Down East 2013 ©
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Maine has one of the highest divorce rates  among men in the United States.
Higher than Nevada.
Higher than California.
Way higher than New York.
In fact, Maine men split from their spouses more frequently than residents of any other state except Arkansas, where it’s legal to marry close relatives and farm animals. Maine women do considerably better, preserving the bonds of matrimony at a rate well above the national average.
Which doesn’t make much sense. If males are casting off the old ball and chain at a record pace, doesn’t that mean their partners are ending up divorced at an exactly equal rate? I can understand some variation in the numbers in states that allow same-sex marriage, but in Maine, a man has no other options when it comes to choosing somebody to divorce than picking a woman.
I’ll leave that numerical anomaly to the statisticians. Instead, I’ll devote myself to the more important question of why the male divorce rate in Maine is unusually high. One answer could be that Maine allows people to get divorced even if they’re not married. This creates a lot of break-ups among Facebook friends, long-distance service providers, and happy hour customers who discover the bartender is watering down the drinks. Also, many of our politicians are divorced from reality, which apparently counts in the numbers.
But I think there’s a more significant cause of this rash of male marital ruination. According to new research conducted by the University of Maine Institute for Research Conducted Soley for the Purpose of Appearing to Uphold Absurd Conclusions, the reason more Maine men get divorced than guys from other places is because boys from the Pine Tree State are generally immature, self-centered and obnoxious.
They steal each other’s expensive racing lobster boats .
They get drunk, climb on top of a train  and fall asleep, only to awaken miles away from where they started.
They take banned drugs and get suspended from Major League Baseball .
They announce they’re running for mayor  of Portland.
I’m not saying Maine women never do anything weird . They do. But it’s not the norm.
With guys, it’s more like they get up in the morning (or early afternoon), stretch, burp, fart and think, “I wonder if this would be a good day to go pantless .”
Or maybe they say, “I think this might be the right time to rob a Portland bank , while the lobby is full of manly men  intent on beating the crap out of me in order to impress any passing women, so they can marry them and then get divorced.”
Just kidding with these absurd examples. There’s no evidence that Maine men ever think about their plans for the day in such detail. If they did, they wouldn’t attempt to do things like import an ailing elephant  to Maine for recuperation and a winter vacation.
They wouldn’t set off an explosion  in a hot air balloon.
And they wouldn’t be trying to cure an infestation  of Lyme Disease-causing deer ticks on Islesboro with guns.
Everybody knows the best way to kill ticks is with tick grenades. Or exploding hot-air balloons. You can also use a number of drugs banned by Major League Baseball.
I’m kidding again, of course. No one in their right mind would ever give a tick steroids. If they did, you’d divorce them. Uncontested. Alimony. Child support. The house, the car and the scrapbook of all those clippings from the time he got drunk and fell asleep on top of that train.
This inability of Maine men to behave responsibly may be the cause of the state’s unseemly divorce rate, but it could have a hitherto unforeseen benefit. I mean, other than allowing me to use a highfalutin’ word like “hitherto” for which I get paid extra. The local males’ tendency toward irrationality may form the basis of a solution to the most taxing problem  currently facing our elected leaders, namely how to divide up the 1st and 2nd congressional districts in as equal a fashion as possible. The answer is to ignore the traditional method of splitting up the state, which involves politics. Instead, the re-districting experts should rely on sex.
Under my plan, all the women in Maine would live in the 1st District, which would consist of Freeport, Kittery, the Old Port and the Maine Mall. OK, there’d also be some flower gardens, cinemas specializing in chick flicks, and restaurants that serve stuff made from yogurt.
Men would be confined to the 2nd District, which would include all bars without ferns, sports facilities, sporting good stores, drag strips, strip clubs, ATV dealers, retailers selling big-screen TVs, and convenience stores.
And anyplace with ticks. We’ll take the sick elephant, too.
According to the Census , this would give the 1st District slightly more people than the 2nd, but the men could even out that difference by agreeing to accept female Jell-O wrestlers, motherly types who make terrific meatloaf, and woman bartenders who understand the concept of serving excessively large cocktails.
Also, the state’s divorce rate would decline to nothing, since all mingling of the sexes would, by definition, be illicit, requiring participants in such liaisons to sneak across the heavily fortified border between the districts, which would consist of long strips of seedy motels that charge by the hour.
I’m hearing complaints. Not romantic enough, they say. OK, OK, I suppose we could allow some cheapo florist shops in between the motels. A perfumery. Maybe a store that specializes in cheap wine in expensive-looking bottles. A cheesy jewelry outlet store.
But I can see where this is leading. Before long, couples would be eloping out of state to get married (just like gays and lesbians do now), and not long after their return to Maine, they’d wake up with a ferocious hangover, wondering what the hell possessed them to party like that. Then, they’d notice the gold-plated stainless-steel ring on their left hands and think, “Uh oh.”
Before long, Maine’s divorce rate would be even higher than Arkansas.
Al Diamon will accept proposals of the non-matrimonial kind at firstname.lastname@example.org .