Something I’ve learned in my vast six months of marital experience is that once you settle down with someone, you must maintain a constant vigil not to get trained.
The other day, my wife Kara and I were relaxing after a stressful day at work by watching a TV show in which several people were violently murdered, when she said, “Could you get me a clementine out of the fridge?”
An innocuous request at first glance, I agree. And sure, we had plenty of clementines in the fridge, mostly because the grocery store only sells them in crates that you could use to ship a kangaroo. And she did ask me during the commercials, which consisted almost entirely of former sports legends enthusiastically tossing aside their dignity to discuss the benefits of drugs with names like Perpendiculus.
Truth be told, I kind of wanted a clementine, too. But I didn’t get her one. There was a bigger issue to consider. Sure, I wouldn’t have minded getting her a clementine, but did I really want to spend the next sixty years as a produce retriever? That’s not how I want to spend my life — I want to spend it harassing my wife in the newspaper.
For the record, her spot on the couch is no further from the fridge than mine. And as any swimmer will tell you, it would have been easier for her to get to the kitchen than me, because hairless legs are much more aerodynamic. Okay, if I’m being honest, we were both wearing jeans, and she doesn’t shave her legs much in the winter anyway – but that’s not the point. The point is twofold:
1. I will make ridiculous arguments to avoid standing up.
2. If you ever find yourself hosting American Idol, you must resist the urge, no matter how powerful it is, to end every episode by saying, “Seacrest out.”
I know what you’re thinking. This whole discussion is pointless, because in about ten years, scientists will have genetically modified fruit to come when you call it; the clementine will just hop out of the crisper and walk into the living room.
And this may be true, but how long have we already been waiting on personal jet packs? “Give us personal jet packs,” we say to the scientists, to which they reply: “Here, have some Segway scooters.”
So I don’t trust those scientists to bail me out. I have to look out for number one. And after she’s taken care of, I have to look out for myself. Besides, even if we did get personal jet packs, how would we decide who gets to be the one to fly to the fridge? We’d be right back where we started. Thanks for nothing, scientists.
Anyway, of course I eventually got her the clementine, but I waited until the next commercial break. I may have to resign myself to a life of produce retrieval, but that doesn’t mean I have to do it promptly.
So I am resisting my training for now, but I don’t hold out much hope for myself in the future. If other husbands are any indication, my trip to obedience school has only just begun. I just wish the only tricks I had to learn were “sit” and “stay.”