Illustration: Adobe Stock

Last month, over a cup of tea, I gave my column a final once-over. After some tweaking, it was good to go. Without another thought I tapped the “send” key.

Apparently, my computer was not willing to do any such thing. I tapped the send key again — and nada! The little blue circle just kept spinning and my brain joined the circle dance.

Numerous attempts to send my column failed. With a growing sense of gloom, I called my IT guru, Abe. After reciting the particulars ad nauseam, Abe guided me through the “unplug this and plug in that routine. Finally, the column went through.

My desktop is fairly new, consequently neither Abe nor I could understand what had happened. We concluded that it was probably a one-time glitch somewhere in the system.

That night (always at night), just as I was drifting off to dream land, I had a thought that literally shocked me awake.

I sat up and thought: “What if my desktop threw a jealous hissy fit because I ordered a new laptop?

Those who know me understand I have some quirks, one being a belief that inanimate objects have feelings and, yes, I give them names.

I had a tussle with myself and reasoned: My faithful desktop, Tilly, serves me well, but I need a laptop for my on-the-go work. She wasn’t being replaced. I promised myself I would give her a little extra love by cleaning her screen in the morning. I know. I’m a little out there. But wait. Before you think I am too weird, there is something that can be learned here.

Let’s take an uncomfortable closer look at this little green monster. Frankly, I don’t know why they preface the phrase with the word “little.” Jealousy when unleashed can cause a tsunami in many lives. We humans are blessed or cursed with all-encompassing and complex emotions — some good, some bad. Jealousy has been put in the bad category — and with good reason.

Jealousy has been around since the beginning of time. Remember the brothers Cain and Abel? Modern scholars believe that the first murder ever committed was by Cain, who was motivated by jealousy — sibling rivalry taken to the max.

C’mon be honest— we all have varying degrees of the little “greenie.” It can be a slight prick when hearing of someone’s good fortune. Or a big knife plunge when we are passed over for an important promotion.

Pathological jealousy can be a torturous emotion for those who are caught in its embrace. One who is pathologically jealous can go off the rails if someone from the opposite sex merely smiles at their partner.

I once knew a gal whose boyfriend was jealous. Can you believe that she felt flattered and equated his love and affection with the degree of jealousy he displayed? And get this: She tried to make him jealous. She became his wife — a battered wife. I met her at the women’s center where I was then employed.

Of course, there is always some degree of curiosity over our current partner’s ex, whether deceased or living. With the advent of social media, we can search for pictures of the ex with hopes that he or she is less attractive. And when we find them lacking in the desirability department, we breathe easy. Watch that little green monster emerge if the ex is good-looking and desirable.

Some folks are jealous over the past. How ridiculous. We can’t rewrite history. Widowed and divorced folks have a difficult time trying to overcome the challenges that come with building a new life and forming a new relationship. When a new partner is jealous, it gets even more complicated. A deceased ex is sometimes elevated to sainthood by the widowed spouse — also another major complication.

Some folks will try to expose what’s wrong in you because their jealousy can’t cope with what’s right about you. The “invalidators” have a way of turning the conversation around, making us out to be sensitive, judgmental and wrong.

Jealousy, rooted in deep-seated insecurity, is that sickening combination of possessiveness, rage and humiliation. It can ruin lives, wreck marriages and other relationships and lead to revenge and even murder.

I wrote this column on my desktop Tilly, rather than my new laptop, Gertie. This should cure Tilly of her insecurities and jealousy — maybe. I will find out when I hit the “send” key.

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Celia Marszal-Iannelli
Celia Iannelli is a native New Yorker enjoying a second career — in 'retirement' — as a freelance writer. She lives in Jamesport.