I remember when my good friend Wade and I doing three things that guys like to do on a Sunday afternoon in the fall. And that is watching football, drinking beer and not giving a shit. Little did we realize that our wives were in the kitchen plotting some devious scheme. We knew they were planning something devious because they hadn’t interrupted us with some inane and needless errand every ten minutes as they usually do. We were highly suspicious.
“Here it comes,” Wade said to me as the two wives descended the stairs, and we girded ourselves for what was to come. They marched in like storm troopers, (Wades, wife LuAnne and my bride Brunhilde the taskmaster,) stood at attention right in front of the TV set and said with the air of authority as if the right hand of God Almighty had proclaimed it: “YOU HAVE WATCHED FOOTBALL FOR 12 SOLID WEEKS EACH WEEKEND! NEXT WEEKEND WE ARE ALL GOING TO THE MALL OF AMERICA IN MINNEAPOLIS FOR A WEEKEND OF SHOPPING!” We were both trying to listen to the play by play because the wives were blocking the video portion and the best that we both could mutter was “get out of the way, we are missing the game.”
Only afterward, did we turn to one another and say: “what just happened?” OK, we had been outmaneuvered, and we were going to have to take our medicine. Now the Mall of America is the largest shopping center in the world. Certainly, there would be a sports bar that Wade and I could spend some time while the wives did the shopping. But we were expected to trudge along dutifully, waiting at the changing rooms, buying lunches, and carrying armsful of booty to the trunk of the car. When we were given a bit a rein, we would sneak off to get a cold foamy beverage as part of our mall survival technique.
I expected it and was prepared for it. It wasn’t until Mrs. ALL AMERICA MALL, Brunhilde the Taskmaster started to make unreasonable requests that the day that day deteriorated for me.
“I am going to buy a new set of dishes for the house. A lot of our old ones are chipped and cracked, some are broken and we no longer have a full set.”
“Okay” I said, “do it!”
Now, at this point, the men reading this will think that the conversation is over and that the matter is settled. After all, we have a statement by the wife as to what she wants to and intends to do, and no objections were raised from the husband whatsoever. It should be settled, . . . .right?
WRONG!!!! IT CAN’T BE THAT EASY!!
Brunhilde says: “I want you to come and look at them.”
Here is where it starts to deteriorate folks. Because I don’t want to look at the dishes. You men have all been there before. What is going to happen, if you say you don’t like the dishes? Easy. She is going to say you don’t know anything about dishes anyway. If you say they are fine, she repeats the phrase that you don’t know anything about dishes anyway. Now I ask you, what possible reason was I even there unless it was pure punitive? Was my help really needed? The answer to that is a resounding NO!
So, with this in mind, I told her I didn’t care to see the dishes. She did not like this. I then told her I didn’t care what they looked like as long as the food on the plate was good, hot and plentiful. At this point, my more astute and perceptive friend Wade was poking me in an effort to make me shut up before I got in deeper. Among my many attributes, at that point, sensible was missing. Brunhilde liked this statement even less. I was not scoring any points here and even Wade was rolling his eyes like I had overdosed on my stupid pills this morning.
“Don’t you think the set we have now is pretty bad and needs to replaced?” Brunhilde asked in her best Nazi interrogator voice.
But as Wade is so quick to remind me: I was too stupid to grasp that opportunity to save myself. Instead, I simply stated the truth, that I didn’t even remember what our old plates look like. (Sadly, at the time this was the truth.)
Brunhilde’s mouth dropped open and she looked at me like I had just handed her a plateful of rat turds. LuAnne gave Brunhilde a look of sympathy that you would give only if her husband had confessed to being an ax-murderer.
“AFTER EIGHT YEARS YOU CAN’T TELL WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE? YOU JUST ATE OFF OF THEM LAST NIGHT!!CAN’T YOU REMEMBER WHAT THEY LOOKED LIKE?”
“Yeah, they looked like chicken and rice and asparagus, cuz that’s what was on them,” I said in my most smart-alecky way
Then, to prove my point, I turned to Wade, and asked him it remember the pattern on his plate. Wade looked at me like he wanted to put his hands aroung my neck and strangle the life out of me for putting him in this position. He clearly wanted to stay out of this one. He stood there like I had asked him to name of the emperors of the Chinese Ming dynasty in order.
“Uh, . . . . I think they have some yellow on them . . . . .or maybe green . . . . don’t they?”
I had proved my point. Such things are not crucial to men any more than the brand of oil filter on the car is to a woman. (It’s a Fram p-37) That didn’t mean I wasn’t still in trouble and not I had just implicated my friend. Brunhilde and LuAnne were going around like they were searching for some kind of support group to join for wives with terminally stupid husbands.
Wade grabbed me and escorted me to the nearest watering hole where I was forced to buy the beer the rest of the afternoon because I had made him look almost as stupid as I had proved myself to be.
A week later the new dishes arrived at our home by UPS. They are real nice. . . . . I guess.