Are You Married to a Birthday Moron?

When it comes to birthdays, there are two kinds of husbands. The first type delight in giving fabulous birthday gifts. The amount of thought that goes into these birthday extravaganzas implies planning has taken place months in advance. Gifts include (but are not limited to) treasure hunts, weekend getaways, breakfast in bed followed by a full day at the spa, and surprise parties. These enigma gentlemen must have Pinterest accounts or peruse discarded Real Simple magazines.

Then – then there are the other half. This group falls somewhere in between the categories of, “Wait. Is her birthday the third or the thirteenth?” and, “Crap. Today’s her birthday? Maybe I can get something in the gas station on the way home from work. My tank’s on empty.”

These less than impressive gift givers aren’t bad guys. In fact, many of them are incredible human beings. They just fall short – really short – every 365 days. For whatever reason, when their spouse’s birthday comes creeping around the calendar, something bizarre happens to their brains. Science has yet to explain it, but the evidence is there: these men turn into Birthday Morons.

Listed below are the types of birthday that ladies who are married to Birthday Morons have experienced. This list proves they’re not alone. The next time they hear of some gal’s husband making a special dinner (and doing the dishes) while she takes an uninterrupted bubble bath, they can refer to this list for comfort and solidarity. They can think, “Ahh, she too is married to a Birthday Moron.”

The Absolute Forgotten Birthday – you wait all day, knowing deep down he has forgotten your birthday but hope prevails that maybe, just maybe, he has a surprise planned. You make dinner. You clean up. The sense of dread and disappointment is intensifying. You peek in his closet, then his car trunk. No gift. Not even a card. There will be no surprise. He forgot.

The Last Minute Birthday – These birthday gifts are a tad better than the Absolute Forgotten Birthday, but not by much. They involve a hearty “Happy Birthday” greeting or text (yay!) but that’s about it. Your present is usually a,

“How about I bring you to the mall and you can pick out what you want?”

This lackluster offer to drive you to the mall proves there was no planning, or thought, whatsoever. Some women will jump on the invitation and buy the most expensive thing in the mall out of spite. Others are simply too exhausted, and they just want to get in bed and have a good seething cry. They also vehemently promise to never have sex with their Birthday Moron again.

The Hasty Birthday – Damage control people! The Hasty Birthday is when he looks at his desktop calendar and utters a, “Oh %&#$!. Today’s her birthday?” The Hasty Birthday knows an offer to go shopping at the mall won’t fly, so he stops on his way home from work and buys the easiest thing possible. Flowers from the grocery store with the price sticker adhered to the clear cellophane, and a gift card randomly chosen from a gift card kiosk. You tell yourself, “It’s the thought that counts,” but here’s the thing: THERE WAS NO REAL THOUGHT.

The Backpedal Birthday – There is no card, gift, or celebratory outing. His reason?

“Remember how we went out for dinner and that movie two weeks ago? That was your birthday gift.”

If only you had known! You would have ordered an appetizer and asked the waiter for a free piece of cake.

The Self-Serving Birthday – These birthday gifts are complicated. The guy remembers your birthday, but the gift is more for him than you. You unwrap your present only to find a book on massage and massage oil. Meanwhile, he has removed his shirt and is pointing to his left shoulder.

“Could you get right here? My trapezius? It’s been sore for weeks.”

Other Self-Serving Birthday gifts include lingerie, tickets to watch his favorite sports team, or a power tool. The Self- Serving Birthday Moron has also been known to be sneaky. These gifts involve jewelry, a day at the spa, or dinner at your favorite restaurant. The magic quickly evaporates when you realize your Birthday Moron is expecting sex later that night, or he is hoping you won’t be angry when he announces his fantasy football losses.

The Clueless Birthday – Similar to the Self-Serving Birthday, these birthday gifts are tricky. The Birthday Moron remembers your birthday and made time to purchase a gift, but all consideration (and common sense) left the brain as soon as this Birthday Moron entered the store. Clueless birthday presents have been known to include hand held vacuum cleaners (“but you’re always cleaning!”), salad spinners (“since you make salad every night”), and bedroom slippers two sizes too big. The Clueless Birthday also involves an offer to make dinner, only to be served hot dogs or Kraft macaroni and cheese.

There is hope for Birthday Morons. Legend has it that one or two have morphed into those great gift giving husbands – the ones who love to plan, and have no secret agenda hidden in their gift giving. But until then, the wives of Birthday Morons can unite and commiserate. They can hope that next year will be better.

Wages for Egg Laying Chickens

In case you haven’t noticed, egg prices have soared. According to a recent CNN article, the price of eggs has increased 84.5% due to the Avian Influenza that wiped out most of the egg laying chicken population in the mid-western states. (Click HERE to read article.) Household staples, such as mayonnaise and other foods that contain eggs as their main ingredient, have also seen prices skyrocket as a result of the egg shortage.

Yet, these surviving egg laying chickens, how are they profiting from the increase cost of their eggs? Nothing has changed for them. They can only lay one egg a day as nature intended. Meanwhile, that egg they painfully birthed? It’s being sold for double the original price! All the while, the chickens are clucking away, oblivious to their lack of participation in the increase profit margin of their eggs.

They have no agent, and they are certainly not unionized. When an interview was attempted, the chickens did nothing more than stare at me with their beady little eyes. A braver one strutted forward and pecked the microphone on my recorder. When I listened to the recording later, I heard nothing more than loud explosions.

Local congressmen were incredulous.

“Reimburse chickens for their eggs?” said one after I finally got through to him after several phone calls. “The actual chickens, you mean?”

“Why of course, the actual chickens! They’re the ones laying the eggs! The very eggs that are now selling for double! Hello? Hello? Mr. Congressman? Hello?”

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) was less than helpful. First, they dismissed my suggestion that their acronym should really be PFTETOA (People For The Ethical Treatment OAnimals). Second, unbeknownst to me, they are against the entire egg industry. Reimbursing chickens for their eggs was not an option. They don’t want us eating eggs in the first place.

It seemed I was on my own. What would a solid wage be for egg laying chickens? I checked my wallet. Since I had just spent eight bucks on two cartons of eggs, all I had left was two dollars.

I decided to pay the chickens the difference in cost.

“Here chickens!” I said, “Here is two dollars. This is what you are owed. I used to pay two dollars for a dozen of your eggs. Now I pay four. You deserve the difference.”

The chickens watched as I threw the money into their pen. All at once, they scrambled for the dollar bills. Several grabbed the bills with their beaks. A fierce game of tug-of-war ensued, until one chicken (the one who had earlier pecked at my microphone, come to think of it) snatched the money and took off, swallowing it whole.

The second dollar bill was torn to shreds. The chickens pecked at the remains before losing interest. It seemed they had no use for monetary compensation for their egg laying efforts.

“You’re an idiot,” the chicken farmer said.

I tried to explain that I was advocating for the chickens; that they’re underpaid and have no representation. The chicken farmer informed me chickens are never paid. They don’t understand, or care, if their eggs are sold for profit.

The drive home was a let down. I had expected to leave the chicken farm feeling fulfilled, knowing that I had helped a lesser being. Instead I felt foolish. Of course chickens don’t need money! What was I thinking? Now what was I going to do?

Ostriches! There was a bird that needed my help! I’ve heard rumors of ostrich races, where people dressed like jockeys straddle these mammoth birds and race them towards the finish line, feathers flying everywhere, the ostriches looking panicked and thirsty.

I must find an ostrich race to boycott, maybe start an online shaming campaign that targets the owners of racing ostriches. But first, I had to make an omelet.

Facebook Broke the RSVP

You see the invites hovering in the upper right hand corner of your screen. There are now sixteen of them, two more since you last logged into your Facebook account. The last time you checked, the invitations were an odd assortment of events, mostly things you would never be interested in attending: make-up and 31 parties, political fundraisers, and a local marathon. They seem to be the online equivalent to mass mailings. You are one of three hundred people invited to the online candle party this Wednesday, one of twenty invited to a neighborhood wine tasting party (that has been cancelled and rescheduled twice), and one of sixty-two thousand invited to the online political fundraising event next week.

After a while, you stop glancing at the upper right hand corner of your screen. The Facebook invitations continue to arrive in droves, sometimes from people you vaguely know. Do you really need to RSVP? Will the host of the online political fundraiser who invited sixty-two thousand people really care if you’re not attending? You should acknowledge the invite to the neighborhood wine tasting party, but this twice canceled and rescheduled event makes you suspect the date is vague, only a possibility. You log off, telling yourself you’ll RSVP later.

It is this reason, this overload of Facebook invites, that you neglect to acknowledge the other invitations in your life. The invitations of days past: paper invitations arriving in your mailbox or in your child’s school bag. You take note of their appearance; perhaps even tack the invitation to the front of your refrigerator. You may glance at it while reaching into the fridge for milk and think, “Oh! I still need to respond!”  But your mind wanders to the milk and its expiration date. Eventually, just like those mass Facebook invites, you stop seeing the paper invitation hanging on your refrigerator.

Meanwhile, the date for Aunt Dottie’s party arrives. Her dining room table is set for the fifteen people she invited, even though only three people called and said they would attend. She feels flustered, not quite sure what to do about the twelve guests who did not RSVP. Aunt Dottie now wonders if she made too much punch, and if the extra place settings will look foolish if no one fills them. Yet, what if someone who didn’t RSVP does show up?

If Facebook broke the RSVP, what is to be done? We could try and stop the source, ending the deluge of shotgun invites that populate the upper right hand corner of our Facebook screen. Or, we could bring back common courtesy. We can respond to the invitation, whether it involves clicking the “decline” button on the screen, or even (God forbid) having an actual conversation with the host who took the time to handwrite a paper invitation.

Because at the end of the day, Aunt Dottie needs to know how many cupcakes to make.

Kale Causes Cancer

Kale causes cancer. Well, not yet. But it will. It’s only a matter of time before a national study reveals that this esteemed leafy green vegetable is wreaking havoc on our bodies. Just look at fish! For decades we have been told to “eat more fish!”, “fish is good for you!”, “fish has healthy oils for your brain!” Then along comes this pesky neurotoxin called mercury – which has apparently infested our fish.

It’ll be no surprise when kale is considered deadly. First, it has a rough, rubbery texture, which is nature’s way of saying, “hands off!” Second, it’s bitter. An acquired taste? Or similar to the bad taste that bugs excrete to keep predators from devouring them? Lastly, it has an ornamental look to it, implying it should surround our steak and potatoes, not be in lieu of them.

People are very proud when they eat kale, as though they have just saved someone from drowning. Smoothie establishments offer drink concoctions that contain kale as a main ingredient. Women – wearing yoga pants – brandish these smoothies in their hands, feeling good about themselves, when in reality it looks like they are drinking the contents of someones’s stomach after an intestinal virus. These smoothies also contain a variety of other fruits and vegetables, which are supposed to add to the smoothies’ nutritional content. But we all know what is really going on: they’re just trying to cover up the taste of the kale.

Facebook and Pinterest are full of kale recipes. Soon there will be kale coffee and kale cupcakes. That is, until it is announced that kale causes cancer. Then everyone will breathe a sigh of relief and admit they never liked the vegetable, that they always found it bitter and disgusting – how they pretended to like it because it was cool. They never should have dressed little Sophia up as a kale leaf for Halloween, or made Simon eat dried kale chips for snack everyday.

Support groups will form, and not because kale has given so many people cancer, but because there is now a vacant spot – a rift – in their lives.

“It’s that feeling I miss … the pride of having something so healthy in my grocery cart. Nothing quite matches the euphoria of another grocery shopper glancing at my groceries and seeing my kale, while they were buying nothing but cheese doodles and soda.”

“Mmmm … I hear what you’re saying. And how about you, Sue? What are you feeling right now?”

“It made me feel smart. Like, I was playing a trick on someone. Why else would I eat something so awful? But I knew it was supposed to be good for me. So I ate it. But without kale, I’m just boring. I’m like everyone else.”

“Those are very strong feelings, Sue. Thank you for sharing them. How about you, Stephanie?”

“I’m really regretting naming my daughter Kale. I should have gone with Emma.”

People will wander around the produce section of grocery stores. Spinach may gain some new attention, like an ex girlfriend who suddenly seems appealing again. Others may briefly try broccolini, only to find it’s been around too long, they’re familiar with its taste, it doesn’t feel like it’s doing anything.

In time, another vegetable will be heralded as the “nutrient packed”, “immune-boosting”, “cancer fighting” food that kale was once considered to be (before it was discovered that it causes cancer). Everyone will breathe a sigh of relief and rush to ingest that plant. Until, of course, it is announced it causes heart disease.

What Do YOU Advocate For?

Save the Children. Save the Planet. Save the Whales. Greenpeace. American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Habitat for Humanity. D.A.R.E.

Chances are, you have heard of one – if not all – of the aforementioned advocacy groups. These groups use various forms of advocacy to influence public opinion to hopefully bring about change. Some actions used by advocacy groups to gain support and further their cause are mailings, fundraising, phone calls, and radio/television commercials (who doesn’t remember the infamous 1987 Partnership for a Drug Free American commercial: ” I learned it from watching  you, Dad!”)

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“I learned it from you, all right? I learned if from watching you!”

Yet, what about lesser known advocacy groups? The ones who don’t have the manpower to make annoying phone calls during dinnertime? Who haven’t partnered with large scale grocery stores that ask for a donation after you have recovered from the shock of your grocery bill? These groups are just as devoted and passionate about their cause as say, Doctors without Boarders or the SPCA. But they are just too small a fish in this great sea of thousands of advocacy whales (which, apparently, are being saved).

This is when The Underground Writer steps in to offer these start-up groups some assistance. After much internet perusing, I have decided to shine the spotlight on 5 groups that are lesser known … and for a reason.

1. Americans for Common Cents

Don’t I mean “sense”? No, actually, I don’t and for several reasons. Americans for Common Cents (Click HERE if you don’t believe me) is an advocacy group for the penny. Who knew the penny needed an advocate! Have no fear, you little copper coin, because there is a whole group of penny lovers devoted to your preservation. Consideration has been given to stop producing the penny since it costs more money to produce each penny than they are actually worth (2.4 cents per penny, according to the Citizens to Retire the U.S Penny – a group advocating to STOP penny production). For many, this seems logical. All one has to do is dig deep into their winter coat pockets, couch cushions or car seats to extract errant pennies. Pennies can be found easily most anywhere. But for others? A coalition to stop the killing of the penny’s creation was necessary. Hence, Americans for Common Cents was born.

2. Save the Pigeon: New York City Pigeon Rescue Central

Established in 2004, Save the Pigeon: New York City Pigeon Rescue Central was established to, well, save pigeons. Volunteers (or Pigeon People as they call themselves on their website) care for wounded or sick pigeons. To quote their Facebook page, “New York City pigeons have a very hard time … New York City makes no provision for their care.” For shame, NYC!  With all of that real estate, I would think a pigeon hospital would be a viable option. Complete with little pigeon ambulances. If you, too, wish to be a Pigeon Person, click HERE.

3. Use Plastic Bags, Save Trees

Not only is this group hugging trees, they are hugging plastic as well. Per “Use Plastic Bags, Save Trees,” plastic bags take up less landfill space than paper bags because plastic bags weigh less. (Never mind that paper bags are biodegradable and plastic … isn’t.) To quote this fascinating advocacy group: “Our mission is to let people know how good plastic is for the environment.” Clearly in its beginning stages, “Use Plastic Bags, Save Trees” was established as recently as August 2014. Should you want to help support the cause of furthering the use of plastic and not trees, click HERE.

4. The Flat Earth Society

Ferdinand Magellan schmellan! Who says the earth is round? Not the Flat Earth Society, that’s for sure! After a rocky history that included several presidents and one big house fire, the Flat Earth Society was resurrected in 2004. In October, 2009, the society opened its big flat doors to new members. (Should you want to join, but you MUST think the earth is flat.) Their mission? “To promote and initiate discussion of flat earth theory and to encourage free thinking and debate.” If you have always had an inkling that the Earth is not shaped like a globe but instead, a pancake, and want to advocate for this belief, click HERE.

5. Save Pink Bathrooms

About to swing a sledgehammer to that nightmare of a grungy pink bathroom in your 1960s-era ranch with plans of replacing the stained, cracked tile with something modern? Well, don’t let Pam of Save The Pink Bathroom know! According to this group, fifty year old pink tile is something to be savored. Whether it is considered a part of the home’s history (to quote their website: “Pink bathrooms are a wonderful part of our home design heritage”) or now en vogue, this group encourages you to put that sledgehammer away. Supporters of pink bathrooms can sign a pledge to preserve these bathrooms, and can also purchase a “I Saved a Pink Bathroom” t-shirt that announces their bathroom altruism by clicking on THIS LINK.

Perhaps in a year or two … or twenty, Americans for Common Cents, Save the Pigeons, Use Plastic – Not Trees, The Flat Earth Society and Save Pink Bathrooms will be large scale endeavors that are as prominent as the American Heart Association. Stranger things have happened.

 

**”I learned if from watching you, Dad!” photograph is property of Google Images.*

Have No Fear, Toilet Paper Is Here!

Are you panicking? According to the media, we are only one step away from being mysteriously infected with Ebola tainted bodily fluids. If not sickened with this hemorrhagic disease, then an ISIS terrorist lurking in our hedges could be the cause of our demise. Yet, if we manage to survive these tragedies, we are still left to grapple with the horrendous U2 album iTunes downloaded on our iPhones.

It’s enough to drive anyone off the deep end. How are you coping? At first, I was a mess. I was losing sleep. I was up all night, pacing the floors (while periodically checking my forehead for a fever and my body for bleeding – the telltale symptoms of Ebola). Every few minutes I would peek out behind my curtains for an ISIS member prowling the neighborhood. Until I had to use the bathroom. Then all my fears and anxieties came to a screeching halt.

The bathroom? You say. Yes. The bathroom. Charmin toilet paper now comes scented. That’s right! This bath tissue smells like chamomile.

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There I was, worrying about coming into contact with the body secretions of an Ebola patient while I’m at the airport when suddenly, I felt so … relaxed! I wasn’t exactly sure what the source of this new found serenity was, until I realized it was coming from my toilet paper! Ebola what? ISIS who? By Charmin simply adding a fragrance to their toilet paper, my life has suddenly become easier. Thank you, Charmin!

The problem is, the scent is so lovely that I don’t want to use it for its intended purpose. Instead, I place the rolls around my home in lieu of potpourri.

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When company arrives, they sniff the air.

“What is that beguiling scent?”

“Oh, that,” I say modestly, “that’s just my chamomile scented toilet paper.”

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“I’m kind of embarrassed,” one friend admitted, “your bath tissue smelled so divine, like … flowers, I just couldn’t bring myself to use it. Do you have anything else?”

“I don’t blame you,” I say, “and you can actually remove that roll and put it right on the shoe rack in my hall closet.”

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Now, my hall closet is infused with the scent of chamomile.

Whenever I feel tense, I now have to whip out a roll of chamomile scented toilet paper and take a nice, long sniff in order to calm myself.

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Ahhhhhh! So what if I’m late for my appointment?

Perfume? Shmerfume! Why would I choose to wear perfume when all I need is one roll of scented toilet paper? I stick a roll in my purse and out the door I go, the aroma of chamomile scented bath tissue trailing behind.

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“Excuse me,” says the woman in the store, “do you know you have toilet paper hanging out of your purse?”

“Oh, yes! And this isn’t just any toilet paper. This is Charmin’s chamomile scented toilet paper.”

“Scented toilet paper? Now they scent toilet paper? When we go and wipe our -“

“But doesn’t it smell lovely?”

“I don’t care what it smells like! Toilet paper isn’t supposed to smell, period. That stuff isn’t for smelling! It’s for wiping!”

And like that, the magic is gone. While driving home, I sniff the roll of Charmin but instead of calm all I hear is the woman’s voice saying, “It’s for wiping!”

That night, I’m back up, pacing the floors, wondering if the CDC will create an Ebola vaccine since two people in our country now have the virus. However, if they do quickly make a vaccine, will the vaccine be safe? Sadly, I am no longer calmed by my toilet paper. I realize Charmin’s chamomile scented toilet tissue is simply toilet paper that smells weird.

**Author’s Note: The toilet paper rolls used in these photographs are not actual Charmin products, nor are they affiliated with Charmin. Any resemblance to Charmin chamomile scented toilet paper is purely coincidental, because why would anyone want to use scented toilet paper??** 

As President …

President Underground Writer: I sit before you today as the forty-fifth President of the United States of America. Members of Congress and Senators, I look forward to working together in unity as we face and successfully address the daunting issues that stand before us all.

Congresswoman Liza Lott: We look forward to working with you as well, President Underground Writer.

President Underground Writer: Why, thank you, Representative Liza Lott. Okay, first things first. The most pressing issue I feel this country needs is a Silver Head Lane. This will be shovel-ready, putting thousands upon thousands of unemployed people to work –

Senator Les Abel: Um … excuse me, President Underground Writer, but what exactly do you mean by “Silver Head Lane?”

President Underground Writer: A traffic lane devoted solely for silver heads, of course. What do you think it means?

Senator Les Abel: A traffic lane devoted solely for silver heads? You mean, old people?

President Underground Writer: Sure. They would have their own lane. Like truckers have on the Jersey Turnpike. Just think of it! Their own lane, where they can dawdle safely, unharassed by people tailgating them. Then the rest of society can get to their destinations on time.

Congressman Ernest Lee Cheating: President Underground Writer, not only does that sound discriminatory, but it also would be extraordinarily expensive. Also, I don’t remember you saying anything about this Silver Head Lane during your campaign for office.

President Underground Writer: Well, sure I did! Didn’t you listen to those annoying prerecorded robocalls that called your house every night? Or what about the dozens of flyers that filled your mailbox every day? Both of those stated I had a plan to improve our country’s infrastructure.

Congresswoman Liza Lott: Wait. Your plan to improve our country’s infrastructure was by building Silver Head Lanes? How come no one knew this? (Looks around room.)

President Underground Writer: I may have been a little vague. Okay, next on my agenda to help this country is texting.  I want a federal law that will make texting while driving a criminal offense.

Senator Les Abel: A criminal offense? That seems a bit much. I mean, haven’t you ever texted while driving?

President Underground Writer: I can’t recall.

Congressman Ernest Lee Cheating: You can’t recall? Did you, or did you not text while driving?

President Underground Writer: I may have typed some words, but I never actually sent the text. Therefore, it doesn’t count as a text since it was never sent. Okay. Transportation has been addressed. Now, last on my agenda before I leave for Camp David –

Congresswoman Liza Lott: Leave for Camp David? But it’s your first day in office!

President Underground Writer: … is to get rid of Columbus Day. Wasn’t Christopher Columbus a big, fat jerk?

Senator Les Abel: A big fat jerk?

President Underground Writer: Yes. Didn’t he lop off the hands of people? And he never actually discovered the United States. He just bumped into the Caribbean with that old fashioned boat of his. And even then he thought it was India. Some explorer he was!

Congresswoman Liza Lott: So, you would like to abolish the federal holiday altogether?

President Underground Writer: Not get rid of it, exactly. More like tweak it, so we can acknowledge another explorer. Like … Juan Ponce de Leon.

Senator Les Abel: Ponce de Leon … didn’t he discover Florida while searching for the fountain of youth? Why should we have a federal holiday named after him?

President Underground Writer: Since this county esteems youth so much. Look at all the anti-wrinkle creams out there. Instead of Columbus Day, it should be Ponce de Leon Day. That would be more fitting with our country’s values. Now, let’s see … I addressed transportation, infrastructure and a federal holiday. I think that does it for today. If there’s an emergency, I can be reached at Camp David.

Senator Les Abel (rubbing his temples): President Underground Writer –

President Underground Writer: Oh! That reminds me. I would like to be addressed as “Your Majesty.” How come Great Britain gets the Queens and Princes? Huh? That’s just not fair.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fight Like A Butterfly, Sting Like A Bee?

According to the article Can This Marriage Be Saved? sixty-nine percent of marital conflicts are never resolved. Sixty-nine percent! This is an alarmingly high number, and it sheds some light on why forty to fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. But the question still remains: why are all of these marital conflicts not being resolved?

Dr. John Gottman, a psychologist quoted in Can This Marriage Be Saved?, attributed unresolved conflicts to communication, or lack thereof. Dr. Gottman states that couples who resolve arguments tend to communicate nicely. They deliver their complaints with less of a blow (think flyweight boxing verses heavyweight). Meanwhile, couples who don’t communicate never resolve their discrepancies, thus leading to the eventual demise of the relationship.

While Dr. Gottman clearly pinpoints the main ingredient (communication) for relationship longevity, I felt it needed to be expanded. Why, exactly, are these couples not communicating? How are they fighting so that nothing is being resolved?

I took to the streets, pen in hand (and depending on the neighborhood, mace can in my other hand) and began surveying married couples. The question posed: when you and your spouse fight, how does he (or she) act?

A surprising discovery was not simply the lack of communication. Most did indeed communicate. However, they all had unique fighting styles. The categories are listed below.

The Convincers – also known as Verbal Gymnasts, the Convincers have the innate ability to convince you that you’re the one who is wrong. They stop at nothing to convince you, so arguments generally last for hours. Whether it is pure exhaustion – or they are finally persuaded – spouses of Convincers usually throw in the towel and eventually declare they were wrong.

The Clammer Uppers – these spouses stop talking because they are so overwhelmed with emotions they simply shut down. (Or they fear saying something they will really regret.) Some people call this  “the silent treatment.” Did she hear you apologize? Your guess is as good as mine, because if she did hear you, you would never know. Convincers love Clammer Uppers because they can continue to convince with no interruptions.

Taker Offers – similar to the Clammer Uppers but with more energy. The Taker Offers will physically leave the premises of the fight. This may mean storming out of the house or restaurant. If enclosed in a car, Taker Offers have been known to shove the offending person out of the car and drive off, leaving the spouse stranded.

Reactors – you’re mad because she’s mad.

“Now I’m in a bad mood too. Here I was, just watching the game and enjoying my beer, but now it’s ruined because you’re mad at me again.”

The mood of Reactors seems to be contingent upon the mood of the spouse.

Directors – tell their spouse what she or he needs to do to end the fight. Apology insincere? Who cares! Fight is over! Let’s go out for dinner already! Convincers and Directors could NEVER be married to one another. The Convincer would be too busy trying to convince the Director, while the Director would be too busy telling the Convincer what he needs to do in order to conclude the argument.

Moper – a personification of Eeyore, the Moper will throw the biggest pity party of the century. The Moper has a fighting style similar to that of the Convincer, but much more pathetic.

 “I know I forgot your birthday again. I’m so dumb. I’m the worst husband ever. You should never have married me. Other husbands would have remembered your birthday. You can go marry them. I deserve it.”

Mopers and Directors make great couples. A Director would simply tell the Moper what needs to be done to soothe things over.

“You’re right! I should go out and marry someone else. Now, let’s go shoe shopping because you’re buying me five pairs of shoes and you’re going to love every second of it. Got it?”

Conversely, Mopers and Reactors would never make it. Once the Moper turned all mopey, so would the Reactor.

“You’re right. You are so dumb for forgetting my birthday again. And I’m dumb for marrying you. We’re both two dumb people. And now I’m too depressed to go find another husband.”

The last fighting style identified was the Rehasher. During an argument, a Rehasher will suddenly bring up issues (issues you thought were resolved) from the past. Similar to Mohammad Ali’s famous phantom punch that abruptly ended the boxing match with Sonny Liston by knock out, the Rehasher will verbally strike their unknowing spouse, leaving them stunned. Bewildered. Speechless.

“I forgot to take out the garbage? Well! At least I didn’t back the car into a telephone pole.”

“That was five years ago!”

“Maybe it was, but my not taking out the garbage didn’t cost us a $500 deductible, now did it?”

To take Dr. Gottman’s expertise a smidgen further, it appears couples may not be communicating because of their fighting styles. How can a Moper talk things out with a Reactor when both turn sullen? Or a Director communicate with a Convincer with they are talking over each other?  As Leo Tolstoy said, “what counts in making a happy marriage, is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility.”

References: Can This Marriage Be Saved?

The Prostitute

The Underground Writer

I didn’t notice her enter the Hallmark store. I was up to my elbows in Mother’s Day cards, attempting to find one that didn’t have “mother” scrawled dramatically across the front in cursive letters. (I don’t know about you, but I have never, ever, called my mom ‘mother’ – but apparently Hallmark seems to think that is quite common.) It was then that I noticed the two teenage employees whispering and pointing to something behind me.

Turning, I saw a prostitute looking at cards. She was clad in thigh-high, high heeled boots, miniskirt, and a shirt that exposed her stomach. Basically, she resembled Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman before she cleans up. The prostitute then moved to where I was standing and, shamefully, I lowered my head and acted as though I was engrossed in what I was reading.

I tried to focus on finding a card for my mom…

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The Truth About Shakespeare

The Underground Writer

Yesterday was William Shakespeare’s birthday. I confess, I am not one who enjoys Shakespeare’s works. When I read Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and Taming of the Shrew in high school, I had to borrow the equivalent of “Shakespeare for Dummies” from the library just so I could understand what I was reading. When I hear that he is considered one of the most prolific authors in history, I can’t help but furrow my brow and think, “Really? Him? I just don’t get it.”

Perhaps it is ignorance (or lack of culture) on my part. I want to like Shakespeare. Truly, I do. I would love to understand his sonnets and swoon over them. But the whole “doth” “thou” “mayst” “oft” “thy” parts throw me for a loop. Did they really speak that way back then? Or did they talk like we do now, and just wrote like that? Maybe he wasn’t the romantic that scholars claim he was…

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