You don't stay married for twenty odd years without having a few tifs every once in awhile. Strange, how I seem to end up on the losing end of most of them...Claudia has her "teacher" persona when she's around most adults where she is all professional like...she's the wonderful person we all know and love, but when it's just the two of us hooking horns...watch out, she can brawl! She has an old saying, which she uses quite regularly, "I'm not afraid of any man I can whoop!" She's a tough 'ole girl who has a heck of a punch...which I gladly take to the ribs when I drop my guard and forget I'm not fighting "Mother Teresa."
I have one major rule when the two of us are in public together: Don't call me STUPID. Trust me on this, there is a unwritten rule of marriage where the wife should never...ever call her husband STUPID...it will prevent a lot of arguments. It's not like I don't deserve it sometimes but no man needs to be yelled at in Dairy Queen, because he forgot she wanted a Dilly Bar! No, Claudia has not belittled me in the grocery store in this manner,yet...she is too far sophisticated for such a common retort. Her justification is that STUPID people dream of calling people like me, STUPID,and that it's hurtful for "Good STUPID People" to stoop to the level of a "Galactically Incompetent Amoeba." Teachers...I swear, you ask them not to call you STUPID and they break out a dictionary and make you feel less than STUPID.
I dare say there is no self respecting husband that should ever allow himself to take such a verbal ass kicking. What gives them the right to just explode like a grenade when we're about to watch the game? Dad always said, "never take a knife to a gun fight." So, guys...there's no need for violence in these situations...just prepare yourself mentality and you'll be just fine. For myself, I carry the finest come back as if it were a six gun strapped to my side. Now, it can't be lame and it has to piss the wife off so bad that she is either reaching for the knife block or throwing her hands up in disgust at what she perceives is the most retarded individual she has ever met. Also, you can't use it whenever you like...it has to be your nuclear option in a serious fight. My "comeback" is not only clever, but it's the honest to God's truth. You see I actually worked with nuclear weapons in the Army and when I utter the line "It's not like they're going to let me work with nuclear weapons!" has become a sure fired, argument ender.
The use of such a weapon, the comeback,...placed in the hands of a pro...can make that annoying spousal unit turn tail. Claudia doesn't have a lot of faith in my ability to handle menial tasks. I've given her plenty of reasons why she shouldn't...like the time I dug into the yard and cut the phone line after she insisted I wait or when she asks, "do you know where we're going?" and I don't have a single clue but like most men, we drive around til we see something familiar (Thank God for Garmin). This one particular incident I was trying to install a ceiling fan that we had just purchased. After we get it home and I take an extreme amount of time reading the instructions, she now has second thoughts as to my ability or credentials...and is begging me to stop and have an electrician do it. First, that pissed me off more than anything. Secondly, I wasn't quite willing to wave the white flag and call in the cavalry. I told her to go watch TV and leave me to my work. She grudgingly obliged and I set about to conquer Mt. Everest. Incredibly, after two hours I get it installed...like I said...it was my first fan and I was going to take my time to get it right and I wasn't about to give her the satisfaction of my failure. I turn the power on, flip the switch and, EUREKA, one neatly installed fan in the bedroom.
It's now her turn to check it out and give it the "A-OK." She's quite impressed with my handy work but she just can't let it go that it took me two hours. She states, "you still could have called an electrician and he'd have had it up in twenty minutes." I'm packing up all my tools at this time and I'm about to blow my lid, but I calmly look at her and say, "Your right babe, eleven years in the Army. I mean, it's not like they're going to let me work with nuclear weapons. It's crazy to think that I could handle such NASA like technology." She stares at me with those Hazel eyes of hers and the look could burn a hole right through me. She turns and saunters down the hall, throwing up her hands and releasing that incredibly "pissed off" sigh that women do when their men folk aggravate them. Yep...'ole Mark was the master of his domain that day...and he slept pretty good on the couch that night as well.