It seems like all this legal education, training, and experience should have some practical benefit. With the endless requirement of “continuing education” there is not one course (and I’ve checked) telling husbands how to win an argument with their wives. Instead, we have “Fascinating nuances of debt collection.”
I just want to win one. And I’m not talking about when our wives let us think we’ve won, when all we’ve done is what they wanted all along. I’m talking about real victory: I don’t know, maybe something like leaving the toilet seat in the upright and locked position.
But I’m a realist. There are difficulties with such a course. Who would teach it? Would a woman lead such a discussion? Not a chance! That would be like Barack Obama uttering a complete coherent sentence without the aid of a teleprompter. Wait. O.K., bad example, but you get my point.
So the class would have to be taught by a man. But who? And is he
going to tell his
wife what he’s doing? Can’t you see it: about halfway through his lecture his cell phone rings. “Yes, dear. I know, dear. You’re absolutely right, dear. I am clearly wrong, dear.”
The need for this class struck me during a remodeling project on my home. Sure, I call it a remodeling project now. Back then it was trial by ordeal. Every marriage should have this experience. If you haven’t, your marriage has probably not been validated. I had completed a major portion of the project when I summoned my wife to the room. I use the word “summon” only in the nicest sense of the word.
When she appeared in the doorway, I asked the question that thousands of husbands before me have asked: “honey, what do you think?” Now for you ladies, the last
thing any husband really wants to know is what you think. In the husband profession, this is fishing for a compliment.
So I ask and immediately consider what her response might be: “Dear, this is so amazing, you are incredible . . . no, you are as a god. Your construction prowess is second to none. I can’t wait to show you how much I appreciate you. In fact, let’s not wait!” My fantasy continues for the better part of a nanosecond when my wife asks flatly, “Isn’t the hallway a little too narrow?” Oh, that ought to be easy to fix! I’ll get right on that . . . dear
Shortly after the hallway had been widened 6.325 inches, my bride and I were discussing what kind of light fixtures to install. She said she didn’t care; whatever I decided would be fine. What was I thinking!
I now understand that every decision that we are called upon to make can be classified as either white shoes or blue shoes. Your wife asks you which you like best. The dictates of reason and logic inescapably lead you to conclude that blue is the superior choice. (Hint: white is clearly the correct answer.) My wife really didn’t mean that what I decided would be fine. She meant that the opposite of what I decided would be fine. It is my fault for not recognizing this immutable truth.
Several hours later the lights are installed and the ceiling is finished. (I did not make the ‘honey, what do you think’ mistake.) Later I was under the bathroom cabinet installing a new sink. Suddenly an exposed high-voltage wire entered the room. After banging my head a couple of times on my way to investigate this hazard, I discovered my wife standing there. Instead of her usual angelic countenance, I met a look of grave concern.
“What’s wrong,” I ask.
“Nothing,” she replies, half an octave higher than usual.
Having a keen mind and being an astute observer of evidence, I know that something is wrong.
“No, really,” I continue, “what’s the matter.”
“If I tell you, you’ll get mad.” She says.
“Relax, I’m already mad.”
So after some thorough explaining and airtight reasoning, the virtues of the lighting arrangement are extolled, the expense of changing the lights and the difficulty of re-doing the ceiling are brilliantly explained. Any jury on the continent would be convinced: The men in awe of my compelling logic, the women wooed by my impassioned eloquence.
My wife of over nearly decades, my friend, my companion, the mother of my children, friend to the friendless, and repository of all that has virtue remained unmoved.
final words were, “I am not going to replace those lights, period!”
Replacing the lights wasn’t too hard. And I have to admit (and I do mean have to
) that the new lights look better. My wife likes the new lights too. When I asked her, she told me so.
Maybe a better course would be “Give in early – it saves time.”
Michael Hirsh, in addition to being a sought after consultant on complex lighting projects, is a partner in the law firm of Hirsh & Heuser, P.C. and resides in Atlanta, Georgia. He runs his own blog at Giving the Devil his due. He is a relatively recent convert to Roman Catholicism. He and his bride of nearly thirty-four years have thirteen children and nine grandchildren. Take that feminoids and proaborts!