By Quentin Smeltzer, www.SmeltzerNation.com 11/29/2010
Now that I am a famous author, known at least to half a dozen fans, I have to be very careful about what I say and do.
For example, when my twelve year old son asked if he could sell my book, (you know the one, Self Help, Your Complete Book of Bad Advice for Every Situation in Life), at school to his friends, well, I could either have said, “Of course not, that would be completely inappropriate,” or I could have said, “I’ll give you fifty percent commission.”
It turns out I may have chosen poorly. Certainly, my wife was not happy to get a phone call from the vice principal informing her that selling his father’s book in school is completely inappropriate behavior and the book has been confiscated. My son is not allowed to have it and I have to go to school to pick it up. I only hope they didn’t throw away the order sheet he started to compile…
I guess I’m not surprised—the world seldom keeps up with genius. Soon, I imagine, all children will take their parents’ wares to school and hawk them from cardboard stands at recess, but for now, I guess my son and I are busted. He was deeply disappointed, having already decided how he would spend his commission.
In my defense, it’s not like I sent him to school to sell drugs. He was selling a book for gosh sakes! And a very funny one, at that. True, the book contains adult language and themes and he was selling it to eight year olds, but they’re going to find out about sex and drugs and how to screw up their lives soon enough. They might as well hear it from me.
“You’re going to go to his school,” said my wife, “and apologize and tell them this was all your fault!”
“Well, in fairness,” I said, “the original idea was his…”
“Which you encouraged!”
“True, but only to teach important values like entrepreneurship.”
“Why do I have to keep getting these calls?” she screamed at me.
I shrugged. “You can give them my number,” I offered.
“Why is there so much drama?” she wailed, running out of the house and slamming the door.
I watched the door and counted backwards from ten. At “two” the door flung open again. That’s when she dropped the bombshell on me: “I will live in this house,” she vowed, shaking her finger in rage, “I will help you raise our child, but that’s it! We are no longer man and wife!”
Then she disappeared once more. The door slammed and I heard the poor, little, four-cylinder engine in our SUV howl in protest as she floored it out of the driveway and roared off down our wooded lane. This is my wife’s reaction to most of the problems we confront: flee. Run away. I believe it is no accident that when it came time to buy a new vehicle she chose a Ford Escape.
Later, when next I saw her, I said, “Hey Roomie, how’s it going? We’re roommates now, right?”
“That’s right,” she said. “Roommates. Nothing more.”
“This is fantastic!” I said. “This means I no longer have to listen to you talk about how much you disapprove of me and every, single, inappropriate thing I do! This means you have half of the responsibility for keeping the place clean and paying the bills! And when you start talking to me when I’m watching a television show, now I can ask you to be quiet! This is incredible, fantastic! Hey, if I get you drunk, I still might get lucky with you! Why didn’t we do this years ago?”
It’s been several days now since our new relationship began and things could not be better. When she starts to list my faults I cut her off; “Not your place, roommie,” I remind her. When she leaves something out now I say, “Uh, roommie, you want to pick that up?” And when I’m watching television and she starts singing show tunes in the kitchen adjoining I call out, “Hey, roommie, you wanna hold it down? I’m a watching a show here.”
As for getting lucky, well, a gentleman never tells. Let’s just say this new roommate arrangement is fantastic!
Like all good things this new development will soon end and we will go back to being "man" and wife. Unless of course we can create a new institution to make this permanent:
“Do you take this woman to be your roommate, to share all work and responsibilities evenly, to raise kids and have sex with on occasion if you’re both in the mood, but really not to listen to her assessment of your character flaws and weaknesses because as your roommate that’s really not cool?”
“Oh boy, do I! I do indeed!”