­ble er­ror in judg­ment? Were you that bad of a kiss­er? You re­play the pre­ced­ing mo­ments in your head (for $.25 a peek, of course), but feel con­fi­dent that you per­formed with­out err. You ask what’s wrong.

“I feel weird,” is the reply.

“Is it be­cause I called you Pump­kin Butt?” you won­der. “It was meant as a compliment.”

“Its… its just that.…”


“You’re not Y.” (in­sert shriek of flute here)

At this point, it is best for you to re­tain what lit­tle of your dig­ni­ty re­mains and leave X for good. You de­serve bet­ter than that. X is­n’t the on­ly fish in the sea. What about the teller at the bank who seemed com­pli­men­ta­ry af­ter your $200 de­posit? Oh, but I for­got, you have a guilty con­science. You’d feel like a Nazi if you left X now, sob­bing, sad, alone. Fine, be a Nazi. The Nurem­berg tri­als are long over, you’ll be safe. But, you don’t leave. That’s the type of per­son you are. sigh

Third Sign: Ten days in­to the re­la­tion­ship, X says some­thing that throws aside all con­ven­tion­al­i­ty of re­la­tion­ship eti­quette, that lit­tle phrase which has led to more can­dy heart in­scrip­tions than Moth­er’s Day and Sec­re­tary’s Day com­bined, that phrase that some peo­ple wait their whole lives to hear, that phrase that oth­er peo­ple spend their whole lives try­ing to avoid.

“I love you,” X says with the big grin of a so­da pop spokesperson.

“I love you, I love you, I love you,” X sings de­spite a lack of melody or for­mal training.

Al­though flat­tered, you re­mind X that you’ve on­ly known each oth­er for ten days, but they in­sist that their emo­tions are true and you, be­ing the at­ten­tion-de­prived you that we all know you to be, re­frain from de­bat­ing it any fur­ther and ac­cept it as truth. (in­sert wan­ing harp strings here)

This third sign is the most im­por­tant one of all be­cause it rep­re­sents the pin­na­cle of your re­la­tion­ship with X: this is the top of your Mt. Kil­i­man­jaro. From here on out, it’s a rapid de­cay. If I could slap some sense in­to you from be­yond the writ­ten word, I would glad­ly risk the as­sault charges. X does­n’t re­al­ly love you, X still loves Y and is try­ing to fill a void with a Y sub­sti­tute. You’re the un­der­study in X’s play. The the­ater own­er has to go on stage be­fore the cur­tain ris­es to tell a dis­ap­point­ed au­di­ence that Y will not be per­form­ing, that the part of Y will in­stead be played by You.

Let X’s heart­felt de­c­la­ra­tion of love be your cue to get the hell off of that stage. Run! It’s on­ly a mat­ter of time be­fore X re­al­izes you are no Y and be­gins au­di­tions for a new re­place­ment. You nev­er had a chance. (in­sert sad, Chap­lin walk­ing in­to the sun­set-like or­ches­tra here)

I hope this will serve as a tool for screen­ing your fu­ture ro­mances. If you see any of these signs be­gin­ning to emerge, make a hasty re­treat and con­grat­u­late your­self on a job well done. But, if you see these signs emerge and still choose to ig­nore them, then you, my friend, are noth­ing but a damned fool.

Sin­cere­ly yours,

A Damned Fool

Filed under Non-Fiction on September 6th, 2005

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Reader Comments

Jum wrote:

well that damn near made me weep(insert slow French horns in D minor)and laugh (in­sert crash­ing cym­bals and ka­zoos) but, ul­ti­mate­ly, left me feel­ing very alone (in­sert crickets).

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