Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Curse

     To my knowledge, my wife's family never crossed paths with an evil Gypsy fortune teller. They don't have a history of witch burning or whatever else it is that causes people to fall victims to a curse. But, logic aside, my in-laws certainly appear to be affected by what the family calls (cue the spooky music) ... The Curse.
    Granted, it's a mild curse. It doesn't involve warts and boils appearing in strange places or true loves being kept apart. No, this particular curse manifests itself as a variation of Murphy's law: If anything can go wrong, it will. Except, in this case, it applies mostly to decision-making.
     Say, for example, you're trying to decide which grocery check-out line to queue up in. One of them has just a couple of people waiting, while the other line is much longer. The Curse mandates that if you choose the shorter line, there will be an issue that causes you more of a delay than you would have had if you had chosen the longer line.
     Conversely, if you acknowledge The Curse and choose the longer line, there will be absolutely no problem in the short line. In fact, that line will begin to move so fast that shoppers who weren't even in the store when you got in the longer line will be checked out ahead of you.
     Apparently, once upon a time, someone (maybe a leprechaun) said to one of my wife's ancestors, "I curse thee, so that whatever decision thee and all thine progeny shall make, it shall be the WRONG decision."
     Piffle, you say? Superstition? I would have said the same thing until I saw The Curse in action.
     Just last week, my wife had a doctor's appointment where she was scheduled to get a shot. The medicine in the shot was being delivered specifically to her doctor's office on that specific day, specifically for her. She was there on time. The doctor was ready. The medicine got delivered to the right building - but the wrong office. It was turned away by that office and went back on the truck. My wife then cursed The Curse and spent the bulk of her day tracking down the package to get it re-delivered.
    Our kids became aware of The Curse earlier this month when they had a choice of going on a river cruise or seeing an IMAX movie.  They chose the dinner cruise, and thereby suffered the consequences of The Curse. The food was awful, the entertainment was worse and they spent two hours trying not to throw up from motion sickness.
     One said, "We should've just seen the movie." But that's because she didn't realize the power of The Curse. Had we decided to watch the movie, something would have gone awry anyway. That's how it works. If your choice is either A or B, whichever one you choose will be the wrong choice.
     So if you decide to hang out with my wife, or more to the point, if she chooses to hang out with you, be aware that The Curse will follow.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Becoming A Mysophobe

     The older I get, the more I think about becoming a germophobe. It would be a conscious decision on my part because I'm not actually that worried about germs, but I like the idea of pretending to be phobic so I can avoid unnecessary contact.
     First, though, let's put things in context.  According to Wikipedia, a germophobe is more properly called a mysophobe. Their entry:

Mysophobia (Verminophobia) (from Greek - musos, "uncleanness" and phobos, "fear," also called germophobia/germaphobia, a combination of germ and phobia to mean "fear of germs", as well as bacillophobia, bacteriophobia, and spermophobia) is a pathological fear of contamination and germs. Someone who has such a fear is referred to as a mysophobe.

     Okay. Not sure I'd have defined spermophobia as a fear of germs, but I'll let that go. The point is, I don't have a pathological fear of germs. I don't change what I do in life to avoid situations in which I might possibly come into contact with them.  I shake hands with people; I exchange money with cashiers; I use public restrooms. And I trust my body's immune system to handle whatever pathogen I may inadvertently acquire by doing so. 
     But I have also been exposed to co-workers who insisted on showing up to the job when they were clearly contagious. I try to discreetly avoid these people who spread their disease willy-nilly in a misguided attempt to show that they have a good work ethic, but the germs inevitably settle into my nasal passages.
    Hence, the idea of telling people that I'm a mysophobe has some appeal.  I imagine that I could blow off virtually any social event by saying that my mysophobia prevents me from being there. Once people Googled that word, they would, I expect, have sympathy instead of disdain for me.
     Of course, I'd have to remember to bump elbows all the time, so people knew not to offer me a handshake. I'd have to fake being grossed out by paper money and use copious amounts of hand-sanitizer. And I'd have to leave rooms whenever someone coughed.
     In fact, now that I think about it, there are probably too many things I'd have to remember and that would cause anxiety, which is the whole reason I want to avoid social engagements to begin with. Excuse me while I look up what that phobia is called.

Monday, October 14, 2013

One Score and Zero Years Ago

    On October 16, 1993, Dreamlover by Mariah Carey was the number one pop song in the country; President Clinton delivered his weekly radio address asking the nation to support the North American Free Trade Agreement, otherwise known as NAFTA; and, just after eleven o'clock that morning, I became a married man.
     That third thing is the one I remember the most. On that day, twenty years ago, the luscious and beautiful Jane Ellen and I said, "I do." Or maybe it was "I will." In any case, it was the greatest day of my life.  The births of my children were great days, too, but I can't say those days were greater than my wedding day. (Sorry, kids.)
     I think it's because I was involved at the beginning of the pregnancy, but was more or less an observer in the birth process itself.  With the wedding, I was a full participant.
    For example, I remember it was raining on the day we got married. I have no recollection of the weather on the days my children were born. In fact, I don't remember, offhand, on what day of the week either child was born, but I remember we got married on a Saturday.
     It was fortunate for me that we'd had a rehearsal the night before the wedding. It was during that rehearsal that I got incredibly emotional as I saw, for the first time, my bride-to-be walking down the aisle.
     I settled down as we did a run-through of the ceremony, and on the wedding day itself, I was less emotional and more joyful.  I had never been so incredibly happy and full of love for all mankind, and Jane was the reason.
     In retrospect, I probably ignored my friends and relatives more than I should have on that day because I was too busy mooning over my new wife.
     I remember that the "short" sermon the priest had promised to give seemed to drag on and on and on.  I remember that people who had RSVP'd and said they would be there blew off the ceremony, while others who didn't RSVP showed up anyway.
     I also remember thinking that people would wonder where Jane found that troll she was exchanging vows with and couldn't she do better than him? The truth is that she probably could have done better. But it's also true that if I had not married Jane Ellen, I would not be married today.
      To paraphrase Back to the Future, it was our "density" to be together. As happy as I was twenty years ago, I am happier each and every day that we're together. I expect to be more jovial, jocular and jolly "as long as we both shall live."

Happy Anniversary, Boo.