Monday, March 1, 2010

Thinking Out Loud

By Gerard Meister

The Trouble with Men

Women don’t know it, but when they’re out of the house their husbands spend most of the day looking for things that they can’t find. Often, this frustrating quest is particularly exhausting and is one of the reasons men need frequent naps. Women, on the other hand, know where everything is. This is understandable. After all it’s their nest that the husband or lover (sometimes one and the same) lives in.

    “What did you do all day while I was gone, dear?” is a frequently heard phrase around the house, particularly mine.
    “The first few hours,” I replied, “absolutely flew by. I finally settled on the title of the article on the Amazon rainforest canopy that I’ll be pitching to National Geographic: ‘Truculence in the Treetops.” You don’t think it too alliterative, do you? I could go with, ‘Macaques: Truculence in the Treetops.’ After all, people who read National Geographic know the difference between a macaw and a macaque, or should anyway.”
    “Of course they should, dear. Did you make yourself something for lunch?”
    “No time. I was too busy looking for that damn rejection letter from The New Yorker. Did you see it anywhere? I turned the house upside down.”
    “Did you look in the accountant’s file? I seem to recall that the rejection letter and our income tax return came in the same mail. You might have mixed it in.”
    “I checked every single file in the cabinet, there’s no letter anywhere,” I said, adamantly.
    “Give me the file, let me look,” she said, just as adamantly. “Why here it is, darling,” she said in a thrice. “You accidentally stapled it to the amended return the accountant filed for us in ’98.”

Once out of the house, men are confronted with a different set of problems. Mainly, they don’t know whom they know, at least not without a wifely clue deftly delivered: “Oh, you remember Mrs. Gerbson, dear. She sat behind us on the bus when we took that tour of the Grand Canyon in ’89.”

Gadding about unescorted, some poor guy minding his own business will likely run into the kind of situation I did when I nipped out to the market to buy a jar of pearl onions. Marching down the condiment aisle with me was a woman I had never (or so I thought) seen before, but when our eyes met she came alive.

    “Hello there, how’s Marilyn?” she asked with a broad smile.
    "Uh, … mean my wife, Marilyn?" I asked. (Caught off guard, between the gherkins and the pickled beets, it was all I could muster.)
    “Yes, of course that Marilyn,” she said. “You don’t remember me, do you,” she concluded after a moment’s thought.
    “Well, now come to think of it, you do look familiar,” I said, giving her that all-knowing grin I affect when my back is up against the Alzheimer’s wall.
    “That’s not surprising,” she said, pleasantly. “We belonged to the same Temple on Long Island.”
    “Of course,” I said, lying through my teeth. “When did you join our Temple?”
    “The same year you did,” she said, pointedly. “1963. And as a matter of fact I just attended a wedding with your daughter, when her friend Dawn got married.”
    “Oh, so you know my daughter Ellen, too,” I said, thinking I was getting onto familiar ground.
    “No, Ellen is your older daughter,” she explained. “Dawn is friends with your younger daughter, Andrea. The tall, slim blonde one,” she added, hoping it would help me clarify the order of my children.
    “Yes, of course Andrea. The tall one. Heh, heh; I don’t know what I was thinking,” I said, hoping a sinkhole would swallow me up.
    “Well, make sure to give Marilyn my best,” she said, apparently giving up on me as she moved on.
    “Marilyn,” I said, as I burst through the door. “You’ll never guess who I just ran into.”
    “No, who?” she asked.
    “Come to think of it, she never mentioned her name,” I replied. “But I’m sure you’d know her. What’s for dinner?”

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