Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Wife Rule #18: She Always Holds the Ace

Some family stories are the stuff of legend--they are so good that they get told again and again, with subtle embellishments tacked on with each re-telling. Some of them are even so good that they cross over family boundaries and become legendary for a wider audience. My brother-in-law told me one such story about his family. It's the kind of story that you don't want to suddenly pop into your head during breakfast, just after you just placed a heaping spoonful of Honey Nut Cheerios in your mouth, because the laugh-out-loud climax would likely cause you to spew your mouthful, Jackson Pollock style, across the kitchen counter. It's that good.

My brother-in-law comes from a large family, which virtually guarantees that something interesting will be happening at any given time. According to legend, during a routine family ride in their trusty 14-passenger van, two of his younger siblings had taken up the habit of talking in a rather irritating, high-pitched voice. On and on they chatted, getting just a little on everyone's nerves. After patience had worn thin, the youngest sister in the family abruptly announced from the very back seat of the van (and I'm going to try to spell this as phonetically as possible for maximum effect): "If you don't stop tawking in dose gwoss wowrds, I am going to bawf!"

Well, duly inspired with such words of encouragement, the two siblings continued emitting "gwoss wowrds" at a renewed pace--until a loud retching sound silenced them, and with horror-struck eyes, the entire family watched helplessly, as the youngest sister, in stunning high-definition slow motion, performed a perfect projectile vomit maneuver from the back seat, covering the entire distance inside the van.

I know what you're thinking right now: Wow, I would love to have seen that! That's exactly how I felt the first time I heard the story, after I had stopped guffawing and dry heaving. But believe it or not, there's a point to this story: the person who threatens to barf unless behavior is changed holds the Ace, and there's nothing anyone can do about it.

Thank goodness the terrorists haven't figured that one out yet: "I demand the freedom of all political prisoners and a private jet, or I am going to bawf!" Can you imagine the chaos, with people ducking for cover in every direction?

But I digress. What does this have to do with my wonderful wife? You might have thought that I composed this entire Wife Rule just as an excuse to share a disgusting story about projectile vomiting. And you would sort of be right. But there is a Wife Rule, a hidden nugget, contained in the guts of this story just longing to come out (no puns intended, really). And it has to do with Who Holds the Ace.

See, when I first married my wife, I thought that we each had our own set of Aces. I have since learned through befuddling experience that it really doesn't matter just how right I might think I am--my wife always holds the Ace. For example, how can you possibly argue with "Because I'm pregnant and I don't feel good!" It's not like I can really come back with "Well, whose fault is that?" Hmmm...

And how about the times when I bring up some little nit-picky thing that I feel she might have done wrong, and through some utterly mind-boggling conversational maneuvering, she manages to almost instantaneously convince me that no matter why I mentioned it, I had better cool it, because (a) it's my fault, or (b) I'm getting in deeper trouble by the second by bringing it up, or usually (c) both.

And, there's always the Ultimate Ace, that little fact that I sometimes momentarily forget, that she's my wife. And when that thought comes to mind, there's really not much more to say. And it truth, nothing more needs to be said. We do sometimes discuss pressing issues--the kind that need to be addressed to keep our family on the right course--in a spirit of mutual problem-solving. But I am learning slowly that the unimportant cards are better off left in the box, where they will be forgotten tomorrow anyway. There's no point in adding them to my hand--my wife holds all the Aces.


Brooke said...

But you are only partly right, for you hold all MY aces! You are the sweetest husband and my perfect hand so to speak.

Alisa said...

I love this story! There's another one with these kids. Once two of the little girls were making up from a fight. One said to the other, "I'm sorry." The other one said, "Well, you shouldn't have maked me smelled your bum." Ah, golden.

LuckyMatt said...

I know, I forgot one of the best elements to the barfing story, which is the sympathetic barfing from one of the sisters that closely followed the projectile puking. By the time I remembered, I couldn't figure out a way to work it into the story flow. Oh well.

Alan said...

I will tell the little Stout girls that they are famous!