Success: The Best Revenge

Getting dumped for your best friend can suck. That happened to me a few years ago. Met a cute guy. Went on a few dates. Then he got interested in my friend and slipped a breakup note under my door. That put a ding in my self-confidence. They had sex just a few floors above me in the same huge apartment complex. I could almost see it in my head falling asleep in my sad, borrowed mattress.

I saved the breakup note for a while. It read something like this:

You’re really hot. Like, seriously. But you’re boring as hell. I need someone who does crazy stuff like sing at a full moon. You’re just not wild enough.

Well, I was wild. I just thought singing at the moon was kind of…stupid. I was too nice to tell him anything.

Of course, what happened after that made me laugh. I got my revenge. But not in a spiteful way. Nope. Instead, I moved ahead and focused on my life. Success is the best revenge. Always. In fact, you can get revenge against all your enemies just by succeeding at your goals. It’s so much more efficient than taking them on one at a time.

My ex dated my friend for a few months, then they broke up. A couple weeks after that, I met him at a party where he announced to the room that he’d somehow contracted a venereal disease. Awkward. Was he proud or something? Did he think it was funny? Still not sure. But I knew one thing: So glad I never slept with him. My friend, on the other hand? She decided to get tested.

Somehow, this guy wound up on the fringe of my social circle for a few years. He dated another one of my friends, who dumped him. At a bar. Yeah, my friend dumped him at a bar. He made quite the scene. Broke a glass. Stormed out. Good thing he was really cute. The cute ones rarely pay the price for drunk & disorderly.

Or maybe he did pay. I kept running into my ex. Once, he showed up at a party and talked about having PTSD from an abusive professor.

My last encounter with the my ex was the best. I’d just finished my dissertation and won a tenure-track job offer. We happened to bump into each other at my favorite bar. Look, I know it sounds like I drink a lot. It makes life interesting. Anyway, I ran into him around midnight. He asked me what I’d been up to. So I told him my good news. He smiled and gave me a congratulations. Then he announced that he was leaving school to become a pilot.

Yeah, a pilot. The kind that flies planes.

He had no real plan, and zero hours in the cockpit. Just a friend who was going to show him the path forward. It was a huge decision for him. He was a little tipsy, and he’d been giving the bartender an ear full.

Forget that he was a theater major. I’m not sure he ever finished his undergrad. Maybe. Anyway, it was amazing. He actually tried to convince me to stay for a drink. He wanted to catch up and talk about dreams. A mix of pity and apathy flooded my veins. I told him I’d catch up with him later, and went off to party. Over the next few weeks, I tried to keep up with him on Facebook but got bored and hid his posts.

And yet, the irony didn’t strike me until a few days ago. He had once told he, essentially, that I wasn’t good enough for him. Now, oh ho-ho-ho. At the time, it barley occurred to me that I’d gotten revenge on this guy for his cowardly breakup.

The best revenge is success. You may have heard this line before. I’m here to tell you it’s true. So true. In fact, it’s so good that it won’t even occur to you–maybe until years later. That’s how it felt with the theater major. He was such an afterthought that night. Now, he’s just an interesting blog post.



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