I have a wife and a daughter. By conventional mathematics, that has me outnumbered 2-1 in my own home. However, when that daughter is 11 years old and that wife spends a great deal of time in the same room with said daughter when she’s not in school, the estrogen level compounds significantly. I figure the math, when adjusted for emotion, has me facing a 79-1 disadvantage on any given day. Oh sure, we’ve added two male dogs to create the appearance of balance, but it’s all an illusion. A slight of hand maneuver or “bone” thrown my way to keep me in line.
And it’s worked, too! I have been very well trained to never think too much beyond the face value of any domestic situation. I don’t really ask a lot of questions, leaving most words to be spoken, debated, and settled between the two women who own my life. Meanwhile, I try to melt into my couch and absorb whatever war documentary or sitcom appears on my TV screen.
However, there are no perfect systems. Now and again my simple brain has gotten confused and I have dared to break formation. While my words have seemed clear to me when spoken, I can’t help but feel I’m part of an epic game of telephone by the time they are received and interpreted.
The following are some samples of words I have said and, based on the response(s) I received, what must have been heard:
Said – “Hey, wife. Would you like to watch a TV show?”
Heard – “Woman, it’d be awesome if we could watch something on TV but your gawd awful taste in shows has locked up our DVR recording Real Housewives and other stupid crap. And that outfit you’re wearing looks like hell.”
Said – “Daughter, is your homework finished?”
Heard – “Kid whose name I don’t know or care about, you are responsible for the Holocaust and every other travesty that’s ever occurred on the face of this planet. Of this I am 100 percent certain and there’s nothing you will say or do to change my mind, as this is fact! You also hate turtles.”
Said – “Wife, that outfit looks pretty on you.”
Heard – “You are a cow. But not a normal cow. A cow that looks fat. Yes, that’s it. If a fat cow ate another fat cow and then threw up on itself…that’s what you look like. Exactly.”
Said – “Daughter, please turn off the light in your room.”
Heard – “&%*# you. #%$^& YOU!!!”
Said – “I love you, wife.”
Heard – “Calm down.”
I blame myself. I should know better by now, but life is a series of lessons. When the numbers aren’t in your favor, you’ve gotta pick your spots. This isn’t Sparta! Oh well, I’ll get it eventually.