Reading Bill Kristol’s latest emasculated flail of a troll — the desperation, the manipulation, the intellectual dishonesty, the mind and word games, the cuddling with evil at NBC News — it all took me back to early 1985, to a guy I knew who ended up in prison.
Eager for adventure and to be on my own, just a few months after (barely) graduating high school I lit out for south Florida from rural Wisconsin. It was an amazing time, the Miami Vice-era. Although I was on the Gulf Coast and not in Miami, the pastels, neons, and building boom were in full swing. So was the drug trade.
In short time, I rented a room for $50 a week and found a job at the local mall.
Tony was probably not his real name. I don’t remember his real name. This was over 30 years ago. But I do remember Tony.
Just a few weeks after I arrived, Tony and his meager belongings rented one of the other three rooms in that broken down house. He was about 40 with slick black hair and a wiry frame; a sweaty little guy, a chain smoker and beer drinker. But his pencil-thin mustache did give him a debonair quality.
Tony’s clothes were like Tony — flashy, but frayed. From far away, he looked like Robert Goulet. Up close, he looked like what he was — a low-level con man and dealer who hustled up just enough to keep himself in smokes and Budweiser. Even making minimum wage, I worked fewer hours and made more money than Tony ever did. He didn’t care. He loved the grift, the self-delusion he was getting one over on the rest of the world.
As a young man will, at first I confused Tony’s braggadocio with a guy who had all the answers, confused his criminal life with a swaggering refusal to play by the rules, confused his neediness with mentorship.
This confusion lasted about an hour.
Tony was obsessed with his wife. Obsessed. She lived just down the road in a small apartment complex, which was why Tony moved in with us — to be close to her.
From what I could piece together, after just a few years of marriage, she got fed up with his failures, his hustle, his broken promises. As a result, Tony was humiliated and angry — which is to be expected. But he was also, as I said, obsessed.
It was not that Tony loved his wife, understood the mistakes he had made, and wanted to earn her back. No, it was all about the wound to his misguided pride and the undermining of his manhood. He could not deal with her not wanting him and this manifested in ways that ranged from ridiculous to self-destructive.
To begin with, Tony talked of nothing else. His hatred for his wife was all-consuming — and that hate became his identity. Every conversation you had with Tony — every single one — involved him trying to convince you to hate his wife as much he hated his wife.
Talking to this guy quickly became an exercise in agony, in tedium. Things got to a point where my roommates and I hid out in our respective rooms whenever Tony was around. He was a total bore, a pedantic broken record. And you never brought a friend over to the house, because if you did, that person was not allowed to leave until Tony had convinced them to hate his wife as much as he did.
When Tony was not foisting his tiresome self on the rest us, he was scheming, looking to get his wife’s attention, to aggravate her (today we would call it trolling). As a means to prove to her (and to himself) that he did not care about her anymore, he did everything he could to make her hate him even more. Of course the exact opposite was true: in his own twisted mind he believed this approach would somehow convince her to crawl back to him.
As an excuse to trot past her apartment while proving he had moved on, Tony took up jogging. In his Goodwill running shoes and shorts, a more ridiculous sight there never was — the look of total commitment to health on his face with a Newport hanging from his lips. He also pestered everyone to let him go to the store for us, which gave him another excuse to stroll nonchalantly past her place.
Before long, Tony started sleeping with another woman, but only out of spite. This woman lived in the same building as Tony’s wife and for some reason she hated Tony’s wife as much as Tony did. Two haters engaging in revenge-sex. They used each other.
As the weeks passed, Tony’s frustration red-lined as it became apparent that nothing he did would ever provoke the jealous reaction he so desperately desired. Revenge was not possible when his wife simply did not care. It was her indifference that tipped him into a much darker place.
One night I found Tony on the porch waiting for the police to come and arrest him. His hand was covered in blood. The buffoon had managed to only cut himself when he tried to stab some guy he spotted in his wife’s apartment.
“He had his feet on my coffee table,” Tony explained.
Bill Kristol reminds me of Tony.
Tired of his failures and broken promises, Republican voters finally broke up with Kristol. This long overdue separation combined with our realization that he is just another neocon man, has driven Kristol over the edge, turned him into a pedantic bore, an unstable obsessive whose only goal is spiteful revenge, starting with his boorish quest to convince everyone else to hate us as much as he hates us. If you Google “Woman Scorned,” it should link to Kristol’s Twitter feed.
Forced to move into the broken down house of #NeverTrump with the only meager belonging he has left — his Twitter account — Kristol even tries to pretend he doesn’t care about being rejected as he dons the frayed clothes of the #Resistance and jogs by with his tired trolls — quite the spectacle coming from a senior citizen.
Naturally, Kristol has already shred whatever residual self-respect he had by engaging in pathetic revenge-sex with our enemies.
In other words, Kristol is our Tony — our tedious and rather ridiculous ex-boyfriend — the aging hustler who will never grow up, never admit he wronged us, never have the decency to wish us luck and move on, and whose entire identity revolves only around his sniveling and unbalanced need to redeem his manhood through childish retribution.
And Kristol cannot wait to knife Trump in the back, the guy who now puts his feet on our coffee table.
I never saw Tony again. I did not even stick around to watch the arrest. A few days later, when she came by to pick up the stuff he had stolen from her, I met his wife — a nice lady with no regrets.