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You know what one of the problems of working for the Man is? You can’t tell the Man, “Oh, I’m sorry, I know I said I’d be available to write a bunch of Webcast scripts on short notice, but I don’t think you understand just how wacky Mary Worth is right now.”

Stupid Man.

Anyway, without further ado, I present to you: Mary Worth’s five stages of grief.

1. Startlement

2. Weepiness

(Wait a minute, he gave them to her … on their wedding night? Ew! I mean … ew! Must … not … visualize … Mary Worth’s … wedding night…)

3. “If I can’t see it, maybe it won’t be true”

4. Rage

(John Voight is Mary Worth!)

5. Blank-eyed numbness

And of course, there’s the corollary: Rita’s five stages of keeping her drunk ass from being thrown out on the street.

1. Drunkeness

2. Drunken slack-jawed incomprehension

3. Drunken self-justification

(Whew! Thank God you’re all right. We were worried there for a minute.)

4. Drunken begging for forgiveness

5. Drunken eagerness to please

Where’s denial in all this, you may ask? Well, over in Mark Trail, we’re learning that denial ain’t just a river in the Lost Forest:

Boy, I can’t see anything going wrong in this scenario. You know, there’s an awful lot of Mark Trail-ian sins I’ll be able to forgive if this storyline ends with El Presidente here gone completely mad, foaming at the mouth and lashing out insanely with inhuman strength at anyone with the misfortune to cross his path. It’ll be just like the end of Their Eyes Were Watching God — though there won’t be any black people, this being Mark Trail and all. Actually, I suppose his lackey’s scheming wife might beat the doomed lunatic to death with an oar or something, saving everybody and clearing the way to that suburban split-level ranch for the evil couple. It would be the perfect crime! Except for all the biting.