You can laugh and mock me now but some day it will happen to you. Just when you least expect it a little voice in your head will command you to action in spite of yourself and you will never be the same. Your friends and family will see it coming but if you're burdened as I am, with a Y chromosome
, you'll probably be the last to know.
I was a bachelor golf guy when it happened to me. Happy as a duck, a fridge full of beer and Chinese take-out, I couldn't think of a soul that I'd trade places with. I shared my space with critters; a dog, a cat and a bossy parrot but I was definitely Bwana. As the King of my castle and the sole architect of my little scene, I had stumbled onto my happy place.
One night I was stretched out on the couch with my loyal hound coiled at my feet and the cat purring on my chest, just sipping a brewski and reading the articles in Playboy. The bird was sitting on my shoulder showing off his vocabulary in exchange for bites of my pizza and everything Jimmy Buffett ever recorded was waltzing through the stereo. I didn't have to tee off until noon the next day and my biggest concern in life was whether or not I should try out my new lob wedge. My world was whole and perfect and serene.
I loved being me.
Then it happened. The little voice in my head spoke to me so clearly that night that I feared I was suffering a schizophrenic episode or a very bad batch of Budweiser. At first I thought it was the parrot talking so I stuffed a piece of pizza into his craw. When the voice spoke again it was more insistent and since the bird was still chewing, I knew that it wasn't him. It sounded like my own voice and startled me with its commanding tone and clarity.
"It's time to take a wife."
The outrageous edict rang in my ears and jolted me upright. The cat freaked out and jabbed all twenty claws into my chest before diving directly onto the sleeping dog and repeating the violence. The eighty-five pound mutt spazzed sideways off of the couch and fell to the floor with a terrible thump, rattling the coffee table and tipping over my beer.
When I made a futile attempt to save the suds the parrot went into a squawking fury and began pecking madly at the side of my head. I reached around to swat the feathered menace and he batted me with his wings, his efforts at flight inhibited because his claws were deeply embedded into the flesh of my shoulder. My screaming upset the pup and she started barking and howling while the parrot shrieked his own displeasure about an inch from my eardrum.
I tripped over the coffee table in an effort to escape the squall and slammed directly into the stereo system, upsetting the needle on the record player and scratching the useful life out of my favorite album. The infectious optimism of the Jimmy Buffett song "Volcano" gave way to haunting synchronicity when the stylus got caught in a skipping groove.
"when the volcano blows...skip...when the volcano blows...skip...when the volcano blows..."
I don't write to dissuade you from matrimony
but to leave you better prepared for the consequences of your actions. I was woefully ill equipped for the terrible thatch of negotiation and compromise
when it happened to me.
Everyone knows that your spousal unit gets half of the Empire just by signing up so I understood that I would sacrifice financial autonomy. I actually prepared in advance for such a trauma by maintaining a sizeable debt and always living slightly beyond my means. If I did fall to marriage I would automatically come out ahead because the lucky filly would be saddled with half of my burden. Love me love my liabilities, baby.
What I never fully considered was that when the Empire is divided, a momentary vacuum is created in the throne room and since nature abhors a vacuum it must be quickly filled. Well meaning idealists might tell you that the marital ship of state can be sailed by two captains, working in harmony for the good of the voyage but these people have never been married. There can be but one captain and if you're the one with the Y chromosome it's probably not going to be you.
Show me two married men who actually call the shots in their relationship and I'll show you a naive guppy and a filthy liar.
My wife scares the Hell out of me so she's in charge. Mary seems to know what I'm thinking a few seconds before I think it and moves with the calm assurance of someone who has seen the big picture. I had heard people make reference to women's intuition
before but always suspected it was a political ruse
to keep men in line. My mother seemed to know when I was doing something wrong before I did it but I always attributed it to our shared genetics. When my wife started going psychic on me, I threw in the towel on behalf of my entire gender.
It started innocently enough with foodstuffs. She had the uncanny ability to predict precisely what I would want to eat, hours before I had given it a thought myself. If I had a hankering for chicken and mashed potatoes, that's what I got for dinner. When I remembered I hadn't had spaghetti in a while it would magically appear on my plate. I began testing the phenomena by picturing more exotic dishes and within a day or two they'd show up as well.
One day I was driving home from the golf course and saw a billboard with a tantalizing image of a large bowl of blueberries. I had eaten them in bagels and in blueberry pie before but it had never occurred to me to try them solo. A naked blueberry had never crossed my threshold. I thought about my Mary for a moment and her strange gift and then returned to musing over those tasty looking berries.
When I got home and plopped down in the Lay-Z-Boy to watch real golfers on TV, Mary plopped the bowl of chilled blueberries down next to me.
The skeptic in me rationalized the food episodes as simple coincidence
, or foreknowledge based on familiarity. The blueberries were easily explained by the fact that she didn't know me well enough to know that I never ate them. They were in season, after all, so were probably displayed prominently at the market. I had heard of old married people
finishing each other's sentences and transforming to bear a physical resemblance to one another. Guessing what your spouse wants to eat, it seemed to me, must simply be the result of sharing close quarters.
The full scope of my wife's treacherous prescience didn't become apparent until after we had been married for a few years and were past the point of no return. I was closing the bar one night and a lovely customer with ample cleavage was the last soldier standing. She flirted a bit and chatted me up as I did my closing chores, her bosom heaving to and fro. I saw little harm in stealing an occasional glance at her chest and she busted me more than once with a coy smile. I explained that it was time to leave and she must have noticed that I was talking to her breasts because she whipped them free of their harness on the spot.
"You've been trying to catch a peek all night, well here ya go!"
I was struck dumb as they wobbled there in front of me, mocking the death of my bachelorhood and taunting me with a lusty jiggle. I was morose when I told the nice lady to put them away and go about her business. I skulked home that night, feeling slightly guilty for having gazed at another woman's flesh and slunk into the darkened bedroom so as not to wake my wife. She stirred when I nestled in next to her and was groggy when she spoke.
"Oh, honey you're home...I was having the weirdest nightmare...All of the girls at your bar were naked."
I can't speak for the entire breed of bartenders
but I can guarantee you that this one marries for life. That woman has been inside of my head and there's no telling what she's seen. There are only two ways to insure her silence and since one of them comes with a lengthy prison term our blessed union
is secure in perpetuity
I will never know exactly how many of my innermost thoughts have been compromised but I'm not taking any chances. She's a lovely woman and you'll never hear me say otherwise. It's far too late to make her sign a non-disclosure form or a prenuptial agreement and divorce is simply out of the question.
She knows too much.