Category Archives: Marriage

What You Doin’ in the Bathroom?

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My wife is always late. But sometimes the slipper is on the other shoe, and she was banging on the bathroom door last Tuesday for me to hurry up.

“What are you doing in there?” she asked. “We have to meet Millie and Bob at the popsicle festival now!”

“Well,” I haven’t primped for a day and a half,” I said, “and things are already getting out of control in here.”

“What’s that supposed to mean? The waffle-cone rodeo starts in fifteen minutes!”

“Okay, okay!” I cried. “My routine is kind of private. Must you stand right outside the door listening?”

“I’d be interested in hearing what your finicky grooming procedure actually is,” I heard her mutter as she walked away from the bathroom door.

Okay. I’ll admit it. It takes me longer than it used to to go out in public.

To get ready, I have to scrape my earwax with a key.

I have to shave my ear lobes and drums.

I have to insert my tooth plate.

I have to cover my tooth plate with a plastic white tooth-covering protective and decorative drape, which I bought from an infomercial for just $19.95. And after having called the informercial’s toll-free number, I received a second protective tooth tarp for free except for having to pay for shipping.

I have to rub wet coffee grounds into my goatee to eliminate the grey.

I have to dust and paste my eyebrows.

I have tamp my nasal hair.

I have to rub coconut oil on my elbow.

I have to tape the skin tag under my arm.

Finally I was ready to go. My wife was waiting in the car, beeping occasionally.

We were halfway down the street when I gasped in alarm. “We have to go back! I forgot my three-pronged photographic selfie crane!”

We finally met up with Bob and Millie. “Sorry we’re late,” I told Bob. “The wife overslept.”



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Weird Is the New Nice

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My son and I dropped my wife off at the door of the grocery store, and then we parked in the lot to wait for her. Biff was sitting in the back seat.

It was a warm Saturday afternoon and my window was open. The passenger window in the car next to me was open, too, and sitting by himself in that car was a young boy of about 11 or 12. He was probably waiting for his mom.

“How are you doing?” I said unthinkingly through my window to the boy. The boy stiffened and looked straight ahead.

“DAD!” hissed my son. “What the heck are you doing?”

“Why? What’s the matter?” I said, looking at Biff’s reflection in the rearview mirror.

“You don’t DO that!”

“Do what?” I asked.

“Don’t say hi to a strange kid. Don’t you know that’s weird and creepy?”

“He doesn’t look very strange,” I replied.

“No, YOU’RE strange!” Biff whispered to me behind his cupped hand.

I sighed. “Yeah, I guess in these days you’re probably right. I was just trying to be friendly.”

“You’re going to get yourself arrested,” said Biff as he slunk down in his seat and looked away.

I rolled up my window.

After my wife was finished buying her cucumbers, she got back into the car. As we drove off, I told her what happened and asked her opinion. “I side with Biff,” she said. “You’re whacked.”

Okay. I understand. I used to be nice. Now I’m just weird.

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That Bugger Didn’t Even Write a Prayer

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Ah, Christmastime.

Being a righteous person, I decided to lead my family in a religious devotional reading on Christmas Eve in advance of the gift-ripping event the next day.

“Sit down,” I yelled at my adult kids. “We’re having a family homily time before dinner. So if you don’t listen with your mouths shut, you can’t eat.”

“How can we eat with our mouths shut?” asked Biff.

“You can open your mouths to eat, but only after I read this family devotional booklet that I picked up at the Substance Mart checkout line.”

“Are we allowed to breathe?” asked Rhonda.

“Funny,” I growled. “Now pipe down while I read this inspiring biblical story.”

I glanced at the date on the page. December 24. I had previously noted that many of the devotional messages were written about famous holy people, such as Saint Augustine, Papa John, and Louie Louie. “Darn,” I said as I looked at the Christmas Eve page. “The bugger who wrote this one didn’t even include a prayer!”

My daughter Lisa made a suggestion. “Why don’t you say your own prayer?” she asked.

“Okay,” I retorted defiantly. “I just might do that. Just watch me. So now you all have to bow your heads.”

I bowed my head but kept my eyes open to see if the other heads were bowed. “Dear God,” I said. “Thank you for Christmas, and thank you that we can read this devotional booklet from the Substance Mart express lane. And thank you that when we are knocked down by life’s troubles we can pop back up like inflatable, Bozo-the-Clown punching-bag toys. Amen.”

Bart snorted, “What? Bozo? Are you kidding? That’s a prayer?” Lisa, Biff, and Rhonda looked at each other and snickered.

“That’s enough guffawing out of you all! We’re reading this over my dead body! And it’s a serious story! Not funny!”

My wife got up to turn off the beeper on the stove, because the toast casserole was done. Biff, Bart, Rhonda, and Lisa continued chuckling and chatting during the temporary distraction. I realized I had lost control of the family Bible-reading fellowship time, but I plowed ahead anyway.

“Lena Horne had trials in her life,” I read. “But because of her cheekbones, she pressed on.”

My wife brought the toast casserole to the table. Everyone started eating. I gave up and started eating, too.

Maybe next year family devotional time will go better. I can always pray.


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R U Liss Ning?

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“Okay, Blair,” said my wife. “I’m going out and I won’t be back until late this evening. I have to run to the store, to the dentist, to the police station to pick up my fingerprints, to the car repair shop to get a cup of onions, to the insurance office for my glasses adjustment, and then to the beauty parlor to put air in our tires.”

“Mmm hmm,” I said as I tried to compose an email to an employment agency.

“So while I’m gone, it’s very important while I’m gone that you do a couple of things for me while I’m gone.”

“Okay,” I said mechanically, my eyes intent on editing my email.

“Are you listening?”

I glanced at her. “What?” I said. “Are you kidding? Of course I ate lunch.”

“You’re not. Listen, I have to tell you some important things,” she said.

I made eye contact. That convinced her I was listening.

But I wasn’t.

She continued. “So first, I need you to complete and scan the medical form from the doctor that I picked up and… blah… blur…  mumble… jumble… words… words… noises… yiminy… yamina…”

“Okay,” I said to my wife as I reread my email for the third time:

Dear Human Sources,

Thank you for rejecting me as a semi-tractor trailer truck washer. I appreciate your time in bothering to respond…

My wife continued, “…and after you’ve scanned that document I gave you… adda… babba… rhubarb… soliloquy… potsdam…”

“Yeah. Mmm, hmmpf,” I said, not looking up, still rereading my email.

“I need you to such… but… so… and… zither… lather… saucer… dish soap…” she continued.

“Mmm. Umm. Hmm? Zmm,” I said.

“Bye,” said my wife as she shut the door behind her.

I looked up. “Bye,” I said. “Wait, what did you say? What am I supposed to do with the horse pump?”

But she was gone.

On my desk I saw her documents and a cryptic note she had left me. So I did the best I could with her instructions.

I sent her private medical records to my son’s college newspaper.

I glued three of my wife’s decorative teacups to a bookshelf.

I put a five-pound bag of flour in the oven at 400 degrees.

When my wife came home and saw what I did, she was not happy.

“I tried!” I pleaded.

“You didn’t listen!” she cried. ” Now I have to spend extra time undoing all of your mistakes.”

“Can you forgive me?” I asked, surreptitiously glancing back at my computer.

She said, “I honestly… wallaby… pakistan… salvo… mystic… spatula…”

I wasn’t listening, but I did hear her final few words as she left the room. “Oh well,” she sighed. “I still love you.”

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Traveling Braggarts

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“Hi Joe,” I said to my neighbor as I opened the mailbox by my driveway.

“Hi Blair,” Joe said as he fertilized his begonia. “Hey, by the way, I’ve been meaning to talk to you.”

“Yeah?” I said.

“Yeah,” he continued. “Madge and I are going out of town Tuesday, and we wondered if you could feed Ralph again.”

“Oh,” I said. I was silent.

“Yeah,” said Joe. “You already know the habitual and mechanical performance of the established procedure.”

“Yes,” I told Joe. “You give me the house key, I disarm your burglar system three times daily, fill Ralph’s ferret dish, and walk him mornings and evenings.”

“Right,” Joe said. “Ferrets need exercise. Ralph needs fresh air. And of course he needs food, ha ha! We’ll be home in 12 days.”

“Oh,” I said. There was a pause.

Joe continued. “We decided to go to Stockholm this month. We haven’t been there yet. We had such a great time in Kinshasa on that safari, and now we wanted to see the land of the midnight luminous celestial body around which the earth and other planets revolve. And when we return, we’re going to Cocoa Beach. I mean we’ll need another vacation after all this traveling, ha ha ha!”

Ha ha ha, I thought, remaining silent.

“Where are you and your wife going for vacation this year?” Joe asked conversationally.

“Well, Joe, my wife and I aren’t going anywhere this year. We have no money. The last time we went anywhere was a 2010 day trip to the Wigglerville Pants Festival.”

“Oh. And how did you like it?” Joe asked politely.

“It rained. Listen, Joe, have you thought of taking Ralph with you on one of your extravagant escapades?”

“Oh, no,” said Joe. “Ralph suffers with allergies. When we took him to Beijing he experienced terrible mucus.”

“Joe, I regret to tell you that the feral odor of your rodent aggravates my irritable bowel syndrome. Plus I don’t need any additional appreciative refrigerator magnets reminding me of your odysseys.”

“OK, Blair. That’s fine. I get it. No more magnets.” Joe was quiet. His foot nudged a couple decorative lawn stones back into his mosaically landscaped flowerbed. “Well, maybe your wife can feed Ralph for us?”

I sighed. “I’ll ask her…” I said.

For the next 12 days, my wife and I took turns crossing the street to cater to Ralph’s mammalian needs. We received a postcard from Joe and Madge saying they extended their trip so they could visit Reykjavík.

Each evening, while the neighbors were gone, my wife and I cuddled in front of the TV to watch The Walking Channel.

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Security Pants

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“Well that was embarrassing,” I said to my wife as I slipped my shoes back on and began to tie them.

“What?” she said.

“You didn’t see?”

“No,” she said. “What are you talking about?”

“Well,” I said, “after you went through the x-ray body scanner and were picking up your cell phone and lipstick from those gray plastic bins, I was going through the electronic frisker myself.”

“Yeah, I know,” she said. “You were behind me. I wasn’t watching you though. Was there a problem?”

“Not until I was retrieving my wallet, my keys, and my Kleenex tissues from the conveyor. Since we were in a bit of a rush, I tried to grab everything with both hands at once, and my pants fell down.”

“Well, that’s awkward,” she said, looking distractedly for her water bottle.

“I thought so, too,” I said.

“Why’d that happen?” she asked as we stood up from the bench where we were sitting.

“Because I didn’t have my belt on,” I replied as we picked up our carry-on bags and started walking toward our gate. “The TSA guy told me to take my belt off, of course, and then I had to let go of my pants to pick up all my stuff before the next guy’s stuff pushed all my stuff off the end of the conveyor and onto the floor.”

“So your pants fell down. You’re odd, Blair,” said my wife. “Why don’t you wear pants that fit you instead of baggy ones from the 1990s that are way too big that were handed down to you from our son’s fat friend?”

“I dunno,” I said.

“Did they fall all the way down?”

“No,” I continued, “but they were falling down farther and farther as I walked closer to the bench where I could finally sit and start to pull myself back together. Luckily I’m wearing this oversized hand-me-down tucked-out T-shirt from the 1990s, which reaches to the middle of my thighs, so I don’t think it was too obvious to anyone but me that my pants were falling off.”

“You are really weird,” said my wife. “Luckily you didn’t trip and fall on your burrito.”

“Yeah,” I said.

We finally arrived at the departure area and sat down to await our boarding announcement. I watched my wife as she sat next to me reading her book, and I thought about how patient she was with my foibles. I’m sure it isn’t easy being married for so many years to a ludicrous clown.

When we finally arrived at our destination, I bought some bright red suspenders at the Barnum and Bailey store.

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Tumbling Cameraman

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“Hey, Ed,” I said to my friend on the phone. “How was your once-in-a-lifetime family vacation to St. Maarten?”

“It was disgusting,” said Ed. “Once is right. Never again. I’m glad to be back.”

“Oh,” I said. “That’s too bad. What happened?”

“Well, for one thing I broke my arm and my camera. I’ll have the cast removed in 8 weeks.”

“Spill,” I told Ed.

“Well, in St. Maarten there’s an airport that’s adjacent to the beach.”

“Yeah,” I said.

“And I wanted to take a video of the planes taking off and landing. I thought it would be interesting to be so close to the action.”

“Yeah,” I said.

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“So I walked across the beach and crossed the highway near the runway. I stood there by the fence waiting for a plane.”

“Okay,” I said.

“And then a plane landed and the exhaust blew me across the highway and under a parked bus near a taco stand.”

“Did you get any good video footage?” I asked.

“No. Just the sky, the ground, my foot, someone’s elbow, and a taco.”

“Whose elbow?” I asked.

“Maybe mine, I’m not sure. Listen, I really can’t stay on the phone right now. The rental-car company is supposed to call me because my son accidentally dropped the car keys from his kayak into the ocean. The rental place says I have to pay to replace the door lock, the trunk lock, and the entire ignition lock cylinder assembly. It should cost me several thousand dollars.”

“Gee, that’s too bad,” I told Ed.

“Plus my daughter’s cell phone was sucked up in a street-sweeping machine, my wife lost her credit card down an elevator shaft, and the automatic teller machines on the island broke so I had to fly to Barbados to get cash.”


Ed continued. “And on the way home, the lady next to me on the plane tossed her cookies on my magazine, the car battery died in the airport parking lot, and I wet my pants in the Quickie Mart.”

“That sounds memorable,” I said. “Did anything else happen?”

“Yes, but I don’t have time to tell you about it right now.”

“Okay,” I said. “Maybe later. One more question. Did anything good happen?”

“Yeah,” said Ed. “I’m still alive.”

I’m glad Ed thinks that still being alive is good.

My wife asked me yesterday when we were going on our vacation of a lifetime. I told her to talk to Ed first.

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