If the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage has said it once she has said it a million times (and believe me, I have counted every one of them), "Don't get so riled up about things. It only raises your blood pressure."
However it is hard not to get riled up about some things. In fact, some things need a good riling up from me. Plus, there's nothing like a good session of aggravated exchange to get the old blood pumping through the system. After all, at my age this is the only exercise I really enjoy and do from my easy chair.
I'm only a man and from the lectures I have received from my better half, women do not fall prey to such extreme emotional outbursts. And she should know, she's a woman.
The problem with women is that they are not men.
I have believed this for many years but a certain incident recently caused me to upgrade my opinion about this. The only thing etched in stone is the "Ten Commandments."
It was at lunchtime when the infamous incident happened. We had just finished a scrumptious repast and were enjoying our coffee when the mail carrier brought the daily post.
My wife skipped out to the mailbox, collected the mail and brought it into the house. She then proceeded to sort the mail, picked out the bills, sat down, and looked at them.
The last thing I ever want to look at are my bills, which may explain why some bills go unnoticed, not to mention unpaid. My philosophy is simply this. If they really want my money let them beg for it. After all, I work hard for my money and so should they.
I was glancing through a magazine that had just come when I heard a loud shriek from across the room. I'm not used to such noise except when I'm doing something I'm not supposed to be doing, or when I'm not doing something I am supposed to be doing.
On both accounts, I was completely and absolutely innocent, which in the past has never exempted me from being shrieked at.
"Would you look at this?" My wife screeched at me.
Without me knowing what she was talking about she continued her tirade.
"Who do these people think they are?"
Not knowing who she meant, I was afraid to venture an answer. Most husbands realize that not only is silence golden but it can save them from serious trouble.
Every wife has the ability to ask questions that have no answers. When a husband ventures into the murky waters of answering those questions he is in over his head, you can be sure.
"How can these people add fees to our account for services we don't even have? The nerve of these people."
She then showed me the cable bill, which included about $50 for services we had not subscribed to. I then began to realize why her ire was up.
"I have a good mind to call these people and give them a piece of my mind."
I cannot tell you what a high mark day this was for me. Usually, I am on the receiving end of her "piece of mind." So, I knew what they were in for and was anxious for the games to begin.
Had she not been in such an anxious mindset, I would have asked her to make some popcorn. But I knew it might be a dangerous suggestion, so I held my peace so that she could give her piece of mind to someone other than myself.
Days like this are rare, and should be slowly savored over a nice cup of coffee.
In a fury of anxiety she dialed the customer service number, all the while rehearsing out loud the parts of her mind she was about to give to the person who answered the phone. For a brief moment, I harbored a little pity for the unsuspecting person on the other end of the line.
"Oh no, they put me on hold."
I realized this was a tactical error their part, but I had no way to warn them. Of course, I really did not want to warn them. I wanted to watch this action from the safe sidelines of life.
"If somebody doesn't answer soon, I'm really going to get mad."
Some things really make a man's heart glad. This statement from my wife ranks pretty high on that list. I knew I was about to be treated to one of the rare moments in a marriage, when the wife gives her piece of mind to someone other than her husband.
Then I heard something that brought all of my dreams crashing down to planet Earth.
"Oops, this ain't our cable bill. It's our neighbor's."
With that, she quickly hung up the telephone, slowly turned around, walked to her chair and sat down.
In a good marriage, there are times to laugh at your spouse's mistakes. Either I'm not in a good marriage or those times to laugh at your spouse's mistakes have never occurred. This one came close.
As quietness pervaded our living room a marvelous passage of scripture came to mind. "He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit. Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding." (Proverbs 17:27-28 KJV.)
Count me wise.
James L. Snyder is an award winning author and popular columnist living with his wife, Martha, in Ocala, Florida and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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