Of anybody you can think of, who would you go to for marital advice?
Well, I know who I wouldn’t go to, and that’s me. The reason I’m tellin’ you this is because the other day, a kid asked me to give him some marital advice. Really, I’m not lyin’.
Well, he wasn’t really a kid, more like a young man, but he seems like a kid to me.
“Mr. Mitchum,” he said. “You’ve been married quite a while, haven’t you?”
“That’s an understatement,” I said. “Forty-four years.”
“Wow!” he said. “You could be my dad.”
“Hey kid,” I said. “Don’t start that stuff.”
“Oh, no sir! I meant you’re old enough to be my dad.”
“That’s better. Now, why are you askin’ me all these questions?”
“Well,” he said, and then smiled. “I’m thinking about getting married.”
“What? How old are you, 12?”
“No sir. I’m 22.”
“Twenty-two? Really? Man, I’d never had guessed it. But, that’s too young. Wait a few years.”
“Well, how old were you when you got married?”
“I was 19,” I said.
“You were younger than I am, so why do you think I’m too young?”
“Well, by lookin’ at you. You look like a kid, not a husband.”
“Come on, I’m sure you looked a lot like me back then.”
“No I didn’t. For one, I wore my cap with the bill toward the front like the Good Lord intended it to be.”
“It’s the style,” he said.
“Well, it looks stupid, but you didn’t ask for style advice, did you?”
“Look, you sure you really want marital advice from me?”
“Yes sir,” he replied.
“OK,” I said. “Here goes. There are two main rules. Oh, there are many more than two rules, but if you’ll remember these two, you might survive.
First: Whatever your wife wants you to do; tell her you’ll do it.”
“But what if I don’t want to do it?” he said.
“Pay attention boy,” I said. “I said to tell her you’ll do it; I didn’t say do it. You see, you tell them what they want to hear, and then do whatever you want to.”
“You mean you can get away with that?”
“Heck no! They ain’t stupid. All that does is buy you some time to think up an excuse why you didn’t do whatever it is she wanted you to do in the first place.”
“That doesn’t sound right,” he said.
“How long have you been married?” I asked.
“I’m not married, yet.”
“Well, then who’s the experienced one here?”
“Enough said. Now, quit interruptin’ me.”
Second: If you walk into the house and your wife is cryin’, turn around and run.”
“Anywhere except her mother’s house.”
“Why don’t I just ask her what’s she’s crying about?”
“Are you crazy, boy? It’s a no win situation for you. If you ask her what she’s cryin’ about, she’s gonna say ‘nothin’ and sniffle a few times. If you say OK, and leave her to her cryin’, she’s gonna start really cryin’ and say that you’re not sensitive, whatever that means. And, if you stay there with her and try to get whatever it is out that’s buggin’ her, you’re gonna find out it’s somethin’ you did, said, or insinuated. Like I said, it’s a no win situation.”
“Why did you say not to run to her mother’s house?”
“Boy, you’re dumber than a sack of bricks? Her mother didn’t want her marrin’ you in the first place because you’re not good enough. And besides, your wife has already called her mother and given her side of the story, which is the only one they’ll believe anyway. Yep, you’d be walkin’ right into a hornet’s nest right there boy.”
“But my girlfriend is so sweet,” he said.
“That’s because she hasn’t gotten the ring or eaten the cake, yet.”
“You see, it’s a scientific fact that either the weddin’ ring, or the weddin’ cake causes women to morph into somethin’ entirely different than what they were before. I think it’s the cake. They’re still smilin’ after they get the ring. Of course the ring may just start the process, and the cake is the catalyst that finishes it. Oh, they look the same, but under all those good looks lurks somethin’ that when stirred up, is a terror to man or beast.”
“Wow,” he said, as he looked off into space.
“Wow is right,” I said. “It’s sort of like gettin’ yourself into one of those science fiction movies that never ends.”
Then he looked at me. “Well, why have you stayed married for 44 years?”
“Are you kiddin’ me? Janet’s the best thing that ever happened to me. She’s my best friend, and sometimes she even laughs at my jokes. What more could I ask for?”
“But you said….”
“Hey, you asked for my advice, and I gave it to you. If you’re too scared to take a chance, that’s your problem. I didn’t say it wasn’t worth it. The best things in life are worth takin’ a chance on.”
“I’m confused,” he said.
“Good. You’ll make a perfect husband. Now turn that cap around. You look stupid.”