Pillow Talk, and Talk, and Talk…

 

There was a time, although it seems like eons ago, when pillow talk in our bedroom sounded like this.

“Why don’t you take your clothes off.”

“Does taking off my clothes get me a better massage?”

“Definitely. It will be epic.”

“Really?”

“Oh, yeah. I’m pretty sure we’ll have to go to confession after this.”

“You sweet talker, you.”, she said as she removed her pajamas.

Now, after 36 years of marriage,  after 5 kids, 4 dogs, 3 homes, 2 cars, and a crow living in our oak tree, the chatter before falling asleep has taken on a very different tone.

“Did you hear anything about the drop in housing prices?”

“No.”, I reply. “Feel like a massage?”

“They’re down about 10%.”, she continues.

“What’s down?”, I ask.

“Housing prices.”, she answers. “Have you lost all of your hearing?”

“I don’t think so.”, I reply.

“Do you know anything about gas prices going up?”, she continues.

“No.”, I answer. “Why don’t you take your clothes off.”

“If I take my clothes off, you wont be listening to me.”, she says.

“It really won’t make a difference.”, I reply. “I’m not listening now.”

“Can’t you think about something else?”, she asks.

“I suppose I could.”, I tell her. “But I’d rather not.”

“Really!”, she exclaims. “I’m trying to talk to you about things that are important to me.”

“I know.”, I acknowledge. “And I’m trying to help you help me to at least look like I’m interested in the economic crisis.”

“It seems all you ever want is for me to take my clothes off.”, she states.

“Would you rather I didn’t want you to?”, I ask.

“No.”, she says with a smile, as she removed her top. “No, I wouldn’t. Can I get that massage, now?”

“You can get anything you want.”, I tell her.

“Well”, she remarks, “You’re so easy.”

“I know.”, I reply. “I know.”

 

 

 

 

 

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The Lost Commandments

Every year, without fail, in an attempt to share our upbringing with our children, my family would spend the evening sitting in front of the television watching the annual airing of ‘The Ten Commandments’. Somewhere between Easter and Passover, this annual event had become a tradition in our house, carried over from my childhood in my parents’ home.

“Oh, look.”, my wife said. “The Ten Commandments is on tonight.”

“How many times have we seen it?”, I asked. “20 or 30 times?”

“I guess.”, she said.

“You know, they are the same commandments as the first time we watched it.”, I added. “Nothing’s changed.”

“I know.”, she said. “But its such a good movie.”

“I don’t know about that.”, I stated. “It would have been better if they had talked about the 1st set of commandments.”

“What are you talking about?”, she asked.

“Remember when Moses returned from Mt. Sinai with the tablets that he smashed upon seeing the people praying to the golden calf?”, I continued. “Well, apparently, there were a completely different set of commandments on those first tablets. When Moses returned to retrieve the commandments again, the contents of those second tablets were very different.”

“Really?”, she asked.

“That’s what biblical scholars are saying.”, I told her. “But that singular fact could have changed the direction of the film.”

“How do they know what was on the first tablets?”, she asked. “The ones that were destroyed.”

“They weren’t destroyed.”, I reminded her. “They were smashed. During an archaeological expedition, pieces of the tablets were excavated and placed together. Translated by experts in biblical writing, it revealed a very different set of ideals.”

“A long time ago.”, I said, “Maybe in the 1920s or so. It had been kept secret, hidden from the people by a council of leaders of all of the monotheistic religions, so as not to create upheaval in their respective faiths. About 30 years ago, someone going through documents in The Vatican Library uncovered documents that referenced this discovery, and the conspiracy to cover it up.”

“Wow.”, she said. “Did they reveal what was on the first tablets?”

“Not at first”. , I explained. “It wasn’t until about 2007, that the tablets were presented to the public, and their contents revealed.”

“Well?”, my wife asked, encouraging me to go on.

“Well, what?”, I answered.

“What was on the first tablets?”, she asked.

“Well”, I said. “While the current commandments are filled with what we should not do, so eloquently prefaced with ‘Thou Shalt Not’ , interestingly enough, the first set of tablets were more positive, giving man a list of things that he should do.”

“So,”, she asked, “what are they?”

“Give me a minute to try and remember.”, I said. After a short pause I continued. “Okay, now I don’t think these are in any particular order, and I am paraphrasing, but one was be kind to yourself and to each other. There was pay attention to those that seem dim, for their lights shine the brightest. There’s go west and see the Pacific Ocean at least once. Oh, and…

“Oh, crap!”, she shouted. “You just made all of that up, didn’t you? I don’t know why I even bother to listen to any of your stories.”

“Wait.”, I told her. “There’s more.”

“I don’t want to hear anymore.”, she said. “I’m turning on The Ten Commandments.”

“Oh, come on.”, I pleaded. “Not again.” And then she gave me those Spanish-Moroccan eyes, the look that needed no words to explain its meaning. “Alright.”, I said as I left the room.

“Wait.”, she called out to me. “Aren’t you going to watch it with me?”

“No.”, I answered. “It never goes well. You talk the whole way through the movie, and I simply groan with boredom.”

“Oh, come on.”, she requested. “This time it will be fun. You can do your running commentary, and you can even do your own version of the narration.”

“Are you sure?”, I asked.

“Yes.”, she said, beckoning me over to the seat beside her.

“How did I get so lucky to wind up with you?”, I asked as I sat down in my assigned seat.

“I have no idea.”, she said. “But you did, so don’t mess it up.”

“I do my best.”, I told her.

“I know.”, she answered. “And I love you. Now let’s watch the movie. Who is that guy?”

“Which guy?”, I asked.

“The old one.”, she said.

“He’s The King”, I replied. “The Pharaoh.”

“I thought the bald guy was the King.”, she advised.

“Well, he is.”, I told her, but not of Egypt. He is the king of Siam.”

“Are you sure?”, she inquired.”

“Pretty sure.”, I told her. “You’ll just have to watch and see.”

 

 

 

 

Move Your Face Away From My Daughter

 

 

I had been informed, inadvertently, that all 3 of my daughters were sexually active. Its not that I didn’t think it would happen, I mean, they are all adults now, but I really didn’t want to know. Not ever.

My entire life as a father was spent preventing this from happening. I spent countless nights sitting at the kitchen table pretending to review case notes, while pubescent, little pukes sat on the couch in the family room beside one of my daughters pretending to be watching ‘Shrek’, or ‘Matilda”, or some other piece of cinematic dribble. If he got too close, I would slide the chair back across the ceramic kitchen floor, and he would jump back into his own space. At what he thought was an opportune moment, he leaned closer and attempted to swallow my daughter. “Hey.”, I shouted at him from the kitchen. “Move your face away from my daughter.”

“I don’t know what the problem is.”, my wife stated. “Its all perfectly normal.”

“Its far from perfect.”, I replied.

“We did the same thing.”, she reminded me.

“I know exactly what things we did.”, I said. “But your father liked me And that doesn’t really help at all.”

“I’m not so sure he would liked you if he knew what you were doing to me.”, she stated. “And you said you like Margeaux’s boyfriend, didn’t you?”

“Not enough to sleep with my daughter.”, I answered.

“I know.”, she said. “But she’s an adult now. What did you think they were doing?”, she inquired. “They’re living together! And girls will find themselves involved with men who are very much like their fathers.”

“Ah, hell no! It doesn’t matter.”, I told her. “What I never thought about was what he was doing to her. Now,I’m just going to have to make the little peckerhead disappear.”

“Why is this so hard for you to deal with?”, she asked. “Did you want them to be alone for the rest of their lives?”

“No.”, I answered somewhat dejectedly. “But they could have joined a nunnery.”

“We’re not Catholic.”, my wife felt the need to remind me.

“We could be.”, I replied. “What the hell is going on with my girls?”, I asked, although I had no idea why. I really had no desire to know anything anymore, but it was the only thing I could think of to say.

“Do you really want to know?”, my wife asked me.

“Not at all.”, I replied. “Not ever.”

“It’s alright.”, she said, trying to console me as I attempted to put the pieces of my shattered universe back together. “Now you don’t say anything to the girls about this. Okay?”

“What the hell could I possibly say to them?”, I asked. “Its the little peckerhead I want a few minutes alone with.”

“Don’t even think about it.”, she advised me. Just let it go. Relax, and let it go. You can’t remember anything, anymore, so this will be forgotten too. Right?”

“Do I have a choice?”, I asked.

“Not if you plan on sleeping in the bed tonight.”, she replied.

“I wasn’t planning on sleeping in there.”, I said.

“Oh”, she responded, ” well then for sure you have no choice.” She stood up, and took my hand. “In fact,” she added, “I’m not sure why we have to wait for tonight.”

“Are the kids still coming over tomorrow?”, I asked as we headed to the bedroom.

“As far as I know.”, she said.

“Well, let’s hope we’re done by then.”, I suggested.

“Alright.”, she said, chuckling. “I’ll do my best.”, as we jumped on the bed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Night To Remember…

I will never forget that night.The crowd had been growing steadily for hours, despite the sweltering heat. There was indiscernible chanting emanating from the group stationed beside an abandoned Chevy Impala, as they lit fires in the trash cans that lined the overcrowded street. Placards were held high, swaying back and forth, enticing the local media to begin filming. A communal roar erupted as a stretch limousine with blacked out windows pulled up in front of the office tower that had long served to ignite the activists’ anger. As the vehicle came to a stop, the crowd silenced, as if time itself was standing still. Patiently waiting to see who the passenger was, the group who had been lighting the fires in garbage cans, unable to control their frustration, began a new chant. “Come on out”. “Come on out”, they sang in melodious tones.

“Who do you think is in there?”, my wife asked me.

“I don’t know.”, I replied.

“I think its the security guy.”, she stated.

“We’ll just have to wait and see.”, I answered.

“Well”, she continued, “Who else could it be?”

“Can you stop talking for a minute?”, I blurted out. “I can’t hear anything.”

“That’s because you’re going deaf.”, she told me.

“No.”, I corrected her, “Its because you won’t stop talking.”

A man in a dark suit emerged from the vehicle, carrying a black briefcase, and was led through the crowd who were trying to block the passage into the building, by 4 incredibly large men, who also wore dark suits, accessorized with mirrored sunglasses.

“I told you it was him.”, my wife exclaimed. “It was so obvious.”

“Proud of yourself, are you?”, I asked her.

“Not really.”, she replied. “It was so obvious.”

“Yes, You said that already.”, I reminded her. “Are we done now?”, I asked.

“Don’t you want to see how it ends?”. she queried.

“There’s no need.”, I told her. “You can just tell me everything that’s going to happen.”

“Well. that kind of takes the fun out of it, don’t you think?”, she asked.

“No.”, I told her. “The non stop talking does that for me.” I turned the television off, stood up, and took the dogs for a walk. And that was the last time my wife and I watched a movie together.

The Old People’s Club

My youngest daughter wanted to talk to me, and so, entered my bedroom. The first thing she noticed were some hard candies that I had left atop my dresser. “Why do old people always carry those candies?”. she asked.

“Its one of the rules.”, I answered.

“What rules?”, she inquired, eager to hear more.

“Well”, I said, “When you turn 55, you get this letter in the mail. It explains this organization, designed only for old people. There are a set of rules we must agree to follow, and a list of where to purchase the things you need to join.”

“You’re making this up.”, she stated.

“Am I?”, I replied. I held up my C.A.R.P. membership card. “This is the membership card.”

“But you’re not retired.”, she informed me.

“No, I’m not.”, I answered. “Its just a clever rouse to throw the young people off of the real purpose of the organization. You think its for retired people, but its just old people getting shit the young people can’t find.”

“Like what?”, she asked.

“Like those candies.”, I replied. “And the best places to eat dinner at 4 o’clock, and lessons on being mean and cranky. Its all part of a wonderful conspiracy to keep you dumb asses away from our stuff.”

“I don’t believe you.”, she stated.

“Well, then,”, I said, “Its working perfectly.”

“I don’t know why I talk to you.”, she said as she turned away to leave my room.

“Oh, honey,”, I told her, “I’m doing everything I can to get you to stop.”

“So I see you found the old man asshole store.”, she said.

“About 5 years ago.”, I replied. “Pretty sure I have it mastered by now.”

She left the room. I was proud of myself.

“Why do you have to screw around with the kids?”, my wife asked. The pride quickly vanished.

“I just can’t help myself.”, I said. “Every time I touch this membership card, it just happens.”

“I think you like being a crazy old man.”, she stated.

“Oh, I do.”, I informed her. “And I am quite fond of the crazy old bitch living in your head, too.”

“Thanks.”, she said, as she gave me a hug, just as my daughter returned to my bedroom.

“Ah, no!”, she stated emphatically. “You’re not gonna get into that old people sex stuff now.”

“”No.”, I answered. “We’ll wait until you leave and close the door behind you.”

“You’re very bad.”, my wife said as my daughter left, closing the door behind her.

“Its true.”, I said. “But I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

“Me either.”, the crazy old woman stated. “Me either.”