Marriage can be a battle. And sometimes you have to play dirty.
There is a song out there, written nearly 50 years ago, that drives MJ crazy. Actually, it drives every woman I’ve ever known crazy. My wife hates this song. Hates it! She’s not one to use that word unless it’s warranted, but in this case she doesn’t hesitate. She hates the song like Mel Gibson hates temple. It’s not so much on the level of Red Sox and Yankees fan hating each other, but more like Palestinians and Israelis. The mere mention—nevermind actual playing of said song—sends my wife into a murderous frenzy. And when this obscure melody was featured in a Family Guy episode, her anger grew.
See for yourself:
Needless to say, MJ’s visceral reaction caused by this song makes me sing it, hum it and play that video whenever I’m pissed off at her. This has resulted (multiple times) in her threatening my life, punching me, kicking me and chasing me around the house threatening to remove my very manhood.
But then, on Monday, I decided to up the stakes by teaching Will how to sing it.
I worked on it with him for awhile and even showed him the Family Guy video so we could practice it together. Then we carefully planned for MJ’s arrival, at which point I excitedly told MJ our son had learned something new and very cute at school. She grinned widely and asked what it was. That’s when I whispered “Just like we practiced” to my strapping young lad, and watched proudly as he stepped to the middle of the living room…
“Bird is word. Ba-Ba Bird is Word. Bird is word Mama. Don’t know about bird, everyone Bird is word. Bird is word! Bird is word! BIRD IS WORD!!”
In that moment, I can say with complete honesty my wife had no love for me. None. She wanted me dead and the daggers from her eyes looked capable of performing the task. But I didn’t care because my son and I love the song and he would not stop singing it. We belted out the strains of Surfin’ Bird all night long as MJ tried to ignore us by playing around on the computer—no doubt researching the going rate for mafia hit men these days.
I considered this the death blow and proclaimed it a total victory. And the best thing about it was she had no comeback. Game. Set. Match. Not only do I sing the song, but I taught it to Will. There was nothing else she could do that would irritate me as much as playing that song irritated her.
Or so I thought.
Still glowing from my victory, I went to pick Will up from preschool on Tuesday afternoon. I walked in as usual, grabbed his coat, picked up his Mickey Mouse backpack and signed him out. But just as we were ready to leave, his preschool teacher said the words that have haunted me ever since:
“Will, don’t forget your purse.”
I stopped dead in my tracks and looked at her with confusion. Then Will ran around to the other side of the room to collect something. And when he turned the corner, my heart sank into my feet and shame washed over me like the incoming tide.
A purse. A polka-dotted, black and white purse. He wore it proudly slung over his shoulder, just like…
And that’s when it hit me.
“Buddy, what is that you’ve got there and why on Earth are you carrying it around?”
“It’s my purse.”
“I see that. And where did you get that purse?”
“From Mama. It’s beautiful, right dad?”
The shock of it all had left me standing there, feeling like my feet were glued to the floor. I couldn’t move. Couldn’t think. All the while the flurry of parents picking up their kids was going on all around me, yet all I could look at was that goddamn purse.
The worst part was Will’s preschool teacher saw this all go down, and I knew I couldn’t overreact lest I be judged. So I had to put on a happy face and talk about how TOTALLY COOL it was for boys to have purses. Because I’m a progressive liberal who shouldn’t have a problem with strict gender stereotypes. Yup. No issues here. I’m so above all that nonsense.
It physically pained me.
As soon as I got him strapped into his carseat I called my wife, ready to accuse her of using our child as a weapon of mass destruction in our marital warfare. But she wouldn’t bite.
She said she would never sink so low as to involve our son in our spats. She told me he picked up the purse and liked it, so she let him bring it to school. Then she pointed out how hypocritical it would be of me to be upset about this, especially when I’m always preaching about equality and treating people fairly. She said a boy having a purse doesn’t make him gay, and even if Will was gay, so what?
And, of course, she’s absolutely right.
With one brilliant stroke, MJ dropped a nuclear bomb that destroyed me and left me defenseless. But even more impressive is the fact that she did so without ever appearing to fight in the first place. It will no doubt be preserved in memory and referred to as a tactical and strategic masterpiece of marital trench warfare.
The lesson, as always, is wives are not to be fucked with.