I met my ex-husband, Earl, in 2005. At the time, I didn't foresee how my world would be turned upside down over the next 2 years, or I probably would never have married him.
We met in an online game called World of Warcraft. He was a Dwarven ranger, and I was a Night Elf druid. Our interracial love was forbidden, but, naive as we were, we didn't let that stop us. Our romance was a whirlwind; a passionate orgy of mind, soul, and power-leveling.
You see, Earl was a gold farmer—he spent long hours in the game, what they call “grinding,” for gold and expensive items. He would then sell the gold and items for real world currency. I was intrigued by this; I had never been with a man that had an honest to goodness J-O-B. Call me a trailer park queen, it's true, LOL. Most of the guys I've shacked up with have been unemployed losers many years my senior, but you try to find another way to fund both your WoW and scratch-off addictions at the same time. It's just not possible—that was, until Earl came along.
Fast forward 3 months. Earl and I had been grinding together for long enough that we knew the spark was there—the way he pulled aggro was just so sexy. My healing spells and buffs similarly bewitched him, and it wasn't long before he popped the question. “What do you say we elope and you move into my mom's trailer with me?”, he belched over Teamspeak during a particularly energizing raid of Onyxia's Lair. There's no doubt, Earl had a way with words, and I immediately accepted. Besides, my then-boyfriend didn't play World of Warcraft, and wouldn't know a Lightforged Blade from a Dirty Murloc Sock. LOL.
The room in Earl's mom's trailer was small but comfortable. The mold wasn't that bad, and, even though Earl understated his weight by 200 lbs, and overstated his height by a foot or more, I couldn't be happier. We would sit side by side, farming gold and chugging Mountain Dew for days at a time. We would only get up to use the facilities, a hole cut in the corner of the room, which diverted the excrement to...well who knows where really? I'm sure it was fine.
Anyway, between sessions of power-gaming and extremely energetic and passionate lovemaking (Earl was overweight and short, but Mountain Dew has a way of granting supernatural prowess to even those less blessed,) Earl would raid his mom's cupboard for food. His snack of choice? Sardines. Polar Brisling Sardines Smoked in Olive Oil, to be precise.
Every time he would peel the transparent lid from the can, the room would fill with the strong smell of burnt woodchips. Apparently the sardines are smoked over real wood. Occasionally Earl would slip me a fish or two, and I must admit to growing fond of them. Their taste was only mildly fishy, and the smoke flavor was delightful. I could do without the hard tails occasionally poking my gums, but the Night Elf druid inside of me was unperturbed. After all, I specialized in nature spells and had maxed out both my fishing and cooking professions; the crunch of a little tail here and there was not a dealbreaker. The fish were firm, but plump, and not particularly flaky—I was not a sardine aficionado but Earl used to tell me that this was a difficult combination of traits to find.
Soon after we completed Blackrock Spire for the 500th time, I received the worst news of my life. Earl revealed that he had never been in love with me, and that he was only using me to grow his gold farming business. With nearly $100/month in earnings, the money was rolling in, and I had apparently overstayed my welcome. The Burning Crusade expansion of WoW had granted him healing skills of his own, and he no longer needed me to provide support.
Earl kicked me to the curb the next morning, but was nice enough to let me raid his mom's pantry before leaving. To tell the truth, in the 2 years that I lived with Earl, I had not seen his mom even a single time, but the pantry was always stocked with Polar Brisling Sardines in Olive Oil, and for that I was thankful.
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