The Best Revenge

You probably don’t think of me as a particularly vengeful person, but there have been times when I’ve felt vengeful! It doesn’t happen often, and I have to admit that at the moment, there are only two people in the world I feel vengeful toward. Two people out of seven billion isn’t that bad, right?

I think that I’m usually a relatively nice person, but there are times when I get angry, or envious — or even vengeful. By vengeful, I don’t mean that I would wish actual harm on anyone, because that wouldn’t be nice. No, what I wish is that the universe would give the gentlemen in question (yes, they are both men) a good talking-to. Something like this: “You have been rude beyond the call of rudeness, and I suggest that you stop. Because karma.”

(In both cases, it’s for exactly the same reason: a male friend, about whom I cared very much, for whom I was there during various travails, says the following: “I am romantically involved with X, so we can no longer be friends.” To which I respond, “What? Wait, why?” To which the reply is silence. That’s rude beyond the call of rudeness, right? Anyway, I think it is. And it’s ultimately very silly, because any romantic relationship that does not allow you to maintain your friendships is going to be unpleasant. Relationships without trust usually are.)

But this blog post isn’t about feeling vengeful. It’s about revenge, the best revenge. I’m going to tell you how to get it. There are basically two steps.

1. Live a fabulous life. This step is absolutely crucial. When you feel vengeful, ask yourself, am I doing something fabulous? And if you’re not, go do something! It doesn’t have to be something extravagant. It can involve getting ice cream, or buying flowers, or walking by a river.

2. Write about it. Or take pictures! Share that fabulous life, share your story. The purpose of sharing your life is not to make anyone else envious, but to allow other people to participate in it. And of course you should participate in their stories and lives as well . . . I love it when my friends are living fabulous lives too. (But Step 1 is absolutely crucial: the point is not to post pictures, but to actually have a fabulous life. The pictures come afterward.)

This is a very satisfying way of getting revenge, which has the additional benefit that you get ice cream, or flowers, or a walk by the river — or you get to visit fabulous places. Or buy cocktail dresses! (I bought two cocktail dresses just yesterday, for $10 each at a thrift store. Now I need to find two cocktail parties . . .)

I’m going to post some pictures of the fabulous things I did on my last day on Peaks Island. First, I had some ice cream (blackberry chip with fudge topping). I walked along the main street, eating my ice cream, looking at Casco Bay and all the beautiful houses.


Then I went to the Umbrella Cover Museum (which does actually exist). This is a picture of the proprietor, Nancy 3, playing her accordion for visitors. You can see all the umbrella covers she has collected.


In the Umbrella Cover Museum, there was a very special cover, with a story. The cover is the one Catherynne Valente brought back after spending several weeks in Budapest with me last summer. Nancy 3 took a picture of me with the cover and the story Cat had written describing where it came from.


Then it was time for me to leave, but before I did, Cat and I posed for a picture together. (There, by the way, is a woman with a fabulous life! It was such a privilege to visit her on Peaks Island.)


Here are the people I stayed with that week, saying goodbye on the ferry landing: Cat, Dmitri Zagidulin, and fellow guest Lee Harrington (who got the same flavor ice cream I had been eating earlier). I was sad to leave, but it was time to go home, where other adventures were waiting for me.


So there you go, that’s the best revenge: having a fabulous life and then getting to talk about it, share pictures — and be part of the fabulous lives of other people.

If you’re ever feeling particularly vengeful, and I mean deeply, angrily vengeful, you can go look at the Facebook page of the person you’re angry with and see if he’s living a fabulous life yet. Not yet? Nope, not yet. Because karma. But then? Go back to living your own fabulous life. Because ice cream, and riding bicycles around islands in Maine, and going to cocktail parties in fabulous dresses that only cost $10. And having fabulous friends. You might actually forget, for a while, about taking revenge . . . And if you remember, there’s always Facebook!

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6 Responses to The Best Revenge

  1. Jon Awbrey says:

    Ice cream is a dish best served cold.

  2. Emily Gilman says:

    Oh man, I was going to say, “Revenge is best served à la mode?” but Jon Awbrey beat me to the joke!

  3. It’s also a great writing prompt: having your characters perform all of the despicable, vengeful, wrathful acts that cross your mind.

  4. David Dorais says:

    BTW there is a specialty retail shop in the Pike Place Farmer’s Market, here in Seattle, which sells unbrellas from all over the world…

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