Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Story That Couldn't Be

This post had a chance to be many things—but it isn’t and it can’t be.
What could have been an epic story—was cut short. My reading audience will never know what could have been. My seventeen year relationship with the same woman has altered the path of this written work forever.
I’m not sure who my wife has cut off the most; morning commuters during one of her wheel-jerking Alanis Morissette performances, or her wonderful husband—who’s legendary stories she has learned to skillfully dismantle?
“That’s bullshit!” she assures my audience, “Don’t listen to him!”
At least when she cuts off the motorists, her eyes are shut tight and her head rages from side to side as she bellows out the lyrics to “You Oughta Know.” She’s pretty much temporarily insane.
But—cutting off my stories? She knows exactly what she’s doing. She’s like the red-headed toddler in pre-school who waddles by and knocks over the other kid’s block-tower.
“Yeah…so, anyway,” is a typical interruption, “One Tree Hill could have totally had a tenth season.”
“Totally!” replies another woman.
I can’t be the only one—I tend to think this is a world-wide, female-led phenomenon. I often see the emptiness in other men’s eyes—as if they’ve also had their amazing thoughts trampled over. There seems to be a certain level of rebellion brewing among the ladies.
It probably goes back to when cavemen used to signal for sexy-time with a series of grunts and pounding fists. I suppose men could have been more romantic in the early years, but it’s not like ProFlowers existed back then.
But I still get the sense that women are becoming increasingly displeased with their male counterparts.
I’ve seen enough of this girl-on-boy crime recently to worry about the future of my brethren. I fear what awaits us when Hilary is elected to the Oval Office. I foresee a future where American men are forced to register their penises with the government. Eventually, this critical data will be used to round us up into prison camps, where we’ll be organized by our length and girth.
The less fortunate among us will be shipped away for laboratory study, where female scientists will ensure these invalids can no longer perpetuate their tiny flaws upon future generations. The more gifted prisoners will be made to work twelve hour shifts in government casting factories. The mediocre majority will be forced into such mundane tasks as taking out the garbage, changing light bulbs, and coaching the local tee-ball teams.
Worst of all, when the men are free from the shackles of forced labor, we will be re-educated and directed to watch “90210” reruns on the jumbo screen. Failure to comply will be punished by a week in the hole with a copy of “The Notebook”.
“Donna Martin Graduates!” will be the robotic chants as female guards march the brainwashed buffoons toward their couches for the night.
I suspect this is what the guards will look like.
This is the dark future I predict for men, and I believe it all starts with these simple interruptions of man-speech. A despicable attack on our First Amendment rights.
This weekend was the latest example of this “War on Men”.
My wife and I were invited to hang out with a good friend and her boyfriend. They were having a bonfire—I’m talking about some serious redneck activity. There was no cute fire bowl on the patio—instead we traveled down a dirt road, marched through knee high grass, and burned a stack of pallets in a hayfield.
The scene had all the hillbilly essentials; an ATV, a beer cooler, toilet paper, a herd of goats bellowing in the distance, and most importantly—two highly explosive nitrogen fertilizer tanks within twenty feet of our gigantic blaze.
It had all the makings of a material-rich night for my latest humor column. I began to salivate when our hosts started arguing over whether piss-soaked toilet paper should have been brought back and thrown into the fire, or just simply abandoned at the dump site.
To fully grasp the dynamic of the night, you must understand the complex nature of the “triangular” relationship between me, my wife, and her dear friend of many years. Sadly, it's not a love triangle, but rather a scalene triangle, which means my role is to be the “point” way off yonder—preferably not saying much. In fact, I’d go so far as to say I’ve never once completed a single rational thought in the presence of these two women.
“How’s work been Steve?” asked the friend.
“Works been going great, I’m very pleased with the…”
“Did you hear Pearl Jam is coming to Buffalo this fall!” interrupted the friend, this time addressing my wife as if she didn’t just ask me a question moments before.
“So, uh…like I said, it was the best first quarter I’ve…”
“So awesome! We’re totally going!” interrupts the wife, “Oh, not you Honey. I meant we…as in the girls.”
“Ok, whatever,” I complied, “As far as work goes, I mean things are good, it’s going…”
“Did you ever read the Hunger Games trilogy?” inquires my wife, leaning forward to look past me and toward her friend.
As you can see, when these ladies get together, things don’t go well for me.
There was a brief moment that night, however, when I thought I might shine. As we relaxed by the fire and the spooky sounds of nature began to fill the night air, I felt it was the perfect opportunity for some shenanigans.
“What was that sound?” asked the concerned friend.
“Sounded like a lynx,” I suggested, “they are in season right now.”
“Get out! I think I saw one the other night. How big are they?” she asked.
“It depends. They are large cats,” I replied, “Some records indicate horse-sized creatures that roam the night in search of prey.”
“I believe it! What I saw the other night…it was a beastly animal,” she said, growing more concerned with each word.
“They mostly feed on rabbits and squirrels, but sometimes the alpha-males will pull in small children…even adult females at times,” I continued as the friend’s eyes widened with fear, “In fact, Memorial Day weekend is known as their peak…”
“Shut up!” shouts the wife, “Don’t listen to him. He’s so full of it.”
The wife had tripped me up before the finish line, but I refused to give up. If I couldn’t participate in conversation, then I would use my physicality to bring fear upon our fire-mates.
Fortunately, my son had asked if he could go to sleep in the van. This gave me the opportunity to briefly escape the group. A normal man might simply just walk back to the fire, but I decided to do an army crawl through the field for cover. I was so dedicated to scare these people that I battled through a burdock tree and hugged along the side of the toxic nitrogen tanks. Just as I was about to lunge from the shadows and deliver wrist-flailing terror upon the group, a twig snapped under my feet.
“What was that?” whispered the concerned friend.
Without looking back or giving it a second thought, my wife replied, “That’s Steve. He’s an idiot.”
And there you have it…another masterpiece up in smoke.