Ralph Higgins

Ralph Higgins
color pencil sketch by Gayle Higgins

Quotes I Like

"If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools."

– Plato

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Monday, April 1, 2013

Helpful Hints for Married Men


     Marriage is a continuous learning experience, but there are a lot of things I still don’t understand and some survival techniques that I’ve learned.

            One thing came to mind today while looking for my shoes - pillows.  I’m talking about colorful, frilly, decorative pillows.  What’s the deal with piles of these pillows at the head of a bed?  Sometimes you can’t even find the bed.    

            I just toss them in the closet.  Now I can’t find my shoes, because they’re buried under a huge pile of pillows.  But the next time we have company, out come the pillows.  All of our friends have massive piles of colorful pillows on their beds too, so it must be some kind of strange obsession that hits only women, because a man would have to be awful light in the loafers to play with pretty pillows.

            Then there’s the house cleaning syndrome.  I’ve always maintained that dust is nature’s way of protecting the furniture.  Try convincing a woman of that profound truth.  And cob webs…I know what a spider is and what a spider web is, but what the hell is a cob?  No one has ever seen a cob, yet one of my tasks is to look for cob webs.  Cobs are obviously elusive little suckers.  I hope to find one before I leave the planet.

            My wife is omnipresent.  She suddenly appears when I’m searching the cupboards for the chocolate she hides for herself.  Chocolate is the drug of choice for women.  There is a documented case of missionaries taking cocoa away from the native women in a primitive village.  The women killed the missionaries.  That’s a true story.  Seriously.  So never get between your wife and chocolate.

            Old husbands learn new tricks.  No matter how I organize the dishes in the dishwasher, it’s never right.  Gayle takes over and re-arranges everything.  You have to know scientific stuff, like how water splashes.  I learned to put the dishes in upside down and backwards until the job transferred automatically to Gayle.

            This trick of incompetence works in many areas.  When assigned cleaning, if I don’t do a good job, Gayle steps in and does it right.  Eventually, she doesn’t bother to ask me to do the work.  When we travel, I lug the suitcases out and stack them behind the car.  Gayle is the only one who can pack it right, so I go back in the house, relax, and finish my coffee.  The “incompetence” ploy can work in numerous situations.

            No matter what I lose, Gayle can find it.  “Where’s the ketchup?” I ask while digging through the frig.  “What’s the rule?” she responds condescendingly.  Her rule is to move something.  I move everything, but there is no ketchup - until she finds it. She knows where everything we own is located.  To prove she knows where something is, she will get it for me.  Asking her where something is hidden saves me valuable time for more important things.

            One of the first things married men learn is the “hearing” trick.  It’s called “selective hearing.”  It’s a proven fact that a woman’s voice hits a certain sound frequency that is difficult for older men to hear.  That’s your medical fall-back position, guys. Gayle says that I don’t pay attention to her when she talks.  Sometimes I seem to go deaf.  So now she leaves notes on the door when it’s time to take out the garbage and little post-it notes on the refrigerator to help me make it through life. 

            Another trick I use is to act like I’m having trouble getting out of my comfortable leather chair.  I blame old football injuries, back problems, or my new knee, for my slow rise when the phone rings.  As I peel myself out of the chair, Gayle’s got the phone on the third ring.  It works every time. The trick is to move slowly physically, but always maintain your mental agility.

            Confusion is a technique that can apply even outside the home.  If you find yourself in an embarrassing situation, just act confused.  If you pat a woman’s butt in a grocery store, thinking it’s your wife, just act confused and embarrassed.  If the woman happens to like it, remember that your wife is in the next isle.

            The great Walter E. Williams takes it a step further, while demonstrating great compassion.  He said that for her birthday, he buys his wife useful things, always thinking of her safety.  He once bought his wife golf shoes, so she wouldn’t slip when washing his car.  On another birthday, he bought her a small snow shovel, so she wouldn’t strain her back when shoveling the snow in his driveway.  I’ve learned from Williams.  I think I’ll buy Gayle a small lady-size chain saw for her birthday this year.  Mine broke.

            Lethargy, confusion, selective hearing, and incompetence are only a few techniques older men can use to make life easy.  When all else fails, you can always go back to being deaf.

15 comments:

  1. Oh, you are such a samrt manipulator.

    But I have two things. I am a woman, and incidentally enjoy being a woman, but I for the life of me, have not figured out why or how the numerous pillows on the bed developed. Putting them off and on really annoys me also.

    And, I couldn't help but go back to the 50's when you mentioned the word cob. I know where that word came from. You and Tom!

    Back in the 50's one of your frequent sayings was, "Minkya, what the cob?"

    Remember?

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    1. Sharon - Your comment cracked me up. You're right! We used to say that all the time, but even then I didn't know what a cob was. Actually, there is a type of horse called a cob, and a female swan is called a cob. But I think the reference to cobwebs is based in some foreign language where it means "spider."

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    2. I think cob is also what is left over when you eat all the corn.

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    3. Bob - That was the only definition I ever knew, but Gayle knew about the cob horse.

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  2. My wonderful husband Andy, of almost 56 years now, used to be among the ranks of Walter E. Williams: Way back in about 1959, Andy gave me a large, fantastically and artfully- wrapped Christmas present which sat under the Christmas Tree for two weeks until that magical Christmas morning when I could tear into that mysterious package! What a surprise it was! It was a magnificent stainless- steel kitchen garbage can, complete with a step-on lever. How thoughtful it really was, given his reasoning was that I worked hard around the house. My parents were us that morning and my dad burst-out laughing his head off for a couple hours. The next year , Andy gave me a beautiful, frilly, see-through nighty. Andy was a quick learner. My dad had taught him a valuable lesson based on his own learning experiences of having been married to my mom for about 22 years at that point.

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    1. Judy - I like your story. At least he didn't give you a chain saw. The "see-through nighty" sounds like a better idea than a garbage can. No wonder you two have made it to 56 years.

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  3. For anyone who didn't read the entire post, remember to click on "read more" for the rest of the article.

    I finally took out the page break, but I think many people stopped reading thinking the article ended with the cob story.

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  4. Thanks for the "heads-up" Ralph but I figured out most of these before now. I still "fall for them" sometimes. However, Dick has been really very helpful since my open heart surgery. You are very articulate in writing this. Funny too.
    Marla Snyder

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    1. Thanks, Marla. Dick is a good man. I have admit that if Gayle wasn't wise to me before, she is now that she read my blog. But don't forget...I tend to exaggerate just a little.

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  5. Webster definition:
    Cob.....as in ...."What the Cob"? "Beat the Cob out of Him"? "Where in the Cob"? "Scared the Cob out of him"!

    This was the Christian slang for bad word adjectives used by a certain teenage church group in San Jose,CA, believed to exist in the 1950"s. They were known by names like the "Chain Gang". They stalked their church for many years, setting off firecrackers, throwing water balloons onto cars from the Jesus Saves sign, and raiding the church kitchen and drinking all the communion grape juice on Saturdays.
    The case[s] applied to these young outlaws of their day ,remain open.

    John Chaffin

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    1. John - That sounds like a confession to me. I think the case was closed after the pastor's wife caught you and some other kid hiding behind a curtain. No need to name your accomplices. Some of the evidence is found in my book, "The Huckleberry Days of the '50s. It's what they call a "cold case," Bro.

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  6. Fun read... All these things that you have found a way to avoid, are only things that we women ask you for help with, because we want you to feel important and needed..We know we can do it all, better, but we know that you need to be needed.. Make sense??

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    1. Jan - Have you been talking to Gayle? She's wise to it too, but maybe I should play on that female instinct even more. Do you think that if I act like I can't read the note that reminds me to take out the garbage, she'll take it out?

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  7. Be careful, big guy.. Gayle may decide to dispose of you, along with the garbage.. We're onto you ... xxx

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