'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
MAKE DINNER PLANS AT YOUR OWN RISK
Happily married couples will tell you that three things are absolutely necessary to keep a marriage strong and vibrant: love, respect, and never making dinner plans without first consulting your spouse. You might even be able to get by for a time without the first two items, but if you’re in the habit of blithely saying, “Oh by the way, Hon, we’re meeting the Johnsons at Luigi’s tomorrow night at 7,” it’s a safe bet your marriage is on the rocks.
So, knowing this hard and fast rule quite well, it struck me as odd that I blurted out the word, “Sure!” when my co-worker Brian said to me on a recent Tuesday morning, “Hey, why don’t you and your wife come over for dinner Friday night? My wife makes a mean pot roast.”
Even as the word “Sure” left my mouth, in the back of my brain a little voice frantically said, “What are you doing, Bill?!”
Brian said, “Great, come on over around 6 o’clock on Friday, OK?”
The little voice said, “Here’s your opening. Tell him you have to check your schedule and let him know tomorrow.”
Instead, I again said, “Sure.” I don’t know why I said, “Sure.” Maybe I was overly curious about the concept of a “mean pot roast.” I usually prefer my pot roasts docile and serene. Whatever the reason, as soon as Brian left my office I said to myself, “Oh no, what have I done?” The little voice immediately answered, “I’ll tell you what you’ve done, mister. You’ve gotten yourself into a heap o’ trouble!”
I spent the rest of the day formulating a plan. Since it was only Tuesday I could consult with my wife that night, framing the discussion, of course, as if the dinner invitation had yet to be accepted. If she said yes, then everything would be fine. Even if she said no, there was still enough time to tell Brian about an unfortunate scheduling conflict before his wife went to the Mean Meat Market.
In recent years I’ve noticed that I need to write notes to myself. Otherwise, I completely forget to do important things later in the day. On that Tuesday, I spent so much time formulating my fool-proof plan, I forgot to scribble a note reminding me to have the discussion with my wife that evening.
When Friday rolled around, I was busy at my desk. I kept looking at the calendar on my wall and thinking, “Am I suppose to be doing something this evening?” I checked the appointment function on my BlackBerry phone. “Nope, nothing scheduled.”
Then Brian walk past my office door and I suddenly remembered. All the blood drained from my head as I said, “Oh no. OH NO!”
In a panic, I tried to call my wife, but she was in a meeting. I frantically tried to come up with a plan, but to no avail. Finally, at about a quarter to five, I glumly walked over to Brian’s office and said, “I’m so sorry, but, um, but we can’t make it for dinner tonight.”
Brian gave me a puzzled look. Then he said, “Oh right, dinner. You know, I mentioned that to my wife the other day and she freaked out. She already had plans to visit her sister tonight. Boy, I learned my lesson: never make dinner plans without consulting your spouse. Anyway, have a great weekend, Bill.”
Well, what do you know? I bet Brian’s marriage is on the rocks.
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