A New Kind of Heartbreak

I’ve had enough girls break my heart over the years that it should’ve been my minor in college.  That’s how bored I am with it – I view it through the lens of cold, hard academia.

The shadow of my parents’ divorce provided a twisted sort of shade from any other hurt they might cause, much like how stubbing your toe almost tickles after being kicked in the balls.

My unrealized ambitions of medical school have now made the transition from “shameful failure” to “hilarious pipe dream” alongside playing for the Braves and being Inspector Gadget, somehow.

I’m not trotting out the low points to garner sympathy, but rather charting a pedigree of resiliency, providing my resume of heartaches that have only served to make me better and stronger.


And then my friend died.


“This is a new one,” I thought, staring at the ceiling until 3 AM the night after his funeral.  Suddenly my toolbox for dealing with heartbreak looks like my actual toolbox, full of strange things that are theoretically useful but felt awkward and foreign in my hands.

“Talking it out” felt like hammering a screw.  “Cherishing the memories” left me drunk and crying, same as when I use a socket wrench.  Nothing is working, meanwhile the dishwasher is barfing brown water and I’m falling apart.

Make no mistake, the fact that this experience is a new one at 25 makes me one of the lucky ones.  I’d hate to be an old pro at handling this situation.  But I would’ve been perfectly happy to go my whole life without getting this square in Character Growth BINGO.

But then one day, miraculously, I felt better.  I didn’t want to cry anymore.  I could look at old pictures and smile.  I told my family I was doing OK, that things were looking up for ol’ T-bone.


Two days later I was drunk again, talking out loud to him in my living room.  I’m no grief expert, but I don’t think that’s a stage after Acceptance.  And therein lies the problem.  The 5 stages of grief are a crucial coping device, simultaneously acting as a barometer for how you’re feeling and a map for what lies ahead, going where so many others have gone and, most importantly, survived.  The problem is the common misconception, in pop culture or otherwise, that this is a meticulously timed assembly line with a sad person entering and a happy person emerging, something you go through once and you’re good.


“Well I got through Denial sooner than anticipated, putting me ahead of schedule for Anger.  If I punch a hole in my wall on Wednesday night I’ll be able to knock out Bargaining on my lunch break Thursday, enjoy my weekend, then I’ll double up on Depression and Acceptance Monday morning.  Setting a calendar notification for ‘Acceptession’ with a calm and zen emoji that’s also crying so I won’t forget.  I am kicking grief’s ASS!”

Instead, I go through the full cycle about three times a day and I don’t think I’m unique in that.   I feel as though I’ve lived 20 years in the last month, with easily 10 of those years coming just from the day I got the news.  Some days I feel like he was never alive, like this was always the reality I live in, with a best friend who was always gone.  Other days I think about how I’ll give him a big hug and tell him how nice his funeral was the next time I see him.  I feel like I’m losing my mind a little.  I keep dreaming about him, but instead of feeling “haunted” or “tormented,” I cherish it.  I spend my nights roaming the halls of our high school with him, laughing and teasing our teachers and hugging him and then I wake up, laying in bed a few extra minutes while I remember.  The Rolling Stones song “Waiting on a Friend” just came up on Spotify shuffle and I want to laugh and cry at the same time, something I’ve become very good at these past few weeks.

I want to carpe the shit out of some diems, but then the guilt demon immediately shoots me down.


“Spend time with the friends you have!  Let them know how much you love them!”

Why didn’t you tell him how much you loved him more?  


“Don’t worry about money!  Don’t stress about anything, ever again!”

Must be nice having a paycheck.  You know what isn’t?  Being dead.


“Life is all about love!  Man up and tell your girlfriend you love her!”

Hey creep.  You don’t have a girlfriend.  Quit staring at that girl.



I’m better for having known him.  I’ll never forget him.  I’ll never stop missing him, though I know it’ll slowly get easier to handle.  I don’t want it to get easier, not right now anyway.  In the grand scheme of things, I’m approximately the 107,000,000,000th person to lose someone they love.  But the heartbreak is new to me.


My Resume

I’m offering up my resume for those following me into the workforce. 


Tyler Merrels 

185 Not My Childhood Home
Any City, Any Country
My dad made me leave off my

I have a degree in something I’d rather not disclose and buzzword buzzword
dynamic half­truth.

College State University
B.A. in *redacted*, Fall Something­-May 2014   Major GPA: 3.42 Overall: Really? I
mean, didn’t you see how good my major GPA is does it really mattOK 2.59
● Business minor I was required to get
● Strong background in science due to spending three and a half years
as a Pre­Med major before failing so many classes I was basically
forced to switch out

● Wrote a total of six major research papers in a total of six nights (each 12­-20
pages of other people’s opinions)
● At least one major project/presentation a semester to which I
contributed my name alone (PowerPoint or oral)

Liability Claims Adjuster, INSURICO
● Can get yelled at with minimal tearing up
● Balance no less than 5 coffees in each hand
● Expert in ass­covering when busted
● Can read off long claim numbers without sacrificing clarity
● Leaving very professional voicemails
● Feigning interest in coworker’s stories
● Cussing under breath so no one hears
● Talking condescendingly to customers
● Acting “above this”
● Can pee next to senior management and be totally cool about it
● Can think creatively and independently while using a word track
● Expert multi­tasker (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, sexting)
● Resisting the urge to scream/cry
● Dialing phone numbers super fast

Student Employee, University Library
● Worked hungover
● Took naps in the group study rooms without being caught once
● Stretched ten minute tasks to two hours
● Worked drunk
● Hold the record for “Longest Tenure” of any student worker

Your First Day of Work – A Timeline

It’s that time of year again, when a new class of graduates enters the real world and 8% start new jobs.  The rest of you will join them in about 15 months.  Until then, here’s a preview of the emotional roller coaster you’ll ride on your first day.


8:29 AM – Alright let’s do this!!  Four years of college, all leading to this moment.  School sucked but it all pays off today!


8:30 AM – *throwing up in bathroom*


9:05 AM – How can this HR person use the word “family” with a straight face?  Last I checked my parents don’t make me scan a plastic badge every time I come home.  Anymore.


9:34 AM – Hey she looks pretty go-nevermind, ring.


9:51 AM – Oh so THAT’S what I was hired for!  I didn’t wanna ask but man was it killing me!


10:12 AM – The paperwork wouldn’t feel so sinister if they didn’t refer to themselves as The Company.


10:46 AM – I just got Dilbert.  Is this why Dad’s always so mad?


11:23 AM – Hey she looks pretty ok-nevermind, ring.


12:06 PM – How come everyone who speaks to us has been here exactly fifteen years?  What happens after that?  Is this complimentary bottled water the liquefied remains of a 37 year old?


1:17 PM – School wasn’t that bad, was it?  I mean I easily could’ve done really well if I’d just gone to class and read the assignments and studied for tests and shown up for tests and slept with my teachers and not slept with that one teacher.  Besides, in an age of heartless technology and cold cynicism the world needs more passionate and educated people with their masters in Post-Restoration English Litera-oh right, health insurance.


2:34 PM – Hey she ring.


4: 47 PM – Don’t look at your watch don’t look at your watch don’t look at your watch don’t look at youSHIT how has it not been 30 years yet?!?!

Millennials in the Workforce

1) The Language Barrier


Trying to talk with older co-workers sometimes feels like trying to communicate with the help.  I mean srsly, how hard is it to understand that words are cooler without vowels?  Tumblr, Grindr, and Flickr didn’t make a million dollars by using all the letters, so why should I?  Tim is mony and I got this job to mak bank, not old-prson proof my mails!


2) Headsets Don’t Suit Us


Look, wearing a headset is fine if you’re bald or have a crew cut or whatever.  There’s nothing to mess up and you obviously don’t care about your looks anyway, but I do.  I don’t spend $45 on styling wax and 20 minutes blow-drying my hair to lose all that lift under a headset.  Why do we need headsets anyway?  Haven’t these companies heard of iPhones?  I can just as easily sell cable package upgrades on speakerphone.


3) We’re Better Than This


A cube in corporate America is fine if you have no dreams or talent and just want to go home and watch Fox News with your opposite sex spouse and 2.5 kids, but we’re the generation with ambition.  It’s hard to work with so many people who don’t even realize they’re dead inside.  I honestly feel sorry for people I work with, scurrying around like ants without so much as a Twitter to express themselves.  They jump through hoops for raises and promotions, but have they ever done anything truly important like write a screenplay like I’m planning on doing?  It can be a suffocating environment, especially when you get reprimanded just for brainstorming an idea instead of placing calls.  What brings people more joy in the long run-bundling internet and cable or “The 5 Game of Thrones Characters You Didn’t Realize You Went To High School With”?


4) Horrible Phone Reception


A billion dollar company can give everyone health insurance but can’t put in wifi?  I wouldn’t really care except I swear the walls are filled with 4G blocker, like asbestos or something.  There’s no point to tweeting about my lunch if it doesn’t go through until 4 o’clock.  The poor signal even affects how many people can read my posts.  Hilarious observations get two ‘likes’, max.  It’s as if the crappy reception makes sure no one can comment on my stuff before 5 PM.


5) Cubicles Don’t Make Any Sense


All the old people have pictures decorating their cubicles, but all of my pictures are online.  They say it’s important to make your space your own, but what can I do, have my Instagram on a constant loop?  Also, they don’t have enough shelves.  I was able to fit maybe a third of my participation trophy collection before running out of space.  I have no idea what I’m going to do once work starts giving me trophies for showing up on time and not getting fired.  Or do they give personal pan pizzas like elementary school?  If not, they should.