I guess with all the time I’ve spent writing about how I try to find the humor in life, now would be a good time to mention the fact that living with me takes a pretty decent sense of humor as well. Just ask my wife. As of today, she’s been putting up with me for 31 years.
That’s a long time. That’s more than three decades of shattering her mother’s dreams. In dog years, we’d both be … well, dead. It seems like one of us should be up for parole before long, but I’m beginning to think we’re in this for life.
It’s funny, when you’ve been married this long, people begin to think you’re some kind of expert on the topic. My pastor asked me what I think is the secret to a successful marriage. I told him I can answer that question in two words – joint credit. Nothing we have is worth fighting over, and neither one of us wants to get stuck paying for it.
The other day I asked my wife, “Thirty-one years … what do you think?” She replied, “I said ‘till death do us part’, and I meant it.” Then, wistfully, “I just didn’t think you were going to live this long.”
Okay, I joke a lot about our relationship, and anybody who’s ever seen me onstage knows that. It’s okay, she’s seen my show, and she knows the things I say about her. Besides, she can dish it out just as well.
The thing is, my wife has a great sense of humor. Living with me, she has to. And it’s not because I’m a comedian. The person you would see onstage is not the same person who leaves dirty socks on the couch and produces enough gas to power a small city. Maybe I’ve melted a few of her brain cells, because she laughs a lot more these days than she ever used to. And if that’s what it takes, then pass the beans.
My wife affectionately refers to our home as the island of misfit trim. I’m a capable handyman, and there’s not much I’m afraid to tackle. It’s just that part at the end that gives me trouble … the part where you actually finish the job. We’ve got laminate flooring on the entire ground floor, but no trim. I completely gutted and remodeled the bathroom, but the base tiles are still in a box and only one wall is painted. Well, part of one wall. I built a new bedroom in our basement, but never finished the inside of the closet. You get the picture.
So I guess it should come as no surprise that she really doesn’t want me working on her brakes. Oh, she knows I’m capable, and she knows I’ll actually finish the job. She just doesn’t care for the box of “spare” parts left over at the end. She always says, “If you don’t need them, throw them away.” I will. When she can stop her car for a month without hitting anything, I will. Until then, maybe I should hang onto them just in case.
Which brings me to my wife’s greatest source of dismay – I’m a packrat. Okay, I used to think I was a packrat. Then I saw this show on TV about “hoarders” that proves what a rank amateur I really am. The pile in my garage is only four feet tall, and I do have a walkway from one end to the other where you only have to step over a couple of power tools along the way. I’m pretty sure there’s a boat in there somewhere.
So as we celebrate our thirty-first anniversary, I give thanks for several things. First, for the fact that she found some glimmer of potential in a scrawny young sailor with dreams of being a rock star. Second, for giving me two beautiful daughters who have in turn given me two beautiful grandchildren. And third, for hanging in there at times when most other women would have sent me packing.
Earlier I said my pastor asked me about the secret to a successful marriage. Well folks, the secret is laughter … the ability to share a laugh with one another through good times and bad. We’ve lived through a lot over the years. We’ve lost an unborn child, we’ve lost a business, and we’ve lost two homes, but we never lost our sense of humor. And that’s what got us through those bad times, and let us emerge on the other side seemingly unscathed.
So if you love somebody, make time to laugh with them. You know, I’d like to end this with some really profound words of inspiration, but that’s the whole enchilada. Because if you can laugh together, the rest will work itself out.
And to Kim … happy anniversary! I’d do it all again.
Copyright 2011 – Dave Glardon