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  • My first boyfriend’s name was Joe, and we met at fat camp. At the tender age of 14, we fell in "like" during a rafting trip, squeezing into a double tube and floating down the river, chubby hand in chubby hand.

    Joe and I “dated” for the remainder of the summer – meaning we made out for forty minutes each night in a bush and ate stowaway chocolate bars we bought for $20 off the camp's black market. (This black market really existed, as real as our hunger for sugar.) We cried when we said goodbye to each other – I lived in New York, he lived in Virginia – but besides one post-camp phone call, we never spoke again.

    Fast forward ten years to 2006. MySpace rules every second of everyone's free time. I spend most of my time at work in front of my computer stalking ex-boyfriends left and right. Isn’t that why social networking sites exist? Unfortunately, ask and ye shall find. The punk I dated for a month who liked to snort whippets? He now has a baby. My high school sweetheart? Gay. My most recent ex who broke my heart? Currently with a girl who's younger, prettier and stupider than me. (Yes, I looked up her MySpace profile, too. Like you wouldn’t.)

    Clearly not learning my lesson, I thought, “Whatever happened to the first guy, whatshisface?” I miraculously remembered his full name and MySpaced him. His profile came up instantly. He hadn’t changed much, except he got a lot fatter, and also he was dead.

    But I didn’t realize his lack of mortality at first. The first thing I noticed was his lame profile background filled with cars. His “About Me” had several misspellings. In retrospect, this guy was probably always a giant loser.

    Then I scrolled through his wall postings. “We miss you so much, Joe.” Hmm, did he go on a trip? “My prayers are with you, Joe.” Um, did he join the ministry? “Hey everyone, details for Joe’s funeral and wake are as follows…”

    What?! He died? Did he get in a car accident? Get eaten by a shark? Did he overdose? Did the first guy I ever tongued grow up to be a heroin addict?

    I kept scrolling, looking for answers. “If anyone would like to make a donation in Joe’s name at the Cancer society…” Oh, shit, he had cancer? “You were so brave, Joe – we know you’re looking down on all of us from heaven.”

    I suddenly feel responsible, like I gave him the kiss of death during one of our make-out sessions and it gestated in his stomach for ten years. I’m the cancer. And the bitch who called a twenty-four year old kid with cancer a loser.

    I'm sorry, Joe. I'm sorry I judged you on the awfulness of your MySpace profile layout. I wish you had lived long enough to have joined Twitter.

    [A version of this story first appeared on]
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