Published on May 19th, 2017 | by Richard Black0
I’ve learned a few things over the past forty years. The first thing that comes to mind is that it’s usually never “just a rash”. What happens in Vegas might stay in Vegas but what happens in Tijuana will haunt you for the rest of your life. There’s also something about a land war in Asia.
Most importantly I’ve learned that relationships aren’t equal. It’s popular to say that everyone brings something different to the table and it’s true in its own way. I have a lot to give. I’m a great guy. In addition to a fantastic sense of humor I’m also remarkably handsome. Now that I think about it I’m pretty humble as well.
I’m adept at making grossly inappropriate comments in social settings. I’m incredibly dedicated to any task that doesn’t take more than thirty minutes but that’s about it when it comes to my good features.
My detriments are really too numerous to count and, for the sake of propriety as well as my mental wellbeing, I’ll forgo noting most of them. I’m impatient. My eyesight is for shit. I’m entirely too vain. My memory is going to hell. I tend to yell first and ask questions later. My torso is too long for my legs. I also tend to get depressed easily when it comes to listing my shortcomings.
Did I mention that my memory is going to hell? I can’t recall.
Be it a positive or a negative trait however I’ve always known a good thing when I see it. The first time I met my wife Laura I decided to cling onto her like grim death. I even may, or may not, have tried to substitute Tic Tacs for her birth control pills at one point when we were dating but that’s another story for another time.
Once I found her I knew that Laura was the woman with whom I wanted to spend the rest of my life. After a few weeks of constant pestering I finally wore her down and she agreed to date. A few months later, and after constant pestering, we moved in together and within a year we were engaged. In addition to getting a fiance I also discovered the power of constant nagging which, combined with the complete and utter lack of decent dating material for women in their late twenties, was the reason I managed to betroth my wife.
I love my wife and, like most men who want to remain in wedlock, believe that I’ve married up. Laura is beautiful inside and out and I should know because I’ve checked pretty thoroughly. She is incredibly bright, runs her own business and is an asset to her community in addition to being a wonderful mother and wife.
People, and I include myself here, adore Laura. Where I present a general aura of befuddlement tempered with outright hostility my wife caries herself with a sense of grace and subdued confidence. Where I am judgmental and sarcastic she is understanding and thoughtful. It shouldn’t be a surprise that most people tend to pick up on our, let’s call them discrepancies, fairly quickly.
The first response most people have when meeting my wife is a smile and then a remarkably confused look when they find out that I’m her husband. The unspoken comment in most of their minds is “how in the fuck did this man end up with this woman?” and I couldn’t agree more. It’s a question I’ve had for the bulk of our relationship.
Case in point. A few nights ago we were at a get together and a stay at home mother I’ve known for two years realized that Laura was my wife.
“OH MY GOD THIS IS YOUR WIFE?” the woman announced after learning that Laura was, in fact, my wife. I tried not to take it personally but it’s hard not to.
“Yep this is the woman who lets me touch her where she pee’s from,” was my response.
It wasn’t the first time I’d witnessed this reaction and I’m sure it won’t be the last. A decade or so ago, and after working for a consulting firm for the better part of a year, my managing partner met Laura over a happy hour for the first time. I’ve forgotten the details of the event but what I do remember is that the next day I was brought into the managing partner’s office.
The invitation, in and of itself, wasn’t much of a surprise. I’d spent more than a few hours in my boss’s office as fallout for entertaining the staff in what I considered to be my duties as a PR and Marketing Director.
At times I’d taken it upon myself to amuse the consultants and project managers in the Men’s room by pretending to pass a kidney stone while they attempted to have a quite bowel movement. I spent a few months sending pictures, via a fictitious email account, of “someone” licking the phones and community silverware in the office. There were other acts of subterfuge that went largely noticed but those were the ones that had garnered the most attention.
Upon meeting my wife however my boss assumed that I was…well incredibly capable and instead of a reprimand or a firing we spent an incredibly pleasant half hour discussing how Laura and I had met.
“She is an absolute delight,” my managing partner said in conclusion, “you’re an incredibly lucky man.”
I agreed and nodded and knew that what she’d said was true. I thanked her for her time and then went on to switch the decaf and the full strength coffee in the office just to see what would happen.
I like to think that I’ve matured since then and, in many ways I have. After moving back home to where Laura’s father lived I took a job for an entire four months before…well let’s call them personal differences forced me to part ways with my employer.
I ended up in manual labor and landscaping afterwards, my fallback for my frequent periods of unemployment, and then once the company went under ended up in cable. That company tanked as well but I stuck with it for three years which I took as something of a victory. Shortly thereafter I became a stay at home dad.
Through it all Laura has remained gainfully employed. Even more importantly she has stood by me for reasons that baffle me to this day. At first I thought Laura may have had a stroke at some point in her past but after a while it occurred to me that my wife was just a better person than most people I’d known including me.
We’re like yin and yang in some way that doesn’t quite make sense and, to be honest, one I’m not all that willing to explore. Our relationship works and if I’ve learned one thing in my life (aside from that whole land war in Asia thing, a night in Tijuana and that part about rashes) it’s that happiness is better left unquestioned.