Hmmm. I seem to have been stricken with whatever the hell Fondy has been battling for the past two weeks. My throat is raw, my muscles sore, my skin ultra sensitive to touch. In my physical misery, I’ve even been robbed of my only solace, the comfort of complaint, by a recent conversation in which one of my wife’s friends pointed out how men seemed to revert back to a childlike state whenever they get sick. “They’re like little kids,”noted Fondy’s pal, throwing my wife a conspiratorial look that seemed to say “But you already know what I’m talking about”. As the ladies laughed, I shook my head in stonefaced disapproval. This was no cause for hilarity. They were perpetuating a harmful stereotype, that of the bed-ridden husband who uses his sorry condition to take advantage of his doting wife. Ridiculous!
Of course, that was several months ago. Fast-forward to this morning when I listed my symptoms to Fondy, punctuating the rundown with the occasional sniffle and rasping cough. “My poor baby,”she comforted me. “Can I do something for you?
I perked up and, immediately, dozens of possibilities came to mind: breakfast in bed, a frothy green tea, a dvd from the collection downstairs. And then I realized – I was being set up. I eyed her suspiciously. She smiled back all innocent. “No, I’m fine,”I assured her, making a show of carefully pulling myself up to a sitting position and grabbing the book on my night stand. “I think I’ll just read.”
“Are you sure?” Her eyes seemed to search mine for any indication that I may have been on to her. But I my façade was flawless.
“Yeah, I’m sure.” I redirected my focus to chapter 7 of Shards of Honor, feigning spellbound interest in Lady Cordelia’s escape from Barrayan clutches. With a shrug and nary a glance back, Fondy headed out of the bedroom and downstairs to fix herself breakfast, leaving me to celebrate my victory, prove a point, and silently lament the fact that I would preparing my own soft-boiled eggs.
Incidentally, I couldn’t help but notice that when I did eventually make it downstairs, there was no more Chinese cough medicine left. “Oh, yeah,”she said as if suddenly recalling, eyes glued to the t.v., right hand waving a forkful of leftover butter chicken. “I finished it last week. Sooooorry.” Then, casting a hopeful glance my way. “Want me to go pick some up for you?”
Damn, she was good. “No, no. I’m okay.”
“Yeah. I’ll have a throat lozenge instead.”
This time, it was her turn to redirect her attention away, back to the t.v. where a team of paranormal investigators were exploring a house that, if you believed their psychic consultant, was haunted by the ghost of somebody’s grandmother. Apparently, the grandmother’s spirit was still hanging around because she was concerned for the well-being of her teenaged grandson. Awwwww. I imagined ghost granny picking up after him, making his bed, and preparing his soft-boiled eggs. Oh, how I envied that kid. Not only was he coddled, but if he played his cards right no one would’ve been any the wiser. Instead of keeping his mouth shut, however, he blew everything by whining about the hovering apparition that visited him every night.
No, the irony was not lost on me.
So what’s the deal? Is this something we men are born with, a genetic predisposition not unlike the ones that make us incapable of stopping to ask for directions or cause us to launch into a horrendous off-key harmony whenever our significant others start singing as a highly effective way of getting them to shut up? Have any studies been commissioned? If so, I’d like to hear about them.
Today’s weird food purchase of the day = Water Chestnut Jelly. Bon Appetit!