An Argument for Nice Things

 
 

Jim Noonan

"Why do you have to argue with me?" Yes!!!!! The fact she's suggesting we're currently engaged in a verbal joust of right and wrong should be all the information she needs to swallow her pride and walk away, but it's too late…

My eyes widen.  Like a lion whose spotted a three-legged gazelle, my mouth begins to sweat.  My heartbeat… Boom-boom, boom-boom, boom-boom begins to speed up. A euphoric release of adrenaline has started to speed up my breathing and numb my extremities.  Sweet Jesus, it's exhilarating!

It was a grievous error on her part and she knows it. I tilt my head back ever so slightly; just enough to open up my nasal cavity and allow the salty smell of fear to penetrate my innards.  She's anxious.  Her eyes have begun to wildly shift back and forth.  She's plotting moves, gathering information, calculating, waiting and wondering when it will begin.  Just above her brow, dewy beads of perspiration begin to form and her knuckles whiten as she slowly squeezes the life from the shopping cart.  The tension is palpable.  She waits…

You see, I don't lose arguments, not to her.  That's not to say that I'm right all the time, 'cause I'm not.  In fact, I'm mostly wrong… about everything (nocturnal land-walking cannibal mermaids).  But - - over the course of 10 years, I have generated an unprecedented number of quality wins, against a worthy adversary who at times, seems more concerned with humiliating her husband than she is with the facts.  Bottom line:  I refuse to set foot in ANY argument, unless I'm absolutely, positively, one-hundred percent sure I can win.  She knows this, yet she continues to test my knowledge, common sense and reason.  Though notoriously wrong, she'll never concede.  Instead, she'll erroneously poke and prod until the argument in question, is ultimately settled by an unbiased third party, or Google.  Nothing, and I mean nothing would please her more than a win; a solid no-doubt-about-it bona-fied victory.  She's out to destroy my reign of righteousness, end my streak of arrogance and adorn her head with the Crown of Never Wrong.

I take a deep breath in, lick my chops and pause.  Something doesn't feel right.  This is different. As much as I want this victory, I'm not sure this is a winnable argument.  Hell, I'm not sure it's an argument at all.  We're defiantly in disagreement and it's obvious that I'm right, but there's no google-bility.  Am I being set up?  Could it be that somewhere behind one of these aisles, there are a whole slew of three-legged gazelles waiting to stomp a mud hole in me.

Every silent moment that passes begins to intensify.  The longer I wait to pounce, the easier it will be for her to assume she's right.  If I don't do something fast, she gonna do the unimaginable she'll win a SILENT ARGUMENT!  That's like winning 500 regular arguments in one and it's never been done, not in this relationship.  As a matter of fact, I think the last time it happened was in 2003.  Some guy in Ohio was carrying on about this, that and the other.  Anyway, story goes they were in Walmart when she did it.  Without saying a word, she spun her head a full one-hundred eighty degrees, looked that dummy right in the eye with the intensity of a thousand suns - - and ended it.  Five minutes later his brain fell out of his ass.  His brain.  Fell out. Of his ASS!  It was the ultimate game over.  Last I heard he was hooked up to a machine that feed him kibble three times a day.  True story.

I know, once the credit card is swiped, my streak and dominance will end.   I'll quietly slink back into a population of defeated souls.  There's gotta be a way out, a loop-hole.  Something I can do to that will keep my high horse from falling off its pedestal.  I need momentum, the upper hand.  I'm a winner.  I can do this.  I can do this.  I can… I'm…I'm…..

"I'm not arguing… I'm discussing."  Oh, SNAP!  Boom-shaka-laka!  You've been served, (insert stereotypical uncoordinated white man's wedding dance here).  Oh, weep the salty tears of defeat into the palms of your superior.  I am flawless.  You are perplexed.  I have foiled your coup with some powerful grammar high-jinks.  Rule number 1:  Don't mess with a wordsmith young lady or your tail will become a fail and your argument will turn into a discussion.  Thus my streak shall live on.  I own you!

"Well, keep your 'discuss' to yourself, 'cause unless you can come up with a good reason for putting it back on the shelf, it's coming home with us.  End of story."

End of story?  End of story!  What in the name of Tony Danza is going on?  I gotta tell ya, I'm kinda floored.  I thought I was in the driver's seat.  Not only are my instincts telling me that I'm wrong, I've got a sinking suspicion that I'm in for the fight of my life.  This is no ordinary argument.  This is "The Argument," the one that's been brewing for years.  At this point the only way to keep the steak alive and save our meager souls is to run, cry, or drop dead of a massive stroke.  I look down at my feet which are sporting a pair of 7-Eleven flip-flops and realize that a short gallop would probably accomplish all three.  I'm not going down like this.  I'm a fighter, (in the distance thunder or a well timed pot drop shakes the floor).  Oh, it's definitely on- - right here, right now between the sheets and shower curtain.  I crack my neck, grab the front of the cart and tighten my butt cheeks.

"There is NO we're buying an olive tray."  I'm fuming, and the more I look at it, the more hysterical I become.  In the past my M.O. was to stay clear of anything that upset the delicate balance of power and happiness in our household.  As a result I've reluctantly conceded to her a number of household items that I thought were perhaps a waste of money (cherry pitter), unnecessary (napkin rings), or indulgent (2-ply toilet paper).  But this- - this foot long piece of porcelain impracticality takes the cake.

"I think it's nice."

"No, it's insane.  What- - pray-tell… what do we need this for?"

"For when we have a party."

"No way.  Uh-uh. Not once in 11 years has there ever, been any mention, before, during or after any party, a need to display our olives in anything other than the jar they came in.  Not once!"

"Well sometimes it would be nice to have nice things when our friends come over."

"Our friends?  Who are we The Rockefellers?  We have friends that drink wine out of empty beer bottles.  There's a pretty good chance that they're not wondering why we don't have a thirty-dollar olive canoe next to the crock pot of Sloppy Joes."

"Well you never know."

"Yes, I do know, that's the whole point.  In fact, I'm certain that once in your possession, it will never ever get the chance to cradle those little green oblongs.  Instead it will sit silently forgotten until the end of every party when you'll say something like, 'Dammit, we forgot to put out the olive tray.'  This will happen, I promise you.  It will destroy our marriage."

"I think your overreacting; it's just an olive dish."  I wish it was that easy.  It's obvious she's blinded by the allure of Crate and Barrel and not looking at the big picture.  This stupid dish is our existence.

All those arguments, those wins have led to this moment. The basic fabric of society is teetering on the brink of destruction, and it's up to me.  For years, I've been secretly doing my part to make sure that we have the perfect balance of functional and unnecessary indulgent kitchenware in the house at one time.  This simple, sleek and oddly hypnotic olive tray will open the gates to Hell.  It'll only be a matter of days before I'm drowning in a sea of gravy boats, relish dishes, cheese knives, meat tenderizers, food injectors and chop stick holders.  Our house simply cannot support this change.  The explosion of luxury items will be impossible to sustain, causing ill tempers, short fuses and separate sleeping quarters. It'll be cataclysmic.  It has to end, it must be destroyed.  The weight of our sacred vows is beginning to bury me.  It ends now, and she'll thank me later…

"Okay, I'll make you a deal.  You let me buy the olive tray and I'll let you get that ice cream maker you keep whining about."

Check mate.  Ice cream fixes everything.

The streak: 265-0-1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 





 
 
 
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