Hurrah! It are my blogiversary! Number 15, to be precise. Over 9300 posts, 20,000 comments and 2,500,000 hits, although that last number is probably significantly higher as my metrics management tool has changed over the years, each time starting at zero.
So, yeah, hurrah.
Like any good superhero, I need an origin story and this is it. For reasons that will become obvious, I've only hinted at it in the past, but this morning, we'll open the kimono, as my father used to say.
Preliminary Data Point
When the cops come to your home on a domestic violence call, it's an "arrest-positive" visit. That means someone is going to jail. They assess the sitch and make the choice.
Wendy* was my previous wife, wife number 2. I had two children when we met, a son and an adopted daughter. My daughter desperately needed a mom and I needed a wife. While we were dating, Wendy was a fabulous mom for my girl. Loving and kind, she began teaching her how to be a girl and then a woman.
Wendy had grown up in an emotionally abusive home. I had never seen anything like it. Everything looked fine on the outside, but the relationships came straight out of an Edgar Allen Poe story. If the walls of her parents' house could have wept blood, they'd have done it.
Dad was a doctor. Brother was a doctor. Sister was a doctor. There was a caste system in the world and doctors were at the top with everyone else in a pile somewhere in a septic tank. Wendy wasn't a doctor. She only had a magna-cum-laude masters from a prestigious university in a bio-technology field. That made her subhuman in their eyes. When she graduated with that degree, they didn't even bother to come to her graduation.
Wendy could never win her father's love, no matter what she did. Her brother knocked up his girlfriend and married in Vegas. That was fine. He was a doctor! Her sister had a child from a sperm bank. That was fine. She was a doctor! Wendy and I didn't move in together until after we married and she was subhuman. She was not a doctor.
I was Wendy's rock. I adored her and supported her no matter what she did. She was very pretty, very lively, very smart and good with my kids. We got married. Then the testing began and she went mad. I don't mean we argued, I mean she went insane.
In retrospect, what happened was that she feared a repeat of her childhood. Her father had betrayed her trust over and over again and she needed to make sure I wouldn't do the same so she tested me. With the passing of each test, she was reassured until the demons in her head convinced her it wasn't real and I was bound to betray her. Another test would be devised. They became incrementally harder to pass.
After a while, Wendy decided she couldn't live in our old house and needed one she and I created together. We bought a ratty, little house in a good part of town with a gorgeous view of the ocean and began construction of a custom home. I helped design it. In all immodesty, it was a work of art, built around a 16' glass dome.
The first time she hit me, I thought it was a joke. She was a small woman and I'm a bigger man. I'd practiced kung fu for 8 years and was used to being hit. She became enraged over something and punched me as hard as she could. Ping! I didn't think much of it after she calmed down. She'd had a rough life and could be emotional.
Once the old house was scraped off the lot and our foundation was laid, the trap was sprung. You can't sell a partially-built house. Once you start down that road and put all your money into a new home, you had better have a solid marriage because you ain't gettin' out until it's done.
And then the madness came in force.
We had sold my old house and were living in a small rental near the new construction. It had thin walls, no escape room and no way to get the non-combatants out of the line of fire. She turned into a full-blown borderline psychotic. About three times a week, she would wake up around 1 AM and begin screaming at me. If I tried to quiet her with kind talk and love, the screaming lasted two hours. If I kept quiet and just let her scream, it lasted 90 minutes.
The issues were never rational, it was just the demons in her head, howling.
One day, after more violence, I called the cops and asked, hypothetically, what happens when someone makes a domestic violence call. They told me what I noted above.
And that, as they say, was that. I was a big man, she was a small woman, so I was going to go to jail if I called. I didn't call. I just took it, day after day, and protected the kids as best I could.
Men Are Bigger
One thing you realize when your woman becomes violent is that you can crush her any time you want. Her hardest punches didn't do anything. My hardest would have sent her to the hospital. One time, just out of reflex, I did a sweeping block when she tried to punch me. I nearly broke her forearm against a door frame.
Throughout it all, I loved her and tried to save her from the demons. I burned everything in my life, trying, futilely, to rescue her. All my money, all my relationships, everything was fed into that furnace.
Why Women Didn't Have The Vote
In a brutal and physical world, say, the world before 1900, women were subordinate to men. They had to rely on a man for protection. If their man decided to physically dominate them, there was nothing they could do. Those girls beating up men in the movies? Please. Back in the day, a woman was part of a man's household because he took responsibility for her body. They're not strong enough to plow fields all day, either, so he was responsible for her food. Dittos for the kids. He was in control because there wasn't anyone else who could do it.
Get into a violent relationship and that becomes crystal clear.
The House, The Blog
The house was finally finished. I had contacted my favorite divorce lawyer** and prepped the situation. As soon as the last bill was paid, I filed and she was kicked out of the house. I had the kids, so the court said I got to keep the place.
I didn't want this, but her madness had gotten to the point where I would sometimes take the kids to a hotel overnight because she was screaming.
Sometimes you try your hardest and still lose.
I was left with a mortgage made for two incomes with only one income to cover it. I had a full-time job plus dadly duties. I had free time at unpredictable intervals and desperately needed cash. It took me weeks to save enough money to pay the fees to take construction debris out of the yard to the dump.
Blogs were just starting to become a big deal. Instapundit, IMAO, Lawrence Simon's blog, they all inspired me. I figured I could start a blog and see where it went. If I sold ads on the site and could bring in a decent audience, I might make a little money.
In total, I made $100.
I eventually sold the house, married wife kitteh and discovered love, strength and sanity. I keep blogging because it's what I do now. I don't think I can stop. It's my own madness.
In the meantime, wherever Wendy might be, I hope she finds peace. When I see lunatics on the street, I think of her and wonder what demons are in their heads. I pray for them because that's all I can do.
There you have it. The origin story of The Scratching Post. To anyone who made it this far, thanks for reading. I needed to write it.
Love you all. I'm looking forward to having you correct my idiosyncratic idiocies in the coming year with your comments.
* - Not her real name. Naturally, there's a story about my starter wife, but it's for another day. Current wife kitteh, aka final wife kitteh, has been through two divorces as well. This is why we teach the remarriage class for the diocese. No one knows more about how to drop atomic bombs on your own lives than we do.
** - I hope you never have cause to use the phrase, "my favorite divorce lawyer."