The Reverse Thomas J

In My Girl, there’s this part where Vada Sultenfuss is coping with Thomas J.’s death and she stops eating all the food he was allergic to. I don’t remember if it was in the movie or just in the book version, which I owned for some reason.* But she picks tomatoes off of a sandwich and declares, “I’m allergic to tomatoes.” Thomas J. was allergic to tomatoes.

When someone breaks your heart, you cope by doing the opposite. Everything that he or she loves, you have to hate. When you see something they like, it’s sad because you want to share it with them, buy it for them or even pretend you like it out of habit (because that’s what you’re actually doing, right?). So you avoid all of those bands, movies, TV shows, etc. That’s how you cope. It’s the Reverse Thomas J.

Right now I have to avoid a lot of things that I genuinely like. I have to hate The Clash. I have to hate eggs. I have to hate trivia and I LOVE trivia. I especially have to hate tea. This is kind of annoying but I can’t help it. The Reverse Thomas J.

Luckily, the majority of things I have to avoid are things I wasn’t a fan of to begin with: baseball, poker, whiskey, Wondershozen, being a total D-Bag, etc.

I had completely forgotten about this part of it, but The Reverse Thomas J. happens to me every time. Over the course of my life I have been forced to avoid so many weird things:

  • Connecticut
  • X-Men
  • High School Hockey
  • White Fish on Egg Bagels (which no one talks about in Missouri except around me)
  • Maps
  • Canada
  • The Smashing Pumpkins
  • Global Foods
  • The left side of Des Peres movie theater
  • Led Zeppelin
  • Big Red chewing gum
  • Anything that is tie-dyed
  • Grape Gatorade
  • The WWE
  • Springfield, MO
  • Springfield where the Simpsons live
  • Historical artifacts
  • Life Cereal
  • All things French
  • Beer
  • The Yankees
  • Flash Gordon
  • Barbeques
  • That album Michael Jackson made with E.T.
  • Chef Gordon Ramsey
  • Frozen candy bars
  • The good parts of Illinois
  • Quik Trip
  • The Superbowl
  • Gargoyles

And so on…

The absolute WORST was that month when Tim and I were broken up:

I had to avoid THE BEATLES.

This was in 2000 at the exact moment they released “Beatles 1” with all their greatest hits. There were TV specials and Beatles anthologies EVERYWHERE. I mean, give me a break. It was impossible.

Has this ever happened to you? Have you experienced the Reverse Thomas J.? What weird stuff have you found yourselves avoiding?

*I would watch the movie and check for myself, except not. My Girl is more painful than that movie where the baby dinosaur from The Land Before Time stepped on Fivel the mouse and Bambi’s mom right before it ate Ponyboy from The Outsiders and shot Old Yeller.


Filed under Lists, Love Stinks

13 responses to “The Reverse Thomas J

  1. RØB

    Wait, are you still all opposed ‘n’ whatnot to everything on that bulleted list above? Some of those things are worth hating: The Yankees and the Superbowl in particular. Some of them are awesome though, sorry.

    “Being a total D-Bag,” hah hah. Yes, how lucky!

    Actually I think maybe heartbreak makes MORE firm my own resolve to love the stuff I love, ESPECIALLY if it was something shared with another. You can bet I’m still going to the Dolly Parton concert this week come hell or high water, whether some REAL friend buys/takes the ticket originally intended as a gift for someone else or NOT, and it is going to be phenomenal of course. Kind of an EFF YOU to whatever person broke my heart, a bit of a “screw you, and I’ll like what I like, and you’ve got no power over this, now get lost.”

    That’s Boo-Yah style. That’s BONANZA style. You’ll come around to it.

    Come party with the Squids tonight, that’ll be freakin’ Bonanza-style.

  2. It’s a potpourri of a bunch of old exes. Bonus points if anyone can identify these boys! I don’t have to avoid most of this stuff anymore.

    And I agree – the stuff that YOU love is a great tool for getting over it. I am like 90% over it; at this point I’m just offended.

    Squids sounds fun but tonight is a Dark Knight, my friend.

  3. The Captain

    Even though it has been awhile since I went through a heartbreak, I still vividly remember making a conscious decision to hate ex’s favorite things after a break-up. It really sucks, but is almost unavoidable.

    I remember having to avoid some of my favorite things, like Depeche Mode, Super Mario Brothers 3, Seinfeld, Blueberry Hill, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, miniature golf, vodka tonics, and worst of all Imo’s Pizza. Luckily, I didn’t stay away forever.

    Even though the last time I saw My Girl was probably with my sister on my mom’s VCR, I still remember that scene. The Reverse Thomas J is fantastic analogy. Glad to see the break-up didn’t kill your creativity.

  4. RØB

    I promise not to hold it agin’ you as long as you go see it at the Hi-Pointe.

    P.S. Free popcorn at the Hi-Pointe with ticket purchase, so says their marquee. Best sound, best bathrooms, and best popcorn of any theatre in St. Louis. It’s a no-brainer.

  5. Janet

    The book version of My Girl is probably the book I’ve read the most in life.

    Your list is kinda hilarious in that if there were no label on it, I would have absolutely no idea what they have in common other than being pretty much awesome.

  6. Sorry RØB. IMAX.

    Thankfully Imo’s is one aspect of this that makes me smile. I need my weekly Special sub, cold!

  7. And Janternet, I ended up having TONS of fun making this list. These are all things that made me tear up at least once. So silly!

  8. Gage D.

    Great list for sure. And some things you should continue to avoid like Rob said. Yankees suck (not the slave liberating ones, the baseball team).

    Things I’ve had to avoid after difficult breakups are: bagels and lox, Method Man, Burberry Perfume (I’ve caught so much flack for even knowing what burberry is), Mardi Gras, Hurricanes, and volunteer work.

  9. Emily

    Yup. Here’s an abbreviated list – NY City, Writers (I’m a writer for gosh sake!), Filmmakers (hard to avoid in LA), Ryan Adams (who i LOVE), Baseball (that’s ok), South Carolina, Clemson, South Carolina, Clemson football team – especially the little orange bear pawprint, Pot, Kimchee (sp? – korean food), ricemakers, hot dogs in mac & cheese, tuna in rice, cab drivers (hard to avoid in NYC), Momo’s Pizza (“pizza as big as your head” was the slogan, Montana Road in Santa Monica CA, The intersection of La Brea and 9th in LA, Big Wangs sports bar, Trust fund kids (especially this), people who went to jewish summer camp (no offense to anyone jewish, i mean, my mom is jewish, so technically so am i), the song “Wonderwall”, the song “Live Forever”, Pocket-sized notebooks….. ok the list could go on a lot longer. I’m going to stop.

    Stupid relationships.

    Oh! Oh! And MOBY!

  10. Volunteer work and Moby? Amazing. You guys are so awesome. 🙂

  11. Tony

    I have liked about 85% of the guys you have dated. Having known you for so long (15 years now!) I have noticed something. Being as independant, awe-inspiring, and well….smart…AS HELL, you do the reverse Thomas J. from the get go.

    You liked the Beatles and The Clash before you dated anybody. You liked beer since I can remember. Being independant, you can still love all of these. No guy holds the copywrite to these bands or products. Plus, I have never known somebody who can qoute authors I have NEVER heard of (I think that is AMAZING). Plus, how many people in our generation can say they have the education you have? How many people can say they beat TEAMS in trivia pursuit? Just think about what the guys are saying.

    They can’t like: -Smart women -Vonnegut -Real World -Wonder Years (wink-wink) -Back patio’s -Des Peres 14 Cinema -Honda Accords -2×4 beers -Tetris -Hoodies -Adopted people -Mizzou shorts -White Castles -ENGLAND -Myspace -Books -Swear words -Saying “YAY” -and a whole lot more

    It is not them who can cease all memories. You too have many defining things about you. You have substance, they have style.

  12. Aw, I love you Tony! Thank you!

    Luckily the Reverse Thomas J. is temporary… you only have to hate those things until you’re over that person.

    Like, I LOVE the Beatles. But when I was sad about Tim, I would sit in your parent’s basement and look at all those posters and think about Tim’s posters and get sad. It’s just a coping mechanism to avoid getting sad more than I should.

    You me Katy drinky soon. And LOLOLOLOL WONDER YEARS HAHAHAA I love you.

  13. Pingback: Go Shortcake, It’s Your Birthday | Secretly Stephie

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