DON’T LOOK NOW BUT HERE COMES FATHER TIME

It’s one of the most frightening things that have happened to me in a very long time. I was at Kohl’s the other day because I had a thirty percent off coupon. I wasn’t really looking for anything but, c’mon that coupon wasn’t going to use itself.

 As I was ambling my way past the shoe section, I noticed a really nifty pair of…(gasp!) SLIPPERS! It was, in fact, at that exact moment, that I realized Father Time was getting larger and larger in my rearview mirror.

None of my friends wear slippers and not once has the word ‘slippers’ ever come up in even casual conversation…ever. “Hey, Smitty, come on over and let me show you my new slippers.”  Um, no, never.

I needed a moment so I took a seat in the shoe section starring at those ankle-high stocking type thingies that you’re supposed to put on before trying on shoes but hardly ever do. Then my mind flipped to how many people might actually use them and put them back in the box where the next unsuspecting shopper inadvertently puts them on only to have their foot shrivel up and decompose before their very eyes a few minutes later from all the bacteria!

It’s not that I have anything against slippers. My father-in-law wore them all the time, as he shuffled back and forth between the kitchen for prune juice and the bathroom to, um, get rid of his prune juice. But he was ninety-six with Alzheimer’s. He got a pass.

By now, some very unpleasant thoughts started running through my brain as I found myself just starring at that Brannock device, wondering how long it takes for the employee responsible for measuring strangers’ feet all day to develop a severe drinking problem. But, sadly, I also wondered what color slippers I should get, brown or grey?

What happened to the time, anyway? One day you’re tossing your mortarboard in the air after graduating gluing and the next you’re yelling at the contestant on TV to buy a God Damned vowel! Seriously, what happened?

The reality is Father Time catches up to us but be brave and just know that when he does, there’s going to be a pair of slippers with our name on them, so slap those suckers on and wear them proudly. Now, for the last time,  get off my lawn, you kids!

THE QUARTER

So, here I am at Adams Fairacre Farms walking back to my car pushing my cart. A man walks toward me. Our eyes meet. We both know what’s coming next: the dreaded shopping cart hand-off, something we’ve all dealt with. The smoothness of this transition depends entirely on the personalities involved. Sometimes it’s seamless. Other times, not so much. “Sir, do you need a cart,” I asked?” ”Yes, I do,” was his answer. He wanted to know if I needed a quarter. I paused and said ‘yes.’ Then I realized what a stupid thing to say. I mean, yes, I put a quarter in the cart but…but I didn’t want this guy thinking that I actually NEEDED a quarter. What I should have said was, ‘No…don’t worry about it…just take it,”  but  I didn’t and it was too late. These situations require quick thinking as I’m sure we’re all aware. If you have to wait for more than 3 seconds for the quarter hand-off, you are going to come off looking like a cheap little humanoid and there’s nothing you can do about it. I was way past the allotted time here. I was screwed and I knew it. The gentleman, haunched over and very elderly, shuffled with the aid of a cane. If I may be honest, he looked like he might have been on a first-name basis with some members of the Hoover administration. He appeared to be mildly perturbed as he was busily rifling through his pockets for a quarter and, of course, the longer this tedium went on, the more inadequate I felt. I wanted desperately to say, “Just give me a Werther’s Original and we’ll call it even.” Despite the 20-degree temperature, I  could feel little beads of sweat building up on my forehead.  Oh, and adding insult to injury, I just happen to be wearing a ratty sweatshirt that read, “Broke’ on it. Wonderful choice of clothing, Bob!  My self-esteem may never fully recover from this. By now, I’m feeling like that poor soul we see standing at the traffic light holding a ratty cardboard sign that reads, “Down on my luck. Could really use a 6 pac.” For the love of God, when is this going to end?

After what seemed like an eternity, he sighed and told me that he didn’t have a quarter and asked if 2 dimes and a nickel would work? Oh my God, could this possibly get any more humiliating? How in the world could I have just stood out in these frigid temps for what seemed like an eternity waiting for some sweet old man who reeks of mothballs to give me 25 cents?  How sad had my life become?  With the monetary transaction now complete, there was still one more blow to my libido to be taken when with his hand shaking, he handed me a wadded-up tissue and said that maybe I wanted to wipe the perspiration from my forehead.

MY CHRISTMAS VACATION

So, how was your vacation, Bob?  Well, thanks for asking. Pull up a seat,  buckeroo.

I’ll tell you what.  Rather than go through the entire week, let’s concentrate on just one particularly tedious, depressing, and soul-sucking day, shall we?   Christmas eve. The day started out great, and by ‘great’ I mean I didn’t fall out of bed and break my neck.

Michele and I always go to New Jersey on Christmas day to see her niece and family. We all sit around, embellish our yearly accomplishments, drink copious amounts of wine, occasionally listen to each other speak, eat a few cheese squares skewered with toothpicks, and eventually leave. Of course, this past holiday being like none other, we were all asked to take an at-home rapid Covid test before coming. “Michele, what does this pink line mean,”  I asked? “Crap! It’s a positive test,” she said. A few minutes later she took the swab to her nostrils as well, inserted the little stick thingie in a plastic tube, and waited the 10 minutes before finding out that she, too, had a bright horizontal pink line. After quickly eliminating the pregnancy option, we were able to deduce that she, too, was positive. Sadly, there would be no New Jersey this Christmas. I asked Michele if, while she was on the phone explaining this all to her niece if she wouldn’t mind asking her to ship some of that hard salami, Mortadella, and Calamari our way.

With New Jersey, and for that matter, anywhere beyond the reach of our front door no longer in the picture, I went to put on the TV but apparently, the new cable box we upgraded to last week didn’t recognize Netflix as an actual broadcast outlet and made a weird gurgling sound before self-imploding into a ball of dust. This was mildly disturbing as we both knew it would necessitate a call to our always eager to assist tech vets at Verizon. Experience has taught us that prior to placing a  call of this nature, a spiked eggnog or two does wonders to help calm the nerves because their instructions invariably seem to use hard-to-understand technical lingo like ‘router’, ‘coaxial’, and ‘unplug’. It was an hour and a half on the telephone before the PTN (Professional Tech Nerd) said, “It looks like we’re going to have to send someone out.” “OK,” I said, “How long before they get here. Andy Griffith starts in 40 minutes.” “Has anyone in your household tested positive for Covid in the last 2 weeks,” he asked? Oh, crap. Now, what do I do? I wanted to be honest with the guy but at the same time, I didn’t want him to know the truth, so I told him, “Yes, two people in this house tested positive this morning, unless, of course, being armed with that information would delay you from sending a tech out for 2 weeks, then, of course, the answer is no.” All I heard after that was a deep sigh and a click. “Hello? Hello? Mr. tech guy, are you there?”

But, hang on. There was one more punch to still be delivered. Just to put a capper on this otherwise wonderful day, I then got a call from my pharmacy saying there was a problem with my insurance and it would have to be addressed before they could refill my Ambien prescription. WHAT THE #@!%#! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, NOT THE AMBIEN!

What we had here was the perfect storm; a trifecta, if you will.  1) Positive Covid tests requiring isolation, 2) No TV, and now, 3) thanks to what must be an extremely rare flaw in our well-oiled health care system,  my access door to an escape route from a few hours of this living Hell has been sealed shut as well.

I don’t want you to worry about me. My plan is to remain positive throughout this arduous ordeal. I’m sure that I will emerge from this stronger than ever. In the meantime, I wish you all sweet dreams,  even though, I will personally remain in my sleep-deprived state. I’ll be staying busy eating the paint off the walls and crossing the days off the calendar until I am allowed to re-enter the world, and of course, once again continue to keep tabs on the crazy shenanigans of  Andy, Opie, and Aunt Bee.

YOU SAY PASSIVE, I SAY AGGRESSIVE

There are two things I really hate: confrontation and warm beer. It’s the former, which we’ll deal with here. First of all, you need to know that I am a textbook example of passive-aggressive. I looked it up online and low and behold, there was a picture of me!  I make commitments and then weasel out of them at the last minute. This is not an admirable trait and something that future mates generally shy away from.

Passive-aggressive personalities do not like confrontation and we certainly don’t relish the thought of being honest. Yuk! Before Thanksgiving, my wife asked me if we were going to make our annual New Year’s Eve jaunt to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx? I answered, “Sure, honey, I’m looking forward to it.” As a result, we had sex. If I had responded, “No chance. The Bacala smells like sewage and the furry little rabbits hanging in the windows of the meat markets make me want to vomit,” we would have fought, said nasty things to each other, and thrown stuff that probably would have resulted in broken windows. Broken windows in the winter are no fun. So, by being passive-aggressive, we didn’t argue and the windows remain intact, keeping us warm and healthy. There are advantages to being a sniveling coward, such as I. Seriously, who doesn’t like having sex better than stepping in shards of broken glass?

 “Hey, Bob, what happens when Michele reminds you six weeks later and she really wants to go to Arthur Avenue?” In the past, I’ve ‘pulled a hamstring,’ or if I’m really feeling thespian, I’ll feign those achy bones scenario. You know the one: chills, weak all over, no appetite.  “How unfortunate, sweetheart. It looks like I’ve come down with the dreaded twenty-four-hour diphtheria. I better stay home, wrap myself in a shawl and watch football. Darnit.” Caution budding actors: this only works once!

Passive-aggressive people foolishly believe that if they ignore something long enough, it will just go away and they won’t have to deal with whatever the problem might be. This is why, a recent survey showed, that many more passive-aggressive people drool on their shoes than become rocket scientists. 

My suggestion, if you can stomach it, is to be honest upfront. I’m actually planning on trying that myself one of these days. It’s never too late to be rehabilitated. Make your intentions known from the beginning. It will make your life a whole lot easier. Don’t run from your obligations. Just man up and prepare yourself for the prospect of never having sex again and be sure to keep tweezers close by to pull the little pieces of glass from your feet.

CURT DROPS THE BALL

Kids, sit down,  gather ‘round the fire, and let your Uncle Bob tell you a little story about the perils of loaning people money.

(Cool)

Money is a funny thing, kids. Either the possession of it or the absence of it can seriously heighten one’s sensitivities. You can loan someone clothes. You can loan someone lawnmowers. You can loan someone books. But when you loan money, the waters can get very murky.

(Tell us more,  Uncle Bob)

A long time ago in a land far, far away, a young man, coincidentally by the name of Bob,  was approached by his lovable but extremely lazy friend, Curt, who once again found himself in familiar territory: unemployed.  Curt asked Bob for a  loan of $950 so that he could purchase the perfect engagement ring for his girlfriend, Jayne. Now, unbeknownst to Curt, Jayne had been a very naughty girl,  secretly sleeping with Curt’s alleged friend,  Spike, for approximately ten months.  Obviously, Bob was leery of loaning the money given the sexual proclivities of Jayne as well as the unforgiving naivete of Curt.

However, as much as Bob hated loaning money to a friend, he decided that it would be much easier to just go ahead and loan Curt the cash rather than have to explain why he wouldn’t. However, kids, Bob knew deep down that he would never see that money again and that bothered him. The way he figured it, Curt would eventually discover the truth about Jayne and Spike at which point he would take a pair of pruning shears to Spike’s private parts, thus rendering him a lengthy prison sentence at the end of which, repaying Bob would have totally evaporated from his mind.

(Go on, Uncle Bob)

Well, kids, fast forward 2 years: Curt and Jayne did, in fact, get married. Bob, who was now seething with resentment, served as Best Man and oddly enough, Spike, who was probably more familiar with Jayne’s, um, landscape than Curt was, served as one of the ushers.  Not once had Curt even mentioned the loan, much less how he was planning on paying it back. The gears were swiftly turning in Bob’s beleaguered brain as to just how he was going to get even.

(How did he do it, Uncle Bob?)

Curt remained unemployed but was sure his big break was coming ‘any day now,’ at least that’s what the shaman (who charged him $20.00) at the county fair told him. But, kids, it wasn’t long after the nuptials that Jayne started throwing off some red flags. She died her hair, changed her perfume, and several times packed an overnight bag claiming very long lines at the supermarket! I suppose it was inevitable that Curt would eventually learn the truth about Spike and Jayne, and sadly also about Steve and Jayne as well as Bruce and Jayne. Yes, boys and girls, Jayne was what we called a little slut.  Anyway, Curt w as so devastated learning the truth about his saucy little spouse that he did the unthinkable: he applied for a job to try and get his mind off the horrible hand he was dealt. He actually managed to land a job at a  local coffee shop but was let go after just a couple of weeks for constantly misspelling customers’ names on their paper cups.

(What happened next, Uncle Bob?)

Great question. Curt went back to the 1st National Bank of Bob and asked his friend for another loan. This time it was $500.00 to cover most of his long-overdue bar bill at Harvey’s Hamburgers & Hootch, as well as make a nominal payment to his therapist.  By now, Bob was boiling over with rage. He flatly refused, lecturing his friend that he needed to, once and for all,  start taking responsibility for his actions.

(What did Curt do, Uncle Bob?)

He pleaded and begged and put his head on Bob’s shoulder blubbering like a baby whose mother just shut the TV off in the middle of Romper Room.

(Uncle Bob, then what?)  

Bob, always a sucker for tears, gave in and loaned Curt the requested $500.00. He was so angry with himself that he went home and paced the floor all night, knowing what a big doofus he was and what a big mistake he had made.  The next morning, he decided he’d been a pushover for far too long and was finally going to do something about it, so he went to the hardware store and found exactly what he was looking for right there on the shelf.

(What was it, Uncle Bob?)

Well, remember, kids,  how Bob said he was going to get even?

(Yeah, we remember, Uncle Bob)

That morning when Bob got back from the store, he opened the liquor cabinet, had a couple of shots of Jamison, took a deep breath, and made the phone call to Curt. “Hi Curt,” Bob said, acting like nothing was bothering him. Curt told him that he was doing well and his divorce to Jayne was final.  Bob told him that was great news and right at that moment…

(What Uncle Bob, tell us!)

Admiring his new purchase from the hardware store and with vengeance in his eyes, he nervously said to Curt, “Hey, buddy, why don’t you come over. I’d love to show you my new…pruning shears.

So, kids, Curt went over to Bob’s house unaware of the peril that lie ahead, and then sadly with one quick chop from Bob’s new purchase, he was rendered a soprano and watched in horror as his testicles fell to the floor.  Yes, kids, Bob had gotten even. The end.

(Wow! Uncle Bob, neat. What’s  a testicle?)

Another time, kids. Good night.

THE AIR FRYER

Good news. We finally got that air fryer I had no idea we either wanted or needed! Excellent. That was a conversation I simply can’t remember having with Michele. However, I’m pretty sure that not recalling a conversation about air fryers is far better than not recalling a chat about, how shall I say, more intimate subjects. “Sweetheart, just curious,  did we have…?”  (BOOM!)

Let’s forget for a moment the fact that in exactly one year, this ‘must-have ‘ kitchen appliance will take its rightful and permanent place in the back of the cabinet next to that indispensable juicer and the One Second Slicer, which slices everything from cucumbers and squash to fingers. Gauze sold separately.

The most important thing to do when getting an air fryer is to carefully read the instructions which are conveniently laid out in a 360-page manual (in multiple languages) complete with neat little stick figure drawings indicating what vital pieces you are very unlikely to ever actually use.

This particular model is a ‘Smart’ air fryer, but keep in mind that as with any ‘smart’ appliance or phone, it’s only as smart as the person using it. This is one of the main reasons that I was in trouble. I was determined not to let some hamburger maker outsmart me, by golly!

Before I got involved in the War and Peace length instructions, I paid close attention to how it was packaged because as we all know only too well, you can never put the pieces back exactly the same way that they were originally packaged. If, by some miracle, you’re able to put everything back the way it was, let the company know immediately and they’ll name a piece of Styrofoam after you.

Beware of the old ‘cooking times may vary’ line. That happens to be one of the understatements of the century. That’s right up there with ‘quick & easy clean-up.’  These particular instructions read cook hamburger patty 8 minutes per side. Yeah, that worked really well. When I went to flip it at the recommended time, what was just a few minutes ago, a fresh and appetizing hamburger patty, now more closely resembled a tiny piece of molten lava, only slightly less edible.

I strongly recommend looking at the FAQ section on the back of the pamphlet. In this section, you’ll see inquiries to questions you yourself may have been asking.

Q) How do I get the hamburgers I cook to look like the pictures on the flyer?

A) Simple:  just apply a healthy coat of shellac and spray with a light coat of lacquer. That ought to do it.

Q) Enclosed in the package, I found a 6-inch-long cylindrical device with a metal tip and graduated numbers running the length of the instrument. What is it and was it meant to be included?

A)  It’s a thermometer. Please send your unit back before somebody gets hurt.

Q) We’ve had our air fryer for 90 days now and have yet to use it. How long do we have to keep it on the counter before moving it to its forever home in the cabinet above the refrigerator?

A) Remember, a place for everything and everything in its place.

THANKS FOR NOT TALKING POLITICS

I love people that come right out and say to me, “I don’t talk politics.” I’ll always respond with, “That’s very smart of you.”  Oh, how I wish the column could end right here, but…no.

What’s more divisive than politics, I mean other than the obvious wearing of white after Labor Day? I’m sure in our lives that we all have someone that we’ll go out of our way to avoid. I ran into such a person the other day at the supermarket. I ducked down the very next aisle, grabbed something off the shelf, and buried my head deeply studying the ingredients. Unfortunately, this particular item was a bottle of distilled water that contained exactly one ingredient: water. But still, mission accomplished…or so I thought. As soon as I turned the corner guess who I bumped into, literally?  “Oh, hi Ralph. Wow. Sorry.  What’s new?” “Not much, Bob, except the world is crazy, ya know.” “Yes, I’m well aware of that, Ralph.”  “Bob, I don’t talk politics. Sure, I have my opinions, but they’re mine, you know what I mean?”  “Yes, I do, Ralph and I respect you for not adding to the fray.” “What do you mean, Bob, adding to the fray?” “I mean, while everybody else is spewing political venom, you’re doing the smart thing by staying on the sidelines, that’s all.”  “Well, now wait, Bob, My opinion matters. I don’t like to get involved because believe it or not, there are a lot of who are not as informed and consequently, don’t agree with me.”

(It was right about here that I was practically praying for a roof collapse or a fire to break out, something!)  

 “Bob, let me tell you something. If more people saw things our way, we’d be in a lot better shape as a country right now.” “Saw things our way, Ralph?’”  “What’s the matter, Bob, you don’t agree with me?” “Damnit, Ralph, you haven’t said anything!” “All I’m saying, Bob,  is there are a ton of messed up people out there who probably shouldn’t be voting. Now, I’m not going to tell anyone who I voted for because it’s nobody’s business.

“Ralph, what’s left of my brain is really taking a beating right now. Do you, by any chance, know in which isle the extra-strength aspirin is in?” “I’m being real here, Bob. They’re some serious nutjobs out there.” “Ralph, I’ve got to be moving along  but it’s been a pleasure not talking politics with you.” “Bob, you’re one of the good guys. This is why I hate talking politics. People don’t see things my way and I don’t need the aggravation of teaching em, ya know what I mean?”  “OK, Ralph,” ” I said to him as I placed my hands on his shoulders and stared intently into his bloodshot eyes) “ Now listen to me. I’m going to turn around and count to ten and when I turn back around, please be gone, OK?” “I love the way you kid, Bobby. No, seriously, some people think they can drone on and on and…”

“OK, Ralph, here we go. One, two, three…”

HOLD THE DOOR

I feel like I can’t ignore this subject any longer. Yes, it’s extremely controversial but it is something that each and every one of us has encountered hundreds if not thousands of times in our lives. Of course, you know I’m talking about ‘holding the door’etiquette. I recently suffered what is known in medical parlance as a bloody nose when it was flattened by a degenerate who apparently couldn’t wait to get in the store and save that 10% on that coveted pair of camo hunting socks! To you, sir I say, may buckshot come raining down upon your flea-infested mullet.

It’s pretty obvious that we have lost our manners. Is it because we’ve all forgotten how to behave in public having been cooped up at home for all this time? Let us all just take a deep breath and try to remember how to interact with others in public, ok?

Let’s be honest. Deciding whether or not to hold the door for someone can be a difficult and gut-wrenching decision. There obviously are several factors to consider. For instance, how far away are they from the door?  Are they walking at a normal pace? Do they appear to be physically handicapped, thus requiring a longer period of time in which to reach you? Do they look like they agree with you politically? It’s a lot to ask your brain to process so quickly. Because the task can be a difficult one, I will offer this tip. Do a quick eyeball check to see if there’s an automatic door. There quite possibly could be one approximately five feet to your left.

There is something else to consider here and that is just how many people are we going to hold the door open for? We’ve all been there. We hold it for one and one turns into one hundred and ten. As I said before, people can be very rude. Oh sure, there will be a few that do that little hurry-up shuffle thing and offer a muted or silent ‘thank you,’ while others won’t even bother looking up from their phone. They’ll just pass a loud fart and plow right on through. By the way, these are the same people who show up at radio remote broadcasts, begging for a tee-shirt, then proceed to say they have six brothers at home, too.  

Ultimately, my hope is that we can all return to some semblance of public civility. Maybe it’s holding the door open for someone or it could be as simple as letting someone go ahead of you in the supermarket check-out line (making sure, of course, they won’t be writing a check first). We can do it America. I know we can. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to put another ice pack on my nose.

HOW VERY S.A.D.

I’m sure you have all noticed a growing and disturbing trend in ‘fashion’ and I’m also quite sure you’ll agree it has to stop…right now. Yes, of course, you know I’m talking about couples dressing in matching outfits. This fashion faux pas is not acceptable on Halloween, much less any other day on the calendar. In the fashion world, this is known as Same Apparel Dressers or S.A.D. It’s also known as being from Ohio, but, in no way, am I trying to besmirch the fine residents of the Buckeye state, home to such breathtaking tourist attractions as The Fertilizer Museum and the unforgettable fifty-foot sculpture of Pete Rose made entirely from toenail clippings. Tip: see it at dusk with a picnic basket and a bottle of your favorite wine. Heaven on Earth, they say.

Why are we seeing more S.A.D.’s walking the streets this year than ever before? The only explanation world-renowned fashion designer Stella McCartney and Oliver, owner of Ollie’s Lightly Soiled Overalls had to offer was that, sadly, some people are born without the fashion gene. This would more than likely explain why they march through Walmart wearing matching spaghetti-stained sweat pants and crumpled up camouflage tee shirts.

Ladies, please imagine something for just a moment: Picture your man dressed in a pair of lime green polyester trousers (hiked up to an inch below his man boobs)  black socks, hushpuppies, and the obligatory floral print silk, short sleeve shirt made of colors that haven’t even been named yet. Got it? Okay. Do you say to yourself,  “Wow! That looks great. I think I’ll wear the same thing?” No, you probably don’t. And that’s because you’re not a S.A.D. What you are more likely to do is scratch your head and wonder when exactly it was that your husband turned into his grandfather. Yet, S.A.D’s continue to merrily waltz down the street, day in and day out, totally oblivious to the fact that men, women, children, and pets are hanging out of windows laughing at them.

I did some research on this disturbing fashion trend and discovered that of S.A.D. men:

78%    were beaten up repeatedly at recess

82%    remain virgins long after marriage vows

100%   were not Prom Kings

The results didn’t fare any better for S.A.D. women:

67% wrote term papers on the Dewey Decimal System.

86% sat up close so they could ‘chat’ with the bus driver.

56% put itching powder in the cheerleaders’ uniforms at least once.

Think for a moment of the poor children of S.A.D.’s. They are either going to grow up thinking that it’s perfectly acceptable to dress identical to their mate or they’re going to run away from home by the time they’re six and, thus, stand a good chance of being adopted by Angelina Jolie. Either way, they’re doomed.

What can you do to stop this repugnant and mystifying trend? You can join the Fashion Police, S.A.D. Division. Yes, the hours are long and the pay is short but you’ll get free coffee and donuts and you get to wear sunglasses and a whistle. How cool is that? You can stop offenders on the street, usher them into the alley, strip them naked, hand them a map of Ohio and send them on their way. It’s for their own good…and it’s the law!

WE NEVER DO ANYTHING TOGETHER

Now, I don’t want this to get ugly so let me begin by stating the obvious: Both people in a relationship are individuals who come with their own set of interests and beliefs. It’s the sharing of some of those interests that help to nurture and grow the union. Agree? Good. Now, on with the show.

Anyone in a long-term relationship knows there are a few phrases or sentences that when uttered can spell disaster with absolutely no good ever coming from them. One of those is, “Hey you perv, look what I found in your browser history,” but we’ll save that one for a future column. The one that I’m more concerned with today is, “We never do anything together.” That one delivers quite a punch with very little wiggle room to escape. There’s really no actual response that could mitigate the potential damage. It’s clearly designed to elicit emotion and ultimately anger from the intended recipient, i.e.; you!

A typical instinctive retort to that verbal hand grenade could well be, “What do you mean?” Let me just say definitively the only way that response could be any worse is if you added the words, “We just got back from Hannaford.” 

Sadly, many times the mere utterance of the words, “We never do anything together,” seems to be, I dare say, premeditated. The person initiating the salvo, for whatever reason, will more than likely be in a combative mood, primed and ready to take the proverbial gloves off. I might also add that if one attempts to ‘diffuse’ the situation by attempting humor and responds with, “Oh, come on. Name eighteen things that makes us so different,”  it’s very likely that response will be perceived as patronizing and that will, without question, result in you having to make up the bed in the spare room.

I will share what many in successful relationships have learned over the years. It never hurts to count to three before responding, sometimes, I’ve found that fifty or even a hundred works better, depending on your mood. Silence is always the better option. It makes it impossible to say the wrong thing at the wrong time.

Truthfully, it’s always important to acknowledge and recognize the other person’s feelings. This is key to any relationship. By doing so you are demonstrating that you care and that you truly want to grow and nurture the relationship. This can be done easily by feigning a serious tone and offering, “I hear what you’re saying and I can tell this means a lot to you. Let’s talk about it…right after the game.”

It’s possible that an astute person can head the instigator off at the pass, by that I mean to be able to sense, in advance, when the unwanted discourse is about to unfold. A simple, “Boy, it’s been a long time since we’ve been over to your mother’s house,” or, “I hear they’re having a wonderful sale at Bed, Bath & Beyond,” ought to do the trick. Warning: This method should never be used unless you have the utmost confidence in being able to read your partner.

I’d like to conclude by saying that there is no such thing as the perfect relationship or even the perfect partner. Every successful relationship takes compromise. When both parties participate, guess what? You are doing something together! Pretty neat, huh? Now, where is that damn remote?