Please Behave…

 

It was thought to be one of the most important social events of the decade, although I had no idea why. The entire community had been talking about it since it was announced, yet I seemed to have absolutely no interest in attending.  400 guests were invited to watch Mark & Monica promise each other a lifetime of fidelity, love, and ignorance, at was proudly announced as a white wedding. This was not the first time I had been to such an affair. They all seemed pretty much the same; a crowded room filled with loud, obnoxious, and incredibly stupid people, incredibly inedible food, a relatively untalented group of musicians playing cover versions of songs I never much liked when played by the original artists, and Mr. & Mrs. Malcolm Title, parents of the not so lovely bride. As I stood in my room getting dressed, I couldn’t help but to wish for some kind of natural disaster, like an earthquake, or a hurricane perhaps. Or better yet, an alien invasion. Anything to prevent me from attending this spiritually vacuous event.

“I hope that you’ll behave yourself.”, my wife told me as she straightened my tie.

“I always do.”, I replied.

“No.”, she corrected me. “You don’t. Every time you open your mouth, you offend someone.”

“Really?”, I asked. “I try to offend them all.”

“I’m being serious!”, she snapped.

“I know.”, I said. “I’m just not sure why anyone should be offended by the truth.”

“Because sometimes it hurts their feeling.”, she explained.

“I don’t try to hurt people’s feelings.”, I said in my defense. “I just say what I think, and I am entitled to my opinion.”

“I know.”, she answered. “But why do you feel the need to express it so absolutely?”

“Because my opinion is absolute to me.”, I offered in explanation.

“I just want you try, tonight, for me.”, she added. “Just try to be a little less certain that you are always right, or at least try not to let everyone else know. And stay away from Barry Singer”

“Why?”, I inquired.

“Because I am asking you to.” She advised me. “The last time you saw him, you called him an asshole! In front of his daughter!”

“I did not.”, I responded. “I called him an ignorant ass. There is a difference. And besides, she knows that he’s an ass. Every one knows that he’s an ass.”

“Please.”, she asked again with those dark Moroccan eyes. “For me?’

“Alright.”, I told her. “I will try. For you. It won’t change how I think and feel, but I will make an effort to keep my opinion to myself.”

“Thank you.”, she said, as she squeezed my arm. “You look very handsome.”

“Thanks.”, I said. “I have a date with an insanely hot woman.” She blushed. I love it when she blushes.Her face turned a wonderful shade of crimson, and as she looks away, she emits a soft, little giggle that squeaks its way out of the corner of her mouth.

Well, I have rarely made any promises to my wife, but have kept the ones I did. I was determined to try and keep this one as well. I would try to keep my opinions to myself, and let those whose only point is located atop their heads, espouse their stupidity freely, and without consequence.

The venue was already near filled when we arrived. The country club selected for this wondrous  joining of two empty minds was regally decorated. The grounds were beautifully landscaped, and I could see the golf course from the large window in the reception hall.  “I should have brought my clubs.”, I whispered to my wife.

“Behave.”, she reminded me. “Go and talk to someone and try to have a good time.” I knew a good time was not going to be had. There was no one present that I really ever wanted to talk to. Talk about what? None of them had read a book since they were in High School. If only there was a lounge with a television, I could watch the hockey game. I grabbed myself a beer from the bar, and began to wander around the room.

“Hello, neighbor.”, I heard a voice call out. “I thought for sure you would find a reason not to show up.” I turned to see who was there. Barry Singer. The ignorant ass himself.

“Hello, Barry.” I said. “something I can do for you?”

“No no.”, he replied. “Just thought we’d catch up for a while.”

“Sorry, Barry.”, I informed him. “I’m on a mission.”

“What mission?”, he asked.

“Something I have to do for my wife.”, I told him., and I walked away. In a few minutes we were ushered in to another room to watch the spectacle of the ceremony. My wife and I found suitable seats close to the door, and we settled in. As the ceremony began, someone behind me leaned forward and began whispering in my ear. It was Barry Singer.  I had no idea what he was saying, but I recognized the voice. When I didn’t answer, his whisper became louder.

“What are you doing?”, my wife asked.

“I’m not doing anything.”, I told her. “Its Barry Singer behind us. I told you he’s an ass.” Barry continued to lean forward and try to engage me in a conversation, while my wife was growing visibly upset. The people in the row in front of us began to turn around and whisper ‘Shhh’, which only fueled my wife’s ire. As the ceremony continued, I tried my best to ignore the shit head who was sitting behind me, tormenting me solely by his existence, but I could feel myself beginning to lose the ability to ignore him. People in front continued to utter ‘Shhh’, and an elderly woman asked me, quite politely to stop ruining the wedding. My wife was fuming, her eyes grew dark, and the vein in her forehead, shaped like the letter ‘Y’, which only appears when her Spanish-Moroccan begins to boil, was beginning to take shape.

As the ceremony ended, we stood up to leave. “Somebody should take that man outside, tie him to a tree, and drop a squirrel down his pants.”, she said.

“I’m available.”, I told her.

“Don’t bother.”, she answered. “The squirrel would probably starve to death.” Without knowing it, my wife could be incredibly funny. We entered the reception area, and sat at our assigned table. Luckily, Barry Singer was not at our table. It didn’t take long however, but there he was, Barry Singer, standing over my shoulder, inquiring as to how much of a gift we were giving. I could the ‘Y’ vein start to appear. Barely visible at first, but then, there it was, upper case, and in bold font. “This can’t be good!”, I thought. And then it happened. Like a volcanic eruption, fast and furious, and unrelenting.

“What the hell is wrong with you?”, my wife asked Barry. “Do you have some sort of condition that prevents you from acting like a human being? You are, without a doubt the most insipid, irritating man I have ever met. I want you to go away. Now. Go away and stay away from us. Do you understand?” The others at our table sat stunned, with eyes glaring, and mouths opened. I, for one, had never been prouder of my wife. I put my hand on her leg, showing my approval for her crushing defeat of Barry Singer.

“Was it too much?”, she asked me, after apologizing to our table mates for her outburst.

“Not at all.”, I told her. “You were wonderful. But you forget to mention that he’s an ignorant ass.”

“I thought I did.”, she replied.

“No.”, I said. “But its okay. And thankfully, at least one of us can behave in public.”

“Yes.”, she answered. ” I suppose that I shouldn’t have asked you to change. Its who you are, and you’re usually right.”

“Its okay.”, I told her. “You did an exceptional job in my place.”

“Its a good thing that we take turns.”, she stated. “I’m not sure that people could handle both of us at the same time. I think we should go home.”

“Let’s go.”, I said.

“Are you hungry?”, she asked, as we walked to the car.

“I suppose I am.”, I told her.

“Do you feel like Chinese? My treat.”, she asked.

“Sounds like a plan.”, I replied.

“I’m going to have to borrow some money, though.”, she said.

“I already had that figured out.”, I told her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Father’s Day

It was wonderful when they were young. All of those little people running around the house, jumping on my bed to wake me up, screaming “happy father’s day, daddy”. The cards they made for me at school, big red hearts glued to the front, with illegible hand writing telling me how much they loved me. Tie dyed tee shirts that they had made after taking my white tee shirts from my dresser drawer, which I wore proudly. As I, and the kids aged, the celebration took on a very different feel. This year was no different.

“The kids want to know what you want for father’s day.”, my wife informed me.

“Nothing.”, I answered.

“They’re going to get you something.”, she said, “so we may as well tell them what you want.” I thought long and hard.

“I would like to be left alone.”, I replied.

“What does that mean?”, my wife asked.

“I just want to drink a few beer and watch the ball game.”, I told her.

“Well that’s not going to happen.”, she advised me. “They’re all coming down for brunch.”

“When is brunch?”, I asked her.

“They will be here about 11.”, I was told.

“And when are they leaving?”. I inquired.

“I don’t know.”, she stated. “Does it matter?”

“Well”, I pointed out, ” they usually don’t leave until the evening. That’s not brunch. I don’t mind that they’re hear for brunch, but if they come at 11, why can’t they leave by 1 0r 2. Why do they have to stay until 8 or 9? It stops being brunch if they’re here for another meal.”

‘They want to spend time with you.”, she added.

“Then they could take me to the ball game.”, I responded.

“No one wants to go to the game.”, I was told.

“I do.”, I said.

“They’re coming here for brunch. They want to know what you want for father’s day.”, she continued.

“Okay.”, I answered. “I want them to leave by 1 or 2.”

“You’re being difficult.”, she stated in that tone that is designed to let me know that she is not pleased with me. I didn’t think I was being difficult. If it was father’s day, what couldn’t I get what I wanted? I was pretty certain that I was being reasonable and rational.

When I woke on father’s day, there was no jumping on my bed, no hand mare cards, or tie dyed tee shirts. There were no little voices screaming out “happy father’s day, daddy.”

“Please behave.”, my wife pleaded, as she readied the house for the coming arrival of the prodigal children.

“I always do my best.”, I informed her. “I can’t do more than that.”

“Try.”, she advised me.

They started arriving at 10:30, holding bags hiding gifts, and store bought cards. My wife busied herself in the kitchen, getting out the food to feed the ravenous hoard that would soon invade my dining room. I certainly appreciated the thoughtfulness of the gifts each one brought, but to be honest, I really had no use for any of them. Oh, the rhubarb-watermelon flavored licorice was wonderful, but I really didn’t need another mug, or shirt. My daughter-in-law, the newest member of our family, brought beer. She has now earned a special place in my heart!

We ate, my now adult kids made s’mores, while I drank beer and watched the ball game. We talked about upcoming birthdays, vacation plans, and issues that had arisen in their living situations. We did not talk about Justin Smoak’s home run, or Estrada’s crappy 3rd inning. As diner time approached, the discussion turned to what we should eat.

“What would you like, daddy?”, someone asked. I hate that question. For the past 30 years or so it hasn’t mattered what I wanted, they always seemed to think they knew what I wanted more than I did.

“It doesn’t matter.”, I said, resigning myself to the inevitable outcome.

“Should we order in?”, my wife asked.

“Only if you have money to pay for it.”, I answered.

“What should we order?”, she added. I wasn’t sure what this had to do with me. Why did I always have to be involved in discussions in which they would really never let me have what I wanted. Not even on father’s day!

“Thai food.”, I replied.

“No one eats Thai food here except you.”, one of my daughters blurted out. “We’re not getting Thai food.” And there it went. I was certain that they were going to settle on one of two things: Pizza, or Swiss Chalet.

“Let’s just get pizza.”, one of my sons said. “Its the easiest.”  And with that I heard Don Pardo speaking in my head. “Well, sir, for that correct answer, you have just won an all expense paid trip to anywhere away from your family for the remainder of the day.”

But we weren’t finished, no, we were far from done. “What do you want on the pizza.”, my wife asked.

“I’m good.”, I replied. “I’m not really hungry. I think I’m going to have go lay down soon. I think I may have had a few too many beers.”

“Do you want your surprise first?”, she asked. While I had hoped that it was going to be incredibly hot sex, I knew that it wasn’t going to happen, especially not with the kids around. “Its your favorite.”. she added, “Key Lime tart.” She was right, it was my favorite. I ate the tart, and was satisfied that it had been an okay father’s day. It was good to see all of the kids together, it generally doesn’t happen often enough. And to see them laughing, and getting along with each other, well, it made me realize that it isn’t really all that bad.

I went to lay down, after saying goodbye, and thanking them for the cards and wonderful gifts. My wife came into the bedroom shortly after to see if I was alright. “I’m fine.”, I told her.

“It was nice of the kids to come down. It was good to see them so happy.”, she told me, “You’re a good father.”

“Thank you.”, I answered. “I try my best.”

“I hope you had a good father’s day.”, she said. “And I hope that we can have everyone over again next year.”

“Okay.”, I answer. “But next year, I am giving each of them a white tee shirt and I want them to tie dye it for me.” She stood up and smiled.

“They will.”, she said. “They will.”

 

 

Pucked Again….

 

My wife enjoys playing video slot machines. She loves to gamble. She says it is in her Spanish Moroccan blood, coursing through her veins, much like her temperament. It makes her happy, so she says, so we go. She is a VIP, at our local casino. In effect, she has spent more money, win or lose, than the average non Spanish Moroccan , and so is entitled to certain perks and privileges slot1reserved for the most exclusive of guests. She has become a member. She gets a black card now, only for VIP club members, and she carries it proudly among the white card carrying general public. This black card, is the pathway to the perks.

She collects points for every dollar wagered, and these points can, in turn, be converted into meals, event tickets, and VIP members only galas. We have been to no gala, and while we have dined at the facility’s restaurant, the food is far from appealing. “It’s free.”, she says, justifying the garbage we are about to consume.

“Really?”, I ask. “You understand that you are about to eat an overcooked, over seasoned $500 steak, right?”

Interesting that this doesn’t concern my minimalist, frugal wife.

I do not play the slot machines. Often times she will give me $100 or so, and ask me if I want to play. “Of course.”, I tell her, and take the money. I put it in my pocket. Why not? She has questioned me several times about whether I really played or not. “What difference does it make if I put the money in the machine and lose it, or just put it in my pocket? It doesn’t cost you any more.”

slots2So there we were, at the local slot emporium, ready to roll, when I noticed a sign at the VIP room entrance offering a VIP Toronto Maple Leafs event. It seemed that for a significant amount of points, we could get 2 tickets which would gain us access to an executive suite at the Air Canada Centre for an upcoming hockey game. Free food. Free beer. Free Hockey. “We should grab a couple of tickets.”, I told her.

“I don’t know if I have enough points.”, she replied. She checked, and yes she did. More than enough. In fact there were enough points for the tickets, and another culinary adventure in the hall of disappointing dinners. We scooped the tickets. “Happy are you?”, she asked.

“You have no idea.”, I replied.

As she entered the very special room in which you can lose very special money, I wandered off to hockey1watch others enjoy the art of casino gaming, with $100 in my pocket.

On the way home, she suggested that we give the hockey tickets to one of my daughters and her boyfriend. “Are you kidding?”, I asked her.

“No. They never go anywhere. They have no money. It would be nice for them to go somewhere nice.” I thought about this for almost no time at all.

“How about we send them to the movies.”, I suggested.

“I think we should give them the tickets.”, she repeated. “Neither one of us can sit there that long. We can’t eat most of the food, and how much beer can you really drink?”

“But its an executive suite.”, I reminded her.

Practical and logical as ever my wife added that there would be no smoking, and I would not be permitted to cuss or curse.

“I’m not happy about this.”, I told her.

“I know.”, she said. “I know.”

On the day of the game, my daughter and her boyfriend arrived at the house to pick up my tickets. “Are you sure?”, the boyfriend asked, alternately looking at me and the tickets.

hockey2“Not at all.”, I told him, “But you go and have a good time.” The little guy couldn’t thank me enough. I still don’t think he did. After they left, I retired to the bedroom, feeling somewhat dejected. No, pissed off. I was feeling pissed off. I put on my Detroit Red Wings Jersey, and sat on the bed waiting for the game to begin. My wife entered the room. “Here.”, she said. “Help me with this.” I looked up, and she was carrying a 6 pack of beer, an order of wings, and a small, thin crust veggie pizza, with extra olives.

“Much better than the executive box.”, she said as I helped her with the delivery. She got up on the bed, and sat beside me.

“Much better.”, I said.

“Who’s playing?”, she asked.

“It really doesn’t matter, anymore.”, I said.

 

 

 

Si, Senior

1298114-mexican001c111306So, my bank has decided that I now qualify for the senior’s discount on account service fees. It sounds like a good deal, but I am not certain that I am ready to be considered a ‘senior’. I have been telling my kids that it is merely the Spanish term for mister, but they don’t seem to want to believe me. Considering that I receive the  senior discount from the Wyndham Hotel chain, and qualify for the discount days at several retail outlets, it is hard to convince them.

My wife is thrilled about this, and I assume it is the savings she can obtain, and not the insurance money that appears to be creeping closer. In either case, she has decided that we will be going shopping. And maybe out for dinner, as I also received a letter from a local entertainment facility that I am eligible for their discounted early bird senior’s dinner. Sounds like a deal, but I have no desire to eat dinner at 4pm. Everywhere we go, my wife is asking for the discount. She lets them know that I am a senior,and asks if there is a senior discount. Lo and behold, there is, and she can save anywhere from 10%-20% off the total purchase. My job on these outings, as she explains it, is to just stand there and look old.

images-2I am not opposed to saving money, but I resent the fact that I have never been asked for proof of my seniority! I don’t feel like a senior, well most of the time. There are days when my body is, indeed worn out. My mind however, continues to behave like a 19 year old. This does create a significant conflict. “Let’s go out.”, I say to my wife.

“Where do you want to go?”, she asks.

“Why don’t we go to The Horseshoe,  have a beer, and watch a few bands.”, I suggest.

“Can you stay up that late?”, she responds. The truth is, probably not. So instead, we agree to spend a weekend in Niagara Falls, where I get the customary 20% senior’s discount, eat dinner at 4pm, and retire for the night by 10. And all of this with significant savings.

 

 

 

The Secret Life Of Ghosts

So, as I have mentioned, my wife has the ability to see ghosts moving about the house. Not just our current home, but everywhere we have lived. These are not ordinary spirits. They do not exist in any particular place, but rather follow us around, from house to house. My wife reminds me that they are with us to ghost13watch over us. I would prefer a security system, and a very large dog, but it seems, I have ghosts.

Many years ago, my wife went through a period where these visitors were frequently in our home. It was an almost daily event. She said that she could smell bread baking. She said that she heard glasses clinking. On more than one occasion she said she heard sounds, like muted laughter, coming from the family room. Much to my chagrin, I had to go and check. I heard nothing. I saw nothing. But I stayed downstairs for a while, appearing to be thoroughly investigated the apparent haunting of my home.

Upon my safe return, my wife demanded to know what I found on my ghost11harrowing adventure. I told her I had neither seen or heard anything. She insisted that I was not telling her the truth. She believed that I had witnessed some paranormal event, and was either too frightened to talk about it, or I was unsure what I had seen. After several more demands, I relented, and, trying not to upset her, I told her what I had seen that fateful night in our family room.

I informed her that I had seen three spirits, one of whom I am certain was her father. I did not recognize the other two men. They were sitting at a table, playing cards. I thought it was poker, but I couldn’t be certain. They were drinking beer out of our shot glasses, and seemed to be quite inebriated. So ghost12much so, that one of the men kept falling off of his chair, and this made the other two laugh hysterically. They had bowls of peanuts, and pretzels, which they kept throwing in the air, trying to catch the morsels in their mouths. They missed often, leaving quite a mess on the floor. The television was on, and I they were watching porn. They had re heated and ate the left over pizza, and had left the empty pizza box, and pieces of crust all over the counter. It was horrible, I informed her. Frighteningly horrible. I asked them what they thought they were doing, and they vanished. Just like that. Totally disappeared. Without cleaning up the mess.

My wife sat silent for a moment, seemingly deep in thought, and then turned to me. “You’re an ass.”, she said. “If there’s a mess, I suggest you go and clean it”.

“It wasn’t me”, I told her, “it’s the spirits. What do you think they do when they’re here?”

“I suggest that you just go clean it NOW.”, she said.

I don’t know why, but  she just didn’t believe me. I was never asked to investigate the paranormal again, which is quite upsetting, I mean, I would really like the opportunity to win some of my money back.