A Man and His Potato Chip

 
 

By Marianne Walsh

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With the patio furniture finally brought up from the basement and temperatures reminiscent of mid-summer, I was suddenly inspired to whip up some of my world-famous hamburgers this week. They are my specialty.

Actually, they are the only thing I know how to make if you don't count Pop Tarts.

My husband Joe and I sat out on our back porch relishing the waning hours of a beautiful day and the last few bites of burgers and chips. He smiled contentedly and asked:

"Why can't they all be like this?"

Ah, my husband. He finds such peace in a comfy lawn chair and the camaraderie of family. It takes so little to make him happy. I started to wax philosophical about the simple joys in life when he interrupted:

"No. I was talking about the chips. I was wondering why they all can't be like this," he corrected while holding up a single Lays.

"What are you talking about?"

"This chip. Look at it. See how it's folded over on itself? It's got layers. It gives it just that added crunch that makes it so much more delicious."

"So that's what you were contemplating? Layered chips?"

"I think they should make entire bags of folded-over Lays. I'd totally buy them."

I looked at him, annoyed.

"What?" he asked, defensively. "My mind doesn't work like yours. I'm never going to be conducting mental checklists of the kids' summer learning schedule, refinancing options, and college savings plans. I'm just not."

"So when I look over at you and you're all quiet and pensive, I should just assume you're thinking about….."

"Folded chips. Yes. That would be correct."

My husband and I got into another disagreement later in the week over my inability to accept that he can actually be thinking about nothing.

"How is that even possible?" I demanded.

"You remember in school, those old computers before Microsoft, where you'd type in all the code at the C-Prompt?"

"Yeah?"

"That's my mind sometimes. I'm just the blinking C-prompt. I'm on, but I'm not performing any functions."

"I believe you just described someone who the medical community would label 'brain dead.'"

"Yes, that happens sometimes. That is the difference between men and women. We can turn our brains off, and you can't. Ha ha. Sucks for you ladies."

"Sucks that my brain doesn't go into sleep mode?"

"Yup. Sleep mode makes men happier. "

I just cannot fathom how a conscious person is capable of being a blank screen. I thought for sure he was secretly thinking about how much weight I've gained since I'd had kids. Or was he considering leaving me for a woman whose culinary expertise went beyond burgers? He could even be pondering my failure as a mother. I begged him to fess up, but he firmly held his ground:

"Blank screen. Seriously. I was channeling the C-Prompt."

I think I liked him better when he was ruminating over folded chips.

 
 







 
 
 
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