One of my favorite memories of my wife occurred when we were driving back from a weekend vacation in Dresden while living in another part of Germany. We shared the drive together with three German friends, and the friend sitting next to my wife got a phone call from her boyfriend and they conversed for thirty minutes. The discussion covered many personal details of their relationship, and we all exchanged awkward looks. When she hung up, my wife turned to her and dryly asked, “Wrong number?”
But if someone were to overhear my wife and I talking on the phone, the confusion would be understandable; when she calls me and starts the conversation with, “Do you miss me?” I always answer, “Who is this?”
My wife finds that answer funny and more endearing than if I had actually said I did miss her. And that’s why our relationship works so well. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We laugh a lot, try and be nice, and never say or do anything romantic–ever.
The closest we come to romance is if we are out with friends at a restaurant or dancing, and a terrible, cheesy romantic song begins playing, and I take my wife’s hands, look her in the eye, and say as sincerely as possible, “Ohhh, this is our song…we both hate.”
My wife and I often sing and play instruments together, but if I ever tried to sincerely serenade her, she would respond by breaking her guitar over my head. I feel the same way.
Sometimes I tell her I wrote a love poem for her, then I start reading aloud an angry social injustice poem like Howl by Allen Ginsberg:
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by
madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn
looking for an angry fix…
Then I pause and ask, “Wait, have you ever heard of Allen Ginsburg?” She plays along and answers no, and then I quickly reply, “Oh good, well then yes, I wrote this love poem for you,” and I continue.
She’s the One
On our first date, I knew this girl had potential because she was not only funny, but she answered correctly to both of my deal-breakers for a future spouse:
1. I’ve always had a thing for librarians and insisted my future wife must either be a librarian or have played Marian the Librarian in a high school production of The Music Man. My wife fulfills both options.
2. I also insisted my future wife had to have won some sort of beauty contest–not because I’m shallow but because other people are shallow, and I don’t have time to argue with those shallow people about whose wife is better looking. I need some sort of official title like prom queen, and yes my wife has this certification of her good looks. About once a month I ask her to wear her tiara around the house and about once a month she reminds me that she lost her tiara ten years ago and would not wear it anyway.
I won’t share our inside jokes with you because you probably won’t find those funny, but I will share some of our favorite recurring jokes.
- When we hear the kids coming down the stairs or approaching our closed door, we immediately switch conversation and speak loudly about new ideas for punishments, underwear for birthday presents, or whether they would notice if we skipped Christmas. “But I bet they won’t even notice if we don’t have Christmas this year. And if they do notice we’ll just say Christmas was cancelled because of the war. And when they ask what war we’ll say the Zombie War and chide them for not keeping up on the news. And when they say they can’t keep up on the news because we rarely allow them to watch TV or use the Internet we’ll tell them to go to bed.”
- When my wife makes a dish for a party, I pretend not to know who made it, and then I rave and rave about it and ask everybody else, “Did you make this spinach artichoke dip? It’s off the hook!” And they’ll reply, “Your wife made that,” and I always act surprised.
- If you visit our house and ask if we have anything “for” a headache, we will ask, “Do you mean for getting headaches or for getting rid of headaches?” You’ll get a similar answer if you ask if we have anything for gas, for indigestion, or for a heart attack.
- When she finishes talking to one of her friends on the phone, I frequently ask, “Is she having relationship trouble? Does it seem like she and her boyfriend might break up? Did she mention having her eye on anybody else like maybe her best friend’s husband?” Only a super hot, prom queen librarian would find that funny.
Our marriage isn’t always perfect. There were a few instances when my wife failed to provide me with her full support:
- I was not impressed with the singers on the first season of American Idol, and I remarked that I could sing as well as most of the contestants, and my wife said, “Maybe.” Her extremely harsh words still sting today.
- I once asked my wife if I were as handsome as Brad Pitt, and she said no. The no didn’t hurt as much as the speed at which it was offered. I’m not sure I had even finished the question before she answered.
“Do you think I’m as handome as Bra–“
In my defense, I was not really equating my looks with Brad Pitt as much as saying Brad Pitt was overrated. But in all honesty, I feel I’m just as good looking as Brad Pitt on my very best day and on his very worstday, and also he has been drinking for three straight days and hasn’t slept, or if he has slept he slept on his face, and the part of his face he didn’t sleep on is partially obscured by a mask of Steve Buscemi’s face.
- The biggest rough patch in our marriage probably came when I had her watch Rocky IV with me, and I really built it up and told her I had watched the movie fifteen times. Her comment asking why an 80-minute movie required 60-minutes of music videos caused me to realize the movie was terrible. Thanks for ruining it, honey.
Happy anniversary, honey. Let’s celebrate like we do every year: I’ll hire a singing telegram to show up at the door with flowers and a serenade, and you can slam the door in his face.