My Desire is George Costanza Eating A Sandwich in Bed

It’s the hedonistic trifecta of fucking, eating, and watching TV. My post-divorce desire thwarts standard conventions, flaunts what was once expected, dips the coital sandwich in spicy mustard. Of telling men exactly what I want, when I want it, without shame or self-doubt or belabored second-guessing. It is owning my shrinkage, of peeing in the shower, and knowing exactly where I am broken and loving my roughness all the same. 

It is not graceful nor nice nor meek. It is a desire born of second chances and bonus rounds. An urgent hunger that stems from seeing the light and somehow still surviving and doubling down on double-dipping that chip because “You dip the way you want to dip. I’ll dip the way I want to dip.”

Ours is an earthy lust of many appetites. It is George declaring to Jerry post-breakup that he is free, he is going to a tractor pull, he is staying out all night and biting into “a big hunk of cheese, just [biting] into it like it’s an apple.” 

George Costanza is the embodiment of 17th-century Japanese poet and samurai Mizuta Masahide’s haiku: 

Barn’s burnt down —


I can see the moon.

We love George Costanza, root for him because he is a character no one really thinks can find love but somehow does. He tells us not to trust him, “Bald men with no jobs and no money and who live with their parents do not approach strange women.” And yet George is brave when Jerry tells him, “If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.” 

We channel the unfettered lust of sacred fools, George and me. Of all those wise weirdos who urge the broken-hearted to pick joy over sadness, laughter over despair even when the house is burning. 

“Yes, I will do the opposite,” George declares. “I used to sit here and do nothing and regret it for the rest of the day. So now I will do the opposite, and I will do something.” 

So ours is a self-preserving desire that yells fire at a birthday party and shoves everyone else out of the way, including the white-haired woman with a walker. An impulsive yearning that might mean asking your best friend to call in a bomb threat to get George Steinbrenner to leave your office while you’re hiding underneath the desk you’ve turned into a napping oasis. 

George reminds me and my desire to simply show up and pretend to have the job before anyone else can tell us otherwise. 

“What’s the worst thing that could happen?” George asks Jerry.

“Well, you’d be embarrassed and humiliated in front of a large group of people and have to walk out in shame with your tail between your legs,” Jerry says. 

“Yeah, so?” 

Michaella A. Thornton’s writing has appeared in Brevity, Complete Sentence, Creative Nonfiction, Southeast Review, among others, and she will gladly take all the cannoli. She calls St. Louis, Missouri home. You can find her procrastinating and dreaming @kellathornton.

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