Married, Filing Jointly: Playing Chicken




Dedicated to His Royal Too-Good-To-Be-Trueness, without whose patience, forgiveness and kindness I might not be laughing at this story today.

The Infraction:

Hell if I know.  I remember that it was 1990 and we’d only been married 6 years.  That would have been the very early stages of Ric’s spousal training so at any given moment he might slip up, open his mouth and spew forth a projectile stream of vomitous words that would inevitably land on one of my exposed raw nerves.  Really offensive stuff like, “Did you pick up the dry cleaning?”   Or, “What’s for dinner?”  Or, “My butt itches.”

Frankly, it didn’t matter so much WHAT he said as WHEN he said it.  In fact, that’s not entirely true either. It actually didn’t matter WHO said it.  And perhaps, sometimes, rarely, but once in a blue moon, it’s conceivable that WHAT he said sometimes wasn’t WHAT I heard.   He’d go all Godzilla on me, mouth moving like Japanese, but in perfect English I’d hear, “You suck.  You didn’t accomplish anything today. When are you going to find a job? I don’t even like your new haircut.”  How did  he even do that?!?  I’ve tried it and the best I can get is a lame impression of Mr. Ed  or a pretty good Alyssa Milano trying to move her lips over those giant veneers glued to her real teeth.   

The reality is that there are just moments when almost anything anyone says….or forgets to say….to a girl is grounds for a duel at 10 paces at high noon.  And regrettably, for the other guy, my weapon of choice is most often a merciless, razor-sharp tongue lashing that has turned more than one strapping cave man into a cowering, thumb-sucking momma’s boy.   But sometimes I throw my opponent a curve ball……

What Not To Do:

On this particular occasion I was actually making dinner.   I was frustrated because I’d been in our new home in Atlanta for two months already and hadn’t landed a job so I spent my time working out, sending out resumes, painting the family room and sobbing audibly through “Little House on the Prairie” reruns at 10:00 am and “The Waltons” at 11:00.  Geez, that was powerful and ambiguous television viewing.  I’m in tears when Mary goes blind but at the same time I’m daydreaming about dating Pa Ingalls.  He wouldn’t hate my new haircut.

So I was weary from the emotion of it all when in walks Godzilla.  Cute, cute, cute!  Dressed like he’d stepped out of a magazine.  Big dark doe eyes.  Impish smile on his face.  I was getting sucked into his too-good-to-be-trueness when he opened his mouth and did that thing and I heard something like, “Those pants are way too tight on you.”   Peculiar……it almost looked like he was mouthing, “How was your day?”

In that instant I sunk my hands elbow deep into the baking dish in front of me, spun around on a dime, and flung a pound and a half of marinating Teryaki chicken across the room aimed at Godzilla’s adorable little head.  I could hear it flapping in the wind like wet arm flab as it sailed neatly past him and landed on the wall with a splat I’d expect to hear if I dropped a jellyfish from a 5th floor balcony.   And then, dead silence.  Except for the plop and drop of chicken pieces sliding down the wall onto the floor.

Two hours and a can of Scrubbing Bubbles later, my head hung in shame, we ordered pizza for dinner.  Four weeks later, my head hung in shame, we were still finding dried pieces of chicken and pink blobs of Teryaki sauce in the most unexpected places.  Thirty years later….we can and have laughed about it often.   It wasn’t the last time I saw Godzilla and it wasn’t the last time I threw something, but I can proudly declare that I have never again used slimy, gelatinous, uncooked animal muscle tissue as a weapon.