The Distracted Detective Strikes Again…Or At Least I Think He Did

Posted on March 19, 2012


As I’ve written before, I’ve often fantasized about being a detective because I like a good mystery, enjoy calling women ‘dames’, and appreciate any excuse for staying out late.

And I’m pretty good at deciphering clues. Just last week Mrs. Greatsby asked me who had tracked jam all over the kitchen floor and it only took me a second to realize it was our cat, Megatron. (Cats have different foot sizes than humans. Go stand in your cat’s litter box and you’ll know what I’m talking about.)

Despite my talent for understanding the meaning of clues, I have the inconvenient flaw of not noticing clues. Even the most obvious clues. I believe this is the result of a medical condition called Stareintospaceitis wherein the brain enjoys fantasizing about being a detective more than actually doing the work of being a detective.

My wife is usually supportive, but not when it comes to my dream to be a detective. Not only doesn’t she encourage me, she actually mocks my lack of detective talent by setting up clues for me to miss. Mrs. Greatsby took this to an extreme last weekend at dinner with our friends, Shannon and Andrew. Shannon and Mrs. Greatsby left to go to the ladies room and it wasn’t until they’d been back fifteen minutes that she asked if I’d noticed the two of them had swapped outfits.

At least Andrew didn’t notice either–and he’s a much better detective than I am since he’s always complimenting my wife’s new manicure or haircut when I didn’t notice. Thanks, Andrew.

Another thing she’s pointed out is that I’ve let the kids go to school in clothing covered with stains. I told her the kids seemed clean when they got on the bus so there must have been a giant puddle inside the bus. She disproved this theory by showing me the layer underneath the top layer was dirty as well.

To keep my wife from being disappointed when I don’t notice a haircut or manicure or if I ask if an outfit I gave her six years ago is new, I’ve created the following preemptive list of things I can and cannot be expected to notice:


Eye patch or a neck brace: Yes.

Cast on one arm: No.

Cast on two arms: Yes.

Wheelchair: Yes.

Hook hand: Yes, especially if it’s equipped to open beer bottles.


New eyeliner: No.

Zombie eyeliner: Yes.

Change in eye color: Eventually.


New gold molar: No.

Teeth made all of Chiclets: Yes.


Dreadlocks: Yes.

Haircut: No.

Change in hair color to anything other than pink of purple: No.

Shaved head: No.

Shaved head to have hair made into a wig that she’s wearing: No.


Pirate: No.

Hobo: No.

Olivia Newton-John from Xanadu: Yes and Yes.

Zooey Deschanel: Yes.


Encrusted with dried blood: No.  (I keep telling her, that’s why I’d be such a good alibi.  “Why no officer, she didn’t come home with her nails encrusted with dried blood.” And I’d pass a lie detector test.)

I retain the right to add other things in the future. And I’m going to hand her this list just as soon as she gets back from wherever she took the kids and all our stuff.  And the suitcases.  And the passports.


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Posted in: Family