jimagain

Rants & ramblings of the disaffected

Archive for the month “June, 2011”

After The Melee

Being in a fight with my wife is sort of like being the pinata at a three-year old’s birthday party.

We get in the occasional verbal knock-down, drag-out like many couples but last night was a little more of a nasty confrontation than usual. It was a scene that would have made reality tv viewers blush but may have fit in nicely in a UFC match. I usually opt out to be a non-participant in these no-win debacles of unmitigated fury but its difficult to claim non-combatant status when the punches start flying. The roll-over-and-play-dead ploy lately serves little more than an invitation to incite more ugly reaction. “Come out from under that bed and fight like a man,” she yelled! So I reacted to my verbal bludgeoning with a little tit-for-tat; maybe a little too harshly.

Tempers flared. incendiary things were said. We both demonstrated our ability to sling small, inanimate objects across the living room, like Godzilla running amok. I suppose it’s better to vent our anger out against indiscriminate objects than each other but that is none-the-less a small consolation in the heat of battle. A few moments into the fight she slung something across the room. Not to be out done I picked it up and slung it down again. And then we both, having momentarily run out of infantile displays of immaturity, went into our respective corners. Things went silent. I went to sulk out in the bathroom and slammed the door behind me to announce my self-appointed exile. I’m unsure of how many days I intended to occupy this strong-hold but felt I could hold out at least for two days subsisting entirely on rolls of toilet paper. I sat in silence on the porcelain seat of meditation and reflected. I thought about what had just happened while I cross-examined myself as to my role in the conflict. The instant replay was no less painful than the event.

It seems as soon as a situation reaches that point of critical mass on the emotional level, things get ugly. At some non-discernable tipping point, that old sympathetic nervous system kicks in dumping adrenalin like gasoline-on-a-fire and a tense situation goes ballistic. I don’t know what triggers that old survival instinct switch we call the ‘fight-or-flight’ syndrome but once it hits that emotional crescendo, the restraints are off. It’s like both feet on the accelerator while the brakes are out. I’ve come to the conclusion that the emotional level is not a platform for resolving conflicts or to mitigate hostilities. Looking back, it seems like the whole thing was nothing more that a string of unrelated events each inconsequential on their own, that had transpired. From that, matters simply cascaded downward into a Grand Mal meltdown.

During these debacles, Cletus’ approach is pretty much the same. Cletus is our Great Dane and silent observer in family disputes. He slinks away in my bedroom, tail tucked in. And then he sits up on the bed on his haunches and cowers and looks confused. I caught a glimpse of him during the melee, sitting on the bed with this pitiful look. Sometimes he acts more like a child than a dog. Call me silly but I felt bad for him. I felt bad for her that somehow I had provoked this reaction but I was in no way about to poke my head back into the lion’s den to tell her. I even indulged in a little self-pity for me. And mostly I waited and hoped things would settle down. Eventually they did.

In retrospect, I’m not sure if we resolved anything; we more or less silently agreed to a mutual cessation of hostilities toward each other – or any small objects that might happen to be in the immediate proximity. I am relieved our kids are already grown up an moved out so they didn’t have to see their parents behaving like ….children. All in all it was a pretty successful fight; we both succeeded in acting like overgrown juveniles.

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Men Are Like Sheep

The worst thing you can do to a guy is to give him too many choices. We just get confused! After being told what we can’t do for the first 18 years of our impressionable young lives, we’re just not good at making decisions. That’s why men don’t own 38 pairs of shoes, we just have one…it eliminates stress and keeps things simple for us. Women just like to complicate things. Take colors, for instance. Men, we just have red, blue,  green, yellow, brown, etc. But women? What is ‘mauve’ or ‘chartreuse’?

The other day I went to check out at the grocery store and both lanes at the register were open. Oh, no! I was faced with a choice! What made it so complicated was the fact that both cashiers were women. Suddenly I’m faced with a dilemma. Which lane do I take? If it were guys at the register it’d be no problem. But women?!! What if I pick the wrong lane? Maybe the girl I didn’t pick would take it personal and get really offended. Maybe she’d get angry at me for me picking the other aisle?

Oh, I’m not good enough for you, am I? What is it, you don’t like my shoes?” So she runs out to the mall and buys twelve more pair!”

But men…were like sheep. We are so used to being herded into what we’re supposed to do; we can’t function without someone telling us what to do and how to do it. I blame that on my mother, who was also coincidentally a women. She used to tell me what to do all the time. When I went to school, most of my teachers were women and they ruled with an iron fist. Most fell somewhere between a benevolent dictator to iron-fisted tyrants. I didn’t have a male teacher until the 7th grade…but by that time it had already been indelibly ingrained on my impressionable mind that WOMEN RULED THE UNIVERSE!

That was bad enough but then came …girls! Shudder! I was totally unprepared to deal with the female psyche. Boys like to ‘tinker’ with things…take ‘em apart and put them back together. Girls are different, they like to ‘tinker’ with your ‘thinker’. They enjoy messing with your mind. Boys like dogs because we can understand them. We’re on the same level. Dogs are simple. But cats! Have you ever tried to tell a cat what to do? Cats don’t ‘fetch’ or anything else for that matter! Girls are more like cats …indifferent.

Then came married life! My wife gets mad at me because I don’t think like she does. Duh! I’m a guy. I think like a ‘guy’ because I ‘R’ one. Some may object to using the words ‘guy’ and ‘think’ in the same sentence, they say it’s a contradiction of terms. Me? I don’t know.  The more I think about it, the more confused I get.

What Women Really Think

Ah, the mountains!

I’m enjoying a quiet vacation with the family in the Smokies. Suddenly I’m confronted by a snarling angry she-bear with fangs bared …but enough about my wife. On a weekend trip to the mountains, I fully expected to see a bear, I just didn’t expect to be sitting beside one.

Like many bad experiences, it seemed like a good idea at the time to take some time off and go to the mountains. In retrospect, I spent money we didn’t have and all I accomplished was to make her angry…and they call this a vacation? I could have stayed home and made her mad and spent less money in the process. Next time you want to travel with the family, my suggestion is to drug your wife and don’t wake her up until it’s over and you’re pulling up in the driveway. She will be furious but she’s probably going to be furious anyway so what have you lost?

Whoever said that you’re entitled to one mistake was probably single and naive! Want to know what your wife really thinks about you? Just take a wrong turn and she will let you know in explicit terms. None of this encrypted female-speak where you’re supposed to read her mind. I can’t explain why they think that a poor male is supposed to be able to decipher this. Come on guys, quit pretending! You know  what I’m talking about.

Now it’s just not a coincidence that women are generally able to be miserable and have a bad time while on vacation because they train for it all year-long. One example? Just getting in the car with the family can be fraught with peril and drama. You’re on the road minding your own business and without warning your wife says, “I’m hungry.” Now this isn’t really rocket science here. If you’re hungry, you pick a place to eat, everybody gets full and then you go on. But that would be too easy! We used to eat for survival but now we’ve turned dining out into a quest for satisfaction. The gist of this is since women generally get hungry three times a day, this gives them license to start a fracas as many times.

From here, things deteriorate rapidly. It has nothing to do with getting something to eat, it’s about finding what they want. Women are always looking for something even if they don’t exactly know what it is. That’s why they love to shop and hoard shoes. Most women usually have at least forty-eight pairs; one for each of the multiple personalities that inhabit them.

So being the gullible and sensitive moron you ask the inevitable question, “Where do you want to eat?” To the untrained novice, this appears to be the logical next question. Instead it’s the practical equivalent of hopping through a minefield blindfolded on a pogo stick. So she says, “I don’t care you pick.” Translated, that means that the next 25 suggestions you make will be shot down in flames. She will become increasingly agitated the harder you try to appease her because she expects you to already know just what it is that she wants. She doesn’t know herself but that’s beside the point! And it will become increasing apparent that she does care where she eats. It has nothing to do with being hungry; this is an exercise in humility similar to a public flogging. Symbolically it’s an expression of her overall dissatisfaction of life in general and you in particular. You are simply the designated flogging boy.

Bon appetit! I think that’s French for “you’re in deep doo-doo!”

Really Useful Phone Apps For Men

Smart Phones for Dummies Guide

Oh come on! You have got to be kidding! I just saw that commercial for those wonderful new smart phone app. I’m referring to the one with the cute actress that says, “Where’d ya get that app?” They also throw in some guy actor that gets paid to look interested.

According to the new geek-speak, an app is short for an application. It seems the smarter we get, the fewer the syllables we have to shorten our words; a side effect from becoming too intelligent. I will admit that ‘Smart phones’ and their new apps can do many useful & wonderful things. They’re like these little mini-handheld computers and PDA’s. The average pimple-faced teenager with his baggy jeans hanging down around his knees carries more technology around in his front pocket than NASA had to put a man on the moon. However I am not impressed. A smart phone that can do my taxes, decipher the IRS, understand complicated things like women and math, now I’m interested. Give me a smart phone app that washes the car or takes out the garbage. That’s what I’m saying!

Why pay hundreds of dollars for new technology and expensive data plans that can only do low-tech stuff that Wilma and Betty could do with just a dinosaur and a couple of pulleys? I just don’t see it. I hate to play the spoiler but do we really need a few more expensive gimmicks that don’t really do anything?

Now that you got me going here, let me remind you about all those wonderful gimmicks of yester-year that have gone the way of the stegosaurus. Where do I start? Remember those awful old eight-track players or have you forgotten the VCR’s that everyone had to have but no one could operate just a few years ago? Extinct! Today they’re taking up space in landfills while someone is living lavish like an episode of Lifestyles of the Rich and Fraudulent. The interviewer asks, “How did you get so wealthy?” He’s sipping lemonade on his yacht while the butler wipes his mouth and he says, “I sold eight track players!” I didn’t want to say this but I will since you’ve got me all steamed up; here it comes. Sucker! What about those awful old computers with memory so low it could be counted on an abacus? You know, the ones with the old monitors the size of a pinto? Don’t blush! Take it like a man …or maybe like a gender-neutral pansy! Yeah, you bought one too when it was the latest & greatest! Consumers are so stupid! They also bought those stereo systems the size of a piano that played records! Or cordless phones that weighed as much as a small refrigerator and had a range of …ten feet! And then there were these satellite dishes the size of a James Bond evil villains ego-maniacal space conquest scheme. Let’s face it. We see some fledgling new technology and get greedy for the latest new contraption and our I.Q. takes a nose dive into the ‘Stoo-pid’ Pool. Yes, I said that!

Let me give you this wonderful little consumer protection tidbit that will save you thousands; just say No. It worked with drugs and it works just as well with stupidity too. You see, this is the way it works. Rampant consumerism is driven by greed and what I can only describe as a gadget-oriented mania obsessive-compulsive possession syndrome – – similar to a kleptomaniac that steals from himself. Which is why we feel compelled to rush out to buy the latest new technology on credit but before you can pay it off at that extravagant interest rate the greasy little clerk in the over-sized warehouse showroom sold you, Wa-la! It’s already obsolete! By the time you make your last payment, you can only use it as a door stop or a paper weight. Or put it in a museum beside the old-fashioned phone booth.

Back to Really Useful Cell Phone Apps for Men; those new apps can do all kinds of nifty things like handle credit card transactions, scan bar codes, count calories, and track the pizza delivery boy while you lounge around on a soft couch in front of a T.V. the size of a Drive-thru while your brain turns to peanut-butter as you slowly degenerate into a pastry-shaped zombie with glazed-over eyes. Congratulations, slug! A hundred years from now people will have evolved back into amoebae. So to help out the industry I have proposed some apps for men that are actually useful. Here they are;

  • One that tells you how long your wife is going to be mad at you so you can know how many weeks you have to sleep on the couch.
  • This one alerts you that your mother-in-law is coming to visit before she actually shows up at your front door.
  • Your wife is hungry but as usual she has no clue what she wants to eat so she expects you to know. This app tells her what it is she wants, letting you off the hook.
  • She asks you the dreaded question; “Does this dress make my butt look huge?” It says, “Yes,” so you don’t have to.
  • She wants to yak while the big game is on. It’s the last quarter so this app acts like it’s actually cares what she’s saying so you don’t have to. Meanwhile you get to finish the game in peace.
  • She’s fussing at you for something you did ten years ago. So your phone calls her phone to distract her while you sneak off to play golf with the guys.

These are apps that men really want. Not some really expensive data plan with some hi-tech phone that’s so complicated an engineer can’t use. The bottom line is that they are just after you’re money! Why do we then buy those out-dated cell phones with data plans the size of a small mortgage only so they disintegrate before you can finish paying off the contract?

So the next time you walk into that hi-tech glittery showroom repository of super-cool new gadgets we call the cell phone store and that smooth-talking former used-car salesman turned smart phone sales rep guy tries to put one over on you; tell him, “No way dude!” And then hit him over the head with your eight-track player!

Pirates In High Heels

Negotiating With The Ruthless

I have this theory. Somewhere in her family tree, there was this cut-throat  pirate; a ruthless, hot-tempered scalawag that enjoyed pillaging & plundering just a little too much. That’s why I’m blaming her distemper on genetics, some sort of rogue DNA passed down her family line. Which is why she can’t help herself when she suddenly turns into a rapscallion and fires a cannon-shot across my bow.

What am I talking about?

It’s the weekend. We’re driving along and I’m minding my own business. That’s when trouble starts. I think I see a pirate ship on the horizon?

She’s hungry. Sounds simple enough so far. We just get something to eat and everyone’s happy. So I ask the logical next question, “What do you want to eat?” However negotiations quickly go downhill from there.

When I get hungry I get something to eat. When she’s hungry, it becomes a quest to achieve some mystical state of culinary bliss. She wants that one special morsel that will satisfy some sub-conscious physiological-emotional yearning. She doesn’t know what she wants but somehow I’m supposed to? I saw this as a prelude to a peaceful meal; she’s already starting to get irate. I can tell by her voice. She says, “I don’t care. You pick!” The situation is rapidly deteriorating. It must be my eagerness to placate her that infuriates her. I’m trying to run up the white flag before the hostilities get out of hand.

Meanwhile, the fracas is about to begin. Curling up on the floor board in the fetal position fails to alleviate her ire.

We finally agree on where to go. I’m driving so everything I do while I’m behind the wheel only infuriates her. I take the wrong route, turn in the wrong entrance, go the wrong way in the parking lot, park in the wrong place… You get the idea. So I shouldn’t be surprised she just ran up the skull & cross-bones and started firing broadsides at me, so to speak. It’s not her fault. She’s a pirate in a skirt wearing high heels and makeup: she’s just doing what pirates do.

This genetic predisposition to the immediate culinary crisis possibly goes both ways. On my side of the family there must have been at least one peace-loving, bumbling half-wit in the lineage. Apparently I got his genetic code along with his ability to botch things up. So I’m thinking perhaps somewhere way back in time, these two progenitors of our current state of matrimonial discord may have somehow clashed. I can imagine her boarding his ship, making all the others walk the plank… and then she asks him. “What do you want to eat?” And he says, “I don’t care. What do you want?” That’s when she grabs her blunderbuss and chases the poor buffoon around deck while brandishing her cutlass overhead. “You pick,” she screams at him!

It’s De ja vu all over again!

And so I think this may explain our relationship. Only now we’re married. And she’s hungry. And I still have no clue what it is she wants to eat.

And that’s why she chased me around the salad bar with a plastic knife today!

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