The Village Idiot

lighthouse 10Rene’s face is turning purple right in front of your eyes, contorting into a grotesque mask. Now comes the big sigh as she releases the air from her lungs in great heaves of fire-breathing fury. That same air gets frosty in a millisecond as her eyes narrow.

Her normally beautiful bow strung lips are drawn tightly together as she strikes the battered shopping list with her well-manicured, red nails and hisses, “It was a simple task. It was nothing. Any four-year-old could complete it. I needed  . . . zzz zzz zzz . . . This list has only six things on it, and you managed to get the wrong item once, and the wrong brand three times. THREE TIMES! Any village idiot could have gotten what I wanted!”ii

You allow the voice of your wife to drone on into the background, see-sawing up and down to signify aggravation, but you know she is not saying too much more than the basic few words, over and over again, hammering against your brain. She expects the repeated words to slap you, as always, and she is pleased by your cowed expression. Your wife has a need to make sure you understand the gravity of your offense. She is uniquely qualified to point out your mistakes because, according to her, she doesn’t do stupid stuff.

Right now she is particularly livid because she has invited twenty-five people to your house for a surprise party for her best friend. She sent you to the store as a time-saving necessity because she had several last-minute things to do to prepare for her guests. She handed you the list reluctantly, knowing there was a probability of failure.

You tune in for the next few seconds, wondering where she is in her pounding spiel. She is letting you know for the  thousandth time that choosing substitutes for items on the list instead of going to another store is simply unacceptable, and she is assuring you that if the purchase of six things can be screwed up, you will be the one to do it.

You offer to go to another store and find the three missing items, but she will not hear of it. If you messed up simple instructions once, what made you think that you could be trusted again? Suddenly you hear the rattle of car keys. You realize that at least three of your wife’s friends have witnessed this apoplectic tirade. Rene’s number two BFF Kristin is out the door without even looking at the list. She appears instinctively to know what you should have purchased.

Your wife is no longer looking at you, but instead, with a pained look at the empty doorway where Kristin had just disappeared. You stand there as if you’d been frozen to this special spot of disdain by the queen of the castle. She is complaining to her two remaining friends about how ridiculous it was that you had gotten your teenage daughter’s birthday mixed up with your son’s and had paid Gumbo the Clown to do juvenile little clown tricks for what was supposed to be Victoria’s special sweet sixteen. She loudly proclaims that may have been enough evidence to prove what her mother had been telling her all along. She had married someone who was not the sharpest tool in the box.

This proof was further evidenced by the fact that last May, no matter how many times she had led you to exactly the right wedding anniversary band at Francino’s Jewelry, you had the nerve to purchase for her instead a microscopic set of ruby earrings from who knows where, and how embarrassing it had been on Sunday when she had to show her friends at church this grand prize instead of the two carats of hot rocks she had been expecting. She felt that she deserved a better gift for having to suffer the indignity of being married to you for all these years. But what else could she expect from a pencil-pushing civil servant?

It appears that she has lost interest in a direct assault on your person and has begun to talk to her friends as though you are not even in the room. You hurriedly excuse yourself, saying that you will be in your home office if you’re needed for anything.

It would be better if you shut the office door when you reach its relative sanctuary, but you don’t. You can still hear her laughing bitterly about all the stupid things she perceives you have done over the multitude of years that she has been married to you. Next comes a conversation among the girls about which wine is the best for the drowning of marital sorrows and you hear the tell-tale tinkling of the heirloom wine glasses that your mother had given you for a wedding present. It appears that those glasses that you love and treasure, and that you associate with Nana, are going to be used to disrespect you.

You know that as the wine flows, Rene’s tongue will loosen. She is now laughing about your asking for a space in the house just for you and your friends to kick back and watch a game every now and then. Just one room in a two-story house that you had purchased together fifteen years before.

“Maybe later dear. As if . . . in his dreams.” You can hear her cackling.

A growing group of women are steadily invading your house forming a larger audience for Rene to regale.

It doesn’t surprise you when your wife and her friends get around to discussing the expected comparison in their husbands’ wages. Allison’s husband, Rob, makes $300,000 a year. Madison’s husband, Greer, with benefits makes about $225,000 a year. Your wife makes a big deal about not even daring to place you in the spectrum with these two money-making dynamos. Your wife is definitely letting the party know that she got the short end of the stick when she married you.

This launches them into another conversation about whether size matters.

Your wife is not the only one cackling now. The short end of the stick turned into her telling her friends that you are packed light in the manhood department. You hear that Rob is hung so big that he has to buy two jock straps to carry it around with him. Greer has a pole he could fish with. You, on the other hand, definitely got the short end of the stick and everyone is laughing uproariously at your expense.

You can hear one more clear thing before you finally move to close the door. She is laughing so hard she can barely get the words out. “If he dies, I’m going to cash in his life insurance policy and donate his body to science. He is . . . he is, after all, a freak . . . a freak of nature! Why waste money on a funeral!”

You walk over to your chair and sit behind your cluttered desk. It’s just an average day in your house. You are glad to be in this little broom closet that she has allowed you to turn into an office. You realize that you try to spend most of your time either here or downtown in the little space that the government carved out for you.

It is pure survival instinct that moves you through your daily routine.

Your daughter, who was the apple of your eye when she was two years old, is now sixteen and barely speaks to you. Every waking moment she has her phone in her hand, texting 800 times a day. Your son, the same, except for him it is video games in the darkened confines of his room. He can barely be summoned forth to have meals. no golf lessons for him, but the kid plays a mean game of Call of Duty.

The more time you spend away from your family the more repaired your self-esteem seems to be. Work doesn’t mean work to you. It provides a relief. A cessation of hostilities for a finite period of time.

At night you know better than to reach for that chick to scratch an itch. No chance. You have finally realized that the rush to marry her when you were so young was premature. Your brains were squishy with love. She was so beautiful. Your friends thought you were so lucky. At your wedding you felt like the biggest stud. She was built beautifully. Small, long waist, high, tight, pert breasts. You could hardly keep your hands off her. How long did that last? She put up with your advances for only two more years. Probably because she felt sorry for you.

You had plenty of warnings that all would not be well before you married. You had chosen to ignore the signs of a self-absorbed woman and not look too closely.

You decided that you would marry her and no one could talk you out of it.

Your mother telling you that Rene treated you like crap infuriated you. You didn’t want to listen to all of the reasons why Mom couldn’t stand her.

At your wedding it seemed odd that you couldn’t get Rene’s attention. After all, you had a co-starring role that day. But no matter, you had become wallpaper as she flitted like a frantic, glowing swan in her dream bridal dress from guest to guest until by the end of the evening your dewy dove was exhausted and could barely look your way.

You would be the first to admit that you did not really understand the Princess-Finally-Gets-Her-Wedding-Day-At-The-Castle crap. She had been totally goal-oriented from the beginning. And so had you. You got yourself a trophy wife. She expected that you would do far better financially than you had. And she told you over and over again how disappointing that bitter pill was to swallow.

At night, when you wake up at the smallest noise, you look at Rene’s sleeping profile. She’s still beautiful after seventeen years, but it’s faded. What’s left is a ghost of the past. In love’s first blush you tolerated the bitterness and irritation that she had constantly turned on you, and excused her behavior because it was thinly hidden behind the softness of her youth. It is a sad fact that you had married a woman who was cold and hard and mean. The worst thing about this was your absolute knowledge that she had always been that way.

Those were the moments when you wondered if you should have stayed a bachelor or married your mother’s choice instead. Maggie had not been quite as beautiful as Rene, but she had a fantastic sense of humor. You could talk to her under the stars for hours about your hopes and dreams and about a whole lot of nothing, really. Your friends had liked her, but they had not acted like she was a prize movie star. Rene was Va-Va-Voom. Maggie had been more like one of their little sisters. What you wouldn’t trade to have her lying next you in bed at  night. To actually be married to someone who is your best friend seems hardly imaginable.

Instead, you have a woman who all the men had been fighting over in her youth, now talking to her best friends about the length of your Willie, and comparing that to the other husbands’ Willies, then laughing in front of God and everyone about the fact that genetics had short-changed yours.

You realize that you would gladly give Rene to the first man who tried to take her from you all those years ago and now. Seventeen years ago you should have turned around and walk away and save yourself from years of misery.

You could have married Maggie, had a couple of kids that would camp and fish with you  . . maybe a cool dog, like a Great Dane. You should have settled for a small life with a lot of love and a lot of laughter.

You should have.

But you didn’t.

Instead, you made the stupidest, godawful mistake of your life. And now, at the risk of being “Short End Willie” for the rest of your non-marital bliss, you realize that you will have to rectify this problem immediately, no matter how painful the situation proves to be.

After all, you got yourself into this mess, and you are going to get yourself out. No matter what the financial or emotional cost.

Come hell or high water.

Freedom isn’t free.


I am not advocating violence against anyone. I am very much in favor of passive resistance in the vein of Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. Hopefully you are familiar with this term. If you aren’t, do yourself a favor and Google this term. Passive resistance is not to be confused with passive aggressive behavior.

A few years ago, a friend of mine told me that when she got angry with her husband she would lace his burrito with too much hot pepper sauce so he would not be able to eat the lunch she packed for him.

I never forgot that.

That is passive aggressive behavior. The dutiful wife packs the necessary lunch because, if she doesn’t, she will not be doing her job, but she makes sure he can’t eat the food because she is pissed. Wow! Don’t trap yourself in this type of nonsense. This is warfare without two victims and no victor.

If I were premeditated enough to pack burritos that were too hot for my husband because I was pissed, and I needed to make a silent statement, he would divorce me. He would find a nice girl who would pack him a burrito with kinder hands. If I’m pissed about something, any statement that I make will be vocal and immediate.

Using passive resistance, you don’t need violence to achieve your goals. You need patience and fortitude. You must be brave to the death.

I am not unmindful that both of the great men that I mentioned above were both assassinated for their passive, peaceful resistance. I am also mindful that both of these great men took the world into their hands and shook it. And the world has never been the same since their lives and deaths.

Put this important fact into your pea brain:    No one has the right to do whatever they want to do with you at any time without your consent.

If someone points a gun at you and says, “Come with me now, or I’m going to shoot you.”

You have two choices. Go, and use your leg power to assist in your kidnapping and demise, or say, “No.” Use the weight of your body to drop to the ground. You are harder to move as a dead weight. Don’t you know that? You don’t have to go anywhere. If that dumb bastard succeeds in getting you from Point A to Point B, there is no telling what is going to happen to you.

Is it possible as a dead weight, falling to the ground, that the guy with the gun is going to shoot you right there on the spot? Yes. But that’s all he can do to you right at that moment.


Sticky Caramel Syrup

lighthouse05med01She’s beautiful. You can’t believe how the sunlight gleams golden off of her blonde hair while she is walking through the parking lot on the way to her car after work. It looks like dripping honey. You stop her with a question that is thinly veiled as work-related. You are trying to get up the nerve to be more forward, and her body language has been telling you to go for it. Her words are not only provocative, but encouraging. Your mind’s eye plays an image of her dressed in a sheer negligee from Victoria’s Secret. Your wife sure would not put one on. And after all, who would know if you pursued this beauty? Your best friend wouldn’t tell your wife. In fact, he’d be jealous that you were able to score someone so beautiful and he wasn’t.

Work isn’t exactly fulfilling. You could do most of your daily grind on auto-pilot, but lately, you’ve found that you could hardly wait to get to work. If she stayed late, you phoned your wife, told her you’d be late, and found a pressing reason to be at your desk after hours so you could grab a bite of dinner with her at the neighborhood bar and grill . Your boss thinks you’re being very dedicated. Your friends flash you sly winks on the way out the door.

You’re pretty sure you have the green light. She is coming on to you every 5 seconds. You are forced to acknowledge that she also regularly comes on to one of your male bosses and two other supervisors right in front of you. You’re not the only one she’s interested in, and she want’s you to know it. If you don’t jump at her invitation to have a sexual relationship with her, someone else will get there first.

This girl’s breasts are at least two sizes bigger than your wife’s, and that is a big, big draw on your attention. The way she jiggles those twins makes you crazy in lust. Her face is always made up beautifully. Her hair is always curled and full of body, swaying in the light. So much so that you would like to put your hands in the soft curls. She always wears short skirts and tight slacks, and low-cut blouses that accentuate every curve. She speaks to you in soft, sexy tones. You can tell that she knows what she’s doing. She’s been around the block a few times.

Your wife, on the other hand, has allowed herself to lapse into a state of lazy familiarity. Her hair is twisted up in a scrunchy mess.  She wears a boring variety of mom clothes, and when she is not working, her uniform is sweats. Period. Your wife is irritated with you most of the time and takes out her frustrations on you every day. The minute you walk through the door she will be waiting for you like a spider in a web. You do not want to hear one more complaint about children and housework. Makes a guy not want to go home.

This beautiful girl is a fresh, new face in a sea of old, already known ones. You even went so far as to peek at her resume to look at her background bio. Just curious. You know she is married, but she doesn’t wear a wedding ring in the office, so you figure any vows made don’t mean anything to her.

You saw in Beauty’s bio that she had worked for a rival firm, and then you saw two transfers from other cities while she was working for your current firm. She appears to move around a lot. Inside the hope chest of your heart, you believe that you can provide her with enough incentive to stay around for a while. Your mind even plays out a scene that you have divorced your wife and you are living happily ever after, lost in a sexual wonderland that your friends can only dream about. Your mind has a hard time moving you from your fantasy bedroom scenes and back into the real world. What comes next? You don’t envision having a child with her. That would ruin the perfect scenario. Two’s company; three’s a crowd.

When you were newly married the sex was phenomenal, and you were laboring under the mistaken belief that it would be that way forever. Your wife seemed to think so too. You had set a path together, and you had both been excited about your future prospects. Everything had been new and wonderful. When you found out your wife was pregnant you celebrated, but you also felt uncertain. You didn’t show it because you didn’t want to upset her. You were proud, and a little worried, that you were actually going to be a “Dad”.

When your child was born, you were openly the proud papa handing out cigars and counting piggies on the newborn’s perfect little fingers and toes. But you quickly learned that babies require a lot of attention, and you finally realized that when your wife focused her loving eyes, the only thing she could see in the room was your son. You had faded into the background like wallpaper. Since then, you have tried over and over again to get that sexual itch scratched, but your wife is pushing you away. Again and again and again. . . I’m tired. I have a headache. Not now. You are lucky to have sex twice a month. You can’t believe it. How did that ever happen to someone with a reputation like yours?

If things were better at home, you would not be looking around. You’ve finally faded your wife’s image into wallpaper, just like she does to you every day. She doesn’t stack up against this one. You have decided that it is all your wife’s fault that you want to hook up with this gorgeous girl. Your mind spends time every day trying to think of how to achieve this goal. The sense of urgency is maddening. If you don’t get relief from your desire soon, you are literally going to explode under the pressure . . .


. . . Your desire for sex has brought you to this point of destruction of everything you have carefully built. You are ready to have an affair on your wife with a beautiful woman who has moved into three different jobs because she has left destroyed males and ruined marriages behind at every job she’s been in. You are getting ready to be her next victim. She’s a master player. You aren’t her first, and you won’t be her last.

“And I find more bitter than death the woman,
whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands:
whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her;
but the sinner shall be taken by her.”
Ecclesiastes 7:26

You are trading your wife and your child, your true jewels, for a fake diamond. A grand illusion of nothing. A beautiful, false stone worth two cents in the market. Your life’s success is wrapped up in that boring little box of a house that you own. Your family. Your wife. Your child. Nothing is more important than they are. God will try . . .

To keep thee from the evil woman,
from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman.
Lust not after her beauty in thine heart;
neither let her take thee with her eyelids.
For by means of a whorish woman
a man is brought to a piece of bread:
and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.”
Proverb 6:24-26

Did your wife overthrow the government in your house? Is she both king and queen? Didn’t you have a part in the loss of that power by your silence?

Your wife is the boss of your house because you gave her permission to take that chair. This was supposed to be an equal partnership, wasn’t it? A king and a queen.

Go home. Get your crown out of the closet and dust it off. Tell your wife you are starting to look at other women seriously. Do you think that I don’t know that she will rage at you? It will be like you turned a blowtorch on yourself. Be brave. You were once brave. Do you know that a woman will do anything to preserve her child, her husband, and her home when she is under assault by another female? Or anyone else for that matter.

Your wife is not your mother, and yet you appear to have a great fear of her. If she rejects your terms, that is the equivalent of pulling your tongue out of your mouth and tying it in a knot. No one could live happily under those circumstances. That is what made you dissatisfied in the first place.

Tell your wife that you’re being honest with her about your needs, thoughts, and intents. If she doesn’t take your desires seriously, then tell her that you are both headed for a divorce court.

One thing is for sure, if you step out of this relationship, it should be an honorable discharge. No sneaking around like a coward.

She may see you as the immediate threat to hearth and home. Don’t stay for the rage.You are still half of this government and your voice matters. No more being derided for your opinion. Calmly arrange to stay with a friend until her anger cools. Sit down with her when she is ready to talk and tell her what it will take to keep you in this relationship. I’m sure that she will tell you what it will take to keep her in this relationship, too.

If she’s gained 20 pounds and you don’t feel as attracted to her, tell her that you’ll get gym memberships and arrange to go to the gym together. It is not shallow to want your wife to maintain herself after marriage. It’s human nature. But the same thing goes for you. If you’re overweight, go do something about it.

Tell her that she and Junior are the most important things in the world to you and, with her help, you intend to keep it that way. Put all of your energy into hearth and home.

If you do not use your voice to tell your wife that your heart has become unhappy and your life is unsatisfying, silence will be the deadly threat to your household. Your wife will have no clue that your eye has wandered, or why. If you engage in an affair, you have put yourself into a disgraceful situation and your wife cannot defend herself against your unfair silence.

“My son, attend unto my wisdom,
and bow thine ear to my understanding:
That thou mayest regard discretion,
and that thy lips may keep knowledge.
For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb,
and her mouth is smoother than oil:
But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword.
Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.”
Proverbs 5:1-5

Somewhere along the path of life you have lost your way. Find it. If you have already slept with Beauty, confess it. Find the courage to quit denying your affair.

“But whoso committeth adultery with a woman
lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.
Proverbs 6:32

I once saw a cockroach upside down on a kitchen floor, drowned in a huge puddle of pancake syrup. I thought it was interesting to see a large bug like that roach attracted to the sweet maple and caramel smell of syrup, drowned in the pure object of its desire. A fitting end to an insect that spreads disease.

For a whore is a deep ditch;
and a strange woman is a narrow pit.
She also lieth in wait as for a prey,
and increaseth the transgressors among men.”
Proverbs 23:27-28

The hot chick at work is a trap that you do not need to fall into. Someone else will do that instead of you. Shake this woman off or drown in defeat and dishonor in the sticky caramel syrup of your desire.


Sage Advice

We stomped around in our mother’s high heals when we were 3 years old. We wore her jewelry for fun. We played dress-up in her closet and destroyed her cosmetics, trying to paint rouge and lipstick on our faces. We looked like tiny made-up clowns then, and sometimes we do now, too. We practice for this part for 20 years before we married you.

We debuted for this starring role at our weddings, which we tried to make as perfect as possible. After all, this is the opening scene of our new lives together.

It never dawned on us that you would prefer to see us out of the big white dress on that big day, not in it.

We decorated our houses the way we wanted them and barely gave you any room for your clothes. You should understand that we have a lot of shoes and purses to shelve. You see anything fair about this?

We certainly don’t care that the big house you purchased for us is too far for you to commute to work because we do not drive it. You see anything fair about this?

We certainly don’t care that you have to beg for a man-cave because we will deny your petition. Every tiny space in our house belongs to us, not you. To do with as we see fit. Who cares if you pay half or all of the mortgage on the castle?
You see anything fair about this?

We love the yard in front of the big house you bought for us. Generally, we consider the maintenance of the yard man’s territory. But if we knew we had to mow it, we would not pick a house with a yard that was quite that impressive. Not even for the children. You see anything fair about this?

Give up game night with your friends two times in a row and you will never see game night again.

Is this what you signed up for when you married? You have become an indentured servant, and you pay half, or most of the bills.

Remember, you got to this place because you remained silent. Don’t fall for the “happy wife, happy life” crap. Doesn’t work exactly as advertised, does it? You give in, and you will be giving in forever. Your silence did not protect your right to exist happily in this world. Your silence created this mess. Only your voice can fix it. Be a man.

A woman will do anything to protect hearth and home.

“Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest
all the days of the life of thy vanity,
which he hath given thee under the sun,
all the days of thy vanity:
for that is the portion in this life,
and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.”
Ecclesiastes 9:9