The Writing’s On the Wall

If you were a betting man — and I can see by your Tommy Hilfiger suspenders and oaken barrel that you are — I would heartily urge you to take the following to the bank:

There is no safer, more effective natural contraceptive than 12 years of Holy Acrimony and three small children.

Of course, the teller will surely think you are nuts when you present that cracklin’ little verity along with your deposit slip. But such is life in these United States.

Having come through The Gestation Era, I am now the victim of Ma Nature’s cruelest prank: I have survived with a flickering but full set of functional procreative hormones while my dear wife has been left with a complete set of nonfunctional procreative lethargy. Thus, our little love shack is 99% moo-moo free these days.

I submit last Saturday night as Exhibit A:

The wife and I spent the day coping with the cyclones of demands, complaints, and armed conflict that the fruit of our loins visited upon any room we happened to occupy. After finally subduing the little vipers for the night, we collapsed on the sofa with chips and discount cola to watch the romantic comedy Love Actually.

Feeling surprisingly spunky, I suggestively hinted that I was entertaining lascivious designs on my wife’s bodacious bones, so alluring were they in baggy flannel pajamas and fragrant moisturizer mask. My wife responded with a look heisted from a basset hound in dire need of anti-depressants.

As the movie ground toward its midsection, I noticed my dearly betrothed had developed a rather pronounced list to starboard. By the time one of the film’s leading men was scratchin’ and sniffin’ his love interest, my wife was loudly sawing redwoods into planks.

My filthy little jig was up. So I gently laid we down in the sack and lightly turned my thoughts unto What the Pontiff Would Do in This Most Lousy Situation.

The next morning, whilst morosely taking a shower, I gazed at the foam rubber letters, numbers and shapes our kids use as bath toys and the wife and I employ as our main mode of communication. For example, after suffering her complaints about my leaving tufts of hair in the drain, I had used the letters to render my alibi upon the wall:

MR HOGS 2pAy bLEw Off

(“Mr. Hog” is derived from “Sweathog,” the natural derivation of “Sweetheart” after the warm, fuzzy sheen of our courting days wore off.)

My dry wit attracted this riposte:


The morning after my monastic night at the movies, I plaintively left BOO HoO No sCroD fOr MR HOG (the clever seafood double entendre to veil the coarse message from innocent eyes).

The morning after that, I couldn’t miss my wife’s tart reply:


Her tawdry message was accompanied by a circle for a head, a square for a body, a capital X for legs, a strategically placed I to represent the male plumbing system, an L for an arm, and an M for a hand grabbing the strategically placed I.

In other words, I was being left to my own devices, so to speak. And the indignity! MR dINkEE!! My reeling head was filled by the immortal words sung by Randy Newman: “She will laugh at my mighty sword. Why must everybody laugh at my mighty sword?”

I simply had to make a statement. So I thoughtfully scratched my head, leaving yet another tuft in the drain. My first choice was:

DOnT yOu KNoW tHe hOly sEE fROWnS uPOn sUcH uNWhOleSomE aCtiViTy?

But alas there were too few letters available to accomplish my righteous mission. Meanwhile, the kids were pounding on the bathroom door, the water was getting icy, my hide was swizzlin’ and I was gonna be mighty damned late for my shopping appointment with the spouse. But I was gonna make my point or drown in the attempt.

At long last I concocted the brilliantly succinct and defiant IN A pIGs EyE. Then I got out to dry off.

Half-dressed, I looked in the medicine cabinet mirror and noticed I still had a head full of shampoo. Cussin’, I got back in the shower, seized the fresh opportunity to say what I really meant, and left the more trenchant BuT I wiLL gO bLiND.

When I finally got into the car, my wife was wearing an expression that could turn a man to stone. I explained that I had been delayed by the demands of maintaining cleanliness of the soul … but I don’t think she believed me.

I’m willing to bet that you do.

John Rolfe is the author of “The Goose in the Bathroom: Stirring Tales of Family Life” — a collection of his family humor columns for the Poughkeepsie Journal/USA Today Network tarted up with incriminating photos, artwork and documents. His school bus drivin’ blog “Hellions, Mayhem and Brake Failure” is parked on his website with the meter running.


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