When you take vows at the wedding ceremony, the traditional ending is “Till death do us part.” I said it, you married guys have said something like it, and if you haven’t said it, you have seen something that makes this understandable. Instead, I think the woman should have to say, “Till I kill you” because this is what they are thinking. The nicest of women, my wife for example, will kill a man. Trust me. Look at your wife right now, sitting over there all innocent. That woman will kill. That woman will kill you–no questions asked. She will kill you because it just seemed like the right thing to do, and everyone will agree with her. The good news is that woman loves you, and she will just as easily die for you just so long as you don’t mess up the baby’s schedule, or eat the curly potato chip, which she has silently claimed to be hers, and if you loved her, I mean really loved her, you’ll understand why that chip is hers. But again, do not let this give you an overwhelming sense of security, wives are trained like Batman and the League of Shadows, to take men’s souls.

My wife, who I have written extensively about, is a great case study. She has terrific skills with a bow staff and can hang with the worst of men in fights. I’m certain of it. Having a baby has added another dimension–more depth to her fighting portfolio. We had an old method of arguing where we incorporated the “studio audience” method. One of us addresses a fake studio audience and makes fun of the the other’s irrational behavior.

It goes like this. Your wife says something, then you pause and look into the fake crowd of onlookers and say something like, “here is where my wife uses all inclusive statements to irrationally prove that she is right…”

Whitney has developed new weaponry. It is what I call the “baby talk” defense. This is where she looks at the baby and says something in random high and low pitch tones, “Look at you so cute sitting there with your foot in your mouth…Your daddy puts his foot in his mouth all of the time and one day I am going to put my foot in his ass…” It is quite effective because it now becomes parenting and allows you to say things you probably wouldn’t say to each other. She is a respectable foe and lover…

Now, I know in a fair fight, I could take my wife to school. She is strong, but I think I could win–maybe not by knockout, but I’d get the judges decision for sure. But this is only if the judges have the balls to tell her to her face that they think I won. It reminds me of a story about my wife.

Another couple, Whit and I were gathered together over the holidays playing a very competitive game that pitted couple against couple. The game was like the old game show Million Dollar Pyramid. One person had a word that they needed the other person to guess, but they were restrained by a list of words they could not use as clues. The game was back and forth, and Whitney was growing increasingly competitive as time passed. Soon, it came to Whitney to give me clues. I sat anxiously awaiting Whit’s masterful barrage of brilliant clues. She is a genius, for the love of god, we got this in the bag. Whitney began:

Whitney: (Slowly and matter of factly) I want to mont.

Heath: I don’t know what that means

Whitney: (still calm) I want to mont.

Heath: Okay, you’re sick, death, dying, montgomery, Alabama, the Confederacy….(Digressing into words that barely relate to one another, but pretending that Whitney is leading me down this road.

Whitney: (Growing Frustrated at my apparent idiocy) Listen, Heath! I WANT to MONT. I want to mont. (She then motions with her hands to me a gesture that says, “see how obvious it is now.”

Heath: Mont. You want to mont? Need, hungry, starving, children with no food, poor kids in Africa, famine, death and famine, rape, torture, water boarding, surfing, shark bite, apple sauce… (more words spilling out of my mouth at the rapid rate)

Whitney: (Yelling as the last sand falls through the minute glass) I WANT TO MONT. I WANT TO MONT. HEATH, I WANT TO MONT!!!!

Other couple: Time! They yell it with exuberance knowing that they have just been put into the perfect position to win this game.

I turn to Whitney feeling a bit embarrassed that I didn’t solve her clue. I say, “Whitney, I don’t know what a “mont” is. I don’t think it is a word. Whitney’s face is now riddled with disappointment. She breathes in and out big breaths and says “It isn’t a word, its what I was doing….I was rhyming. Want and Mont rhyme. Rhyming was the word you needed to guess.”

I explain to her that she could have rattled off a sequence of words like bat, hat, cat, mat, and that eventually, maybe three words into it, I would have put it together. I even said that I could understand the first go round using “I want to mont” and then seeing that I wasn’t comprehending, maybe moving to a new set of words that rhymed. Moreover, I felt that clinging to a nonsensical phrase was the worst strategy I have ever seen in the history of this game.

Whitney leaned in real close. Her lips so close to my ears that I could feel her breath on my lobes. She is silent. Long pause. She then says to me slowly and well enunciated and loud enough for all to hear. “If you really knew and loved me, you would have figured it out with the clue I provided.”

You have all seen the facts. It is clear that I am right in this case, but let me tell you what happened in that room. The other couple hearing Whitney’s words, understood something I should have figured out by then. Don’t mess with Whitney. If she wants to mont. Let her.

So, I say to Whitney, “You win, you’re right.” She reaches up and grabs my chin gently, caressing it softly with her thumb, and In a tone dripping with love and rainbows and unicorns and puppies and candy canes, she says, as she always does, “Heath, its not about winning…”

I just wanted you to know, because I have been holding it in for years.

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