the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

What Mario Lopez Taught Me About The Five Emotional Stages Of Divorce

Just because I haven’t been writing a lot on my blog doesn’t mean I haven’t been online. Ever since Sophia and I filed for divorce, I’ve been receiving advice from online friends near and far about how to proceed with my life.  Some of this advice has been as wise as that of Buddha, while other tidbits have been pure idiocy.

I should take up yoga.
I should keep my distance from Sophia.
I should have rebound sex with women born no later than the Clinton Administration.
I should take up French cooking.
I should write a book.
I should travel.
I should date nice girls.
I should not date at all.
I should run in a half marathon.
I should go to “Burning Man.”
I should get a tattoo.
I should start a blog for divorcing men.
I should start binge drinking  (another serious suggestion, proof that I have some really bad friends).

To complicate matters, I have my own internal voices putting THEIR two cents into the hat, and as usual — my head, my heart, and my dick are not on the same page.

This morning I had breakfast with Danny from Jew Eat Yet.  He has been a great blogging friend since 2005, a super-intelligent guy, with a broad range of knowledge.  I knew any advice that HE would give me would be something worth listening to in earnest, unlike some of my OTHER readers.

As we ate what is considered “The Best Pancakes in LA” (at Du-Pars), I talked about my hopes and fear, and some of the issues still remaining with Sophia.   Danny rubbed his chin, like a clever rabbi, and told me how divorce is like a death.  He explained that  I would need to go through a transition period of grief, namely the Five Emotional Stages of Divorce: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.

I found myself unable to relate to what he was saying.

“You must still be in the denial stage,” he noted. “It’ll come to you.  Give it time and you will understand.”

Our conversation has been so weighty, and the pancakes so heavy in our stomachs, that we decided to take a little walk.   As we strolled over to the Grove shopping center next to the Farmer’s Market, we discussed the new fall TV season.   It was a relief to talk about nonsense.

We noticed a crowd gathering in the center square adjacent to the Barnes and Noble bookstore.   We went over to take a look.   It was TV personality Mario Lopez doing a remote for the show EXTRA, interviewing a few special guests, including the infamous Snooki from Jersey Shore.

Danny and I stood there for twenty minutes, watching the crew — the high strung producer, the bored sound man, the unionized grips eating donuts.  Mario Lopez seemed to be a seasoned professional.  The director would give him one quick rehearsal for each segment, and then he would jump right in.

As I admired Mario Lopez’s TV skills, I thought about my faltering Instagram photography.  In New York, I was taking fun photos of NYC life, but in Los Angeles, my photos have been  stale.   There are few opportunities for a spontaneous photo in a city where you are always driving in your car.

But here was an opportunity to redeem myself.   What could be more LA than a photo of Mario Lopez, with his perfect hair, teeth, and body?

I took dozens of Mario Lopez photos from different angles, searching for the ideal Mario Lopez instagram shot.  And as I melted there under the hot LA sun, I had a revelation.  It was as if God himself was sending me a message through the expressive facial gesturing of TV personality Mario Lopez.  When I looked at Mario Lopez speaking into his microphone, I was understanding what Danny had said earlier about divorce.   It was his face… Mario Lopez’s Hollywood chiseled face.   His facial expressions were like elements in a Powerpoint Presentation on The Five Emotional Stages of Divorce: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.






I understand.  And now I must move on to the next stage.   Thank you Mario Lopez.


  1. Tuck

    That anger photo creeps me out. I bet Mario doesn’t eat pancakes…too many carbs!…yet another life lesson from Mario.

    Maybe time to focus on Kathy Griffin.

  2. V-Grrrl @ Compost Studios

    Forget the yoga. I think you should come to Virginia.

  3. The Honourable Husband

    Danny is a wise man.

    Neil, are you still in denial? If so, you may be teetering on the edge of anger.

    One imagines that an angry Neil would be pretty fearsome. Maybe an angry Neil frightens you. You don’t want to let him out. Maybe you feel that if you are not blameless in your separation, you don’t feel you have the right to any grievances with Sophia.

    Anger is often the hardest step, I observe. WE don’t want to be angry at someone we loved.

    On the other hand, you might be stuck in bargaining. We’ve heard a lot of bargaining talk over the last few months…nay, years. A bargaining Neil could be pretty scary, too. I sense he would would take forever, and hold out for a few more meaningless, but symbolic, concessions. A bargaining Neil could be quite a pain in the ass. Am I right? And bargaining fends off depression–a necessary, but unpleasant, stage.


    P.S. You’re right. Binge drinking is not the answer. But a stiff drink or two with a sympathetic pal can do a chap a power of good. Pancakes are fine, but you can only get so far over a pancake.

  4. Ninotchka


  5. Diana

    Mario is so pretty. I don’t think I would like him.

  6. Kim

    I’m reeling over the suggestion of French cooking. It might be a good vehicle for some healthy anger, though. And it comes with big knives! And lots of wine!

  7. Danny

    I love my Talmudic character here! Did you know that Mario shoots from the Grove every morning? You can join me daily for more spiritual lessons from Mr. Lopez. What a drag that we were only one day late for his interview with Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino–then we REALLY could have learned how to handle women.

  8. Dana

    Please don’t get a tattoo. Unless it’s a rainbow.

  9. Luda

    I don’t care much for Mario Lopez. He looks so much like that Saved by the Bell character A.C. Slater. Like, get your own look, man! You know?

  10. Barnmaven

    This is eerily reminiscent of that old Gary Larson cartoon with the Irish Setter.

    Here, I found it!

  11. Angella

    This made me laugh, Neil. I needed that. 🙂

  12. amiee

    there are so many things i love about you, neil. the numero uno? your ability to learn from the best. by best, i mean mario lopez.

    well, no i don’t really mean that. i stopped watching that kid when saved by the bell ended. what i really love is your voice. don’t change it, not for ads or money or fame and status. let it be just right where it is.

    next time you are back in my neck of the woods, let me know. we may not be here too much longer and i would hate to miss an opportunity to sit down for some pancakes with you. 🙂

  13. Missives From Suburbia

    But did he show you his abs?

  14. Jen

    One time Mario Lopez hit on me at a hotel pool. I was 14 and seriously weirded out. I guess he would have been 18 at the time. Now whenever I see him I think of that day and feel weirded out again.

  15. teahouseblossom

    Mario Lopez is awesome. And I’m sorry that things are all in turmoil, Neil.

  16. Tracy

    As a new widow, I do have to disagree on one point. Divorce is not like death – at least with divorce, you have the luxury of hating your ex.

  17. Suebob

    I know binge drinking isn’t the answer. But one perfectly chilled gin and tonic at Musso & Frank really can’t hurt, can it?

    This is genius, the photos. And that Mario? He’s kind of a pretty boy!

  18. gorillabuns

    Sadly, I’m from the “bad” group where you should drink and cook French food. Smoke a cigarette and lament about how you can find another bottle of wine at 11 o’clock at night.

  19. WebSavvyMom

    –>At least no one suggested you stalk Sophia secretly on Facebook.

    I remembered the stages of grief in college as Deb Always Burps During Aerobics.

    Go figure.

  20. moe/ozma

    Wow, I wonder what kind of moisturizer Mario uses? His skin is slammin.
    What stage are you at now?

    Is divorce exactly like death then? I guess you can get stuck in stages. I’m sorry about your divorce but it sounds like you are coming back around.

    I totally agree with the person who said you should go to Burning Man. I want to go to Burning Man! That’s what I’d do if I got a divorce.

  21. Michael

    haha awesome!

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