Last night we were watching the Redskins-Cowboys game when the Redskins quarterback made an unimpressive throw to a receiver.
“That was a horrible pass,” the beau muttered to himself.
“You’re a horrible pass,” I immediately volleyed at him. I rely on this kind of juvenile humor all the time. It’s instinct. Second nature. It’s a small miracle, in fact, that I didn’t actually turn it into a your Mom joke [see: "Your Mom's a horrible pass."].
The beau gazed at me in mock horror and shock. This is part of our routine, too. The other person has to act aggrieved. It’s clockwork, man. Clockwork.
Sometimes we get bored and drop it right there. Other times we pursue it.
I cocked an eyebrow and stood up, dirty dinner dish in hand. As I moved past him towards the kitchen, he swung his empty bottle of mineral water at my rear end. I tried to block with my free arm, but he connected.
WELL. This aggression would not stand. Man.
As the beau rose from his seat with his own dish, I lifted my leg and kicked him in the butt. Well, I was aiming for the butt, but I missed and sort of hit his hip. Lightly, yes, but since he was still in the act of standing and since I was coming in from the side, his balance got thrown and he started falling backwards.
I see it in my mind, now, grossly exaggerated and in super slow motion. He is gradually tipping away from me like a massive, unwieldy tree, his arms windmilling as leisurely as the hands of a clock, roaring and snarling and slurring like a furious beast on barbiturates:
And then he slammed into the wall, and the dish flew from his hand and shattered into five billion red porcelain pieces on the floor. And I felt really bad. That had been my favorite bowl! And one of my favorite husbands!
This is, unsurprisingly, not the first time this kind of thing has happened. Our innocent horseplay crosses a line into the territory of unfortunate mishap on a regular basis, including but not limited to:
- The time the beau caused a tree branch to cut my eye.
- The time the beau inadvertently punched me in the nose in the basement of my parents’ house. On Christmas day.1
- The time we were wrestling and he hyperextended my wrist.
- The time I threw a glass of water on him and it wound up all over his laptop.
- The time I kicked him in the knee he’d recently had surgery on.
- The time we were wrestling and I caused him to hit his head on the dresser.
- The time we were playing catch with the yoga ball in the living room and it bounced off a wall and destroyed everything on the end table.
- The time he whacked my head on a doorframe.
- The time I whacked his head on a doorframe.
- The time we knocked an entire jar of spaghetti sauce onto the kitchen floor.
- The time we were playing catch with a steak knife and… actually, wait, that time everything ended up fine.
You’d think we would have learned by now. Our entire lives seem to be one recurring lesson in When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong.
In instances like these when everything goes sideways, I remorsefully decide we ought to straighten up and start acting like normal, responsible adults. It would be good to begin practicing adulthood now, because if this is truly the Final Year of My Life before I have to attempt to squirt a baby out of my loins, I’ll need to start taking everything incredibly seriously. I’ll need to clean up my vocabulary — wouldn’t want baby’s first words to be “fucking fuckstick!” I’ll need to stop behaving as if my husband is a jovial punching bag — wouldn’t want baby to think hitting is okay! I’ll need to become fluent in three other languages — wouldn’t want baby to fall behind in Montessori school!
YES, I vow solemnly to myself. Adulthood now! Adulthood forevermore! I shall endeavor to write a will and get some life insurance and purchase some china and relearn art history and brush up on all my state capitols and stop calling people “dude!” I shall become… SUPERADULT!
And then, eyes brimming with hot tears of fortitude, lower lip trembling with resolve, I turn to the beau and gaze deeply into the essence of his being. He is standing over the sink, brushing his teeth. After a minute he spits and turns to me, mouth rimmed in greenish foam. “We need to remember to get more toothpaste,” he says.
“Your Mom gets more toothpaste,” I reply.
Never gonna happen.
1 APOLOGIES, the beau has now read this post and would like everyone to know that he didn’t actually punch me. What happened is, we were violently dancing and his head came in contact with my face. Then there was blood and then when we went to open presents with my family I had to explain why my nose was swollen. I’d like to point out that after it happened my dad told us, “You kids had better stop horsing around down there.” I’d also like to point out that we were both 27 years old at the time.