Me & the Missus

It turns out that I'm really stupid, practically an idiot. There are cats that weigh more than my IQ score. Were my number translated into dollars, it would buy you about three buckets of fried chicken. The fact that this surprises me only bespeaks the depths of my ignorance If I have one saving grace, it's that I'm lucky enough to have found someone willing to handle the ugly business of day-to-day living.

-David Sedaris

Did I do NOTHING to amuse you this week?" was my fake husband's first question after noticing that I'd taken a little writing sabbatical.

It's nice that he feels so much responsibility, but at the time deadline rolled around, I was lying on the floor of my bathroom, reclining comfortably on a 12-pack of Northern.

Suffering from a minor overdose.

Nothing very Hunter S. Thompson-esque, I'm afraid to report. Not even a decent Jackie Susann/ Valley of the Dolls moment, in fact.

Having finally admitted that I was sick, I'd gone to the doctor the day before, and reluctantly agreed to drugs. (Normally, the only way to medicate me is to sneak up on me in the wild and shoot me with a dart. Kinda like the wily rhinocerous.)

One of the side effects, when taken properly, is mild nausea or stomach upset.

One of the side effects, when taken improperly, is projectile vomiting.

Somehow, I accidentally took twice as much as I was supposed to. I wasn't allergic or anything (as I first suspected) merely too stupid to read the directions.

The thing about deadline day is that it isn't exactly optional. No excuses.

Accidentally sever an appendage? That's why we have duct tape.

This is our law. (Also, I wrote the law.)

So I didn't get a lot of sympathy from my coworkers.

What I got, instead, was a lot of calls...

For example, they called to describe a wide array of disgusting meal combinations that they were evaluating for the lunch menu - just in case I wanted anything.

And they called to let me know about the (hilarious) systemwide email spams and auto-attendant phone recordings they were playing to alert everyone that I was skipping work because I was pregnant and had morning sickness.


They are well aware of the nature of my fake marriage and the absence of any conjugal privileges (or duties, depending on how you look at it).

My main concern was that this unanticipated sick day was impeding a lot of obligations. Chief among them, was picking out a present for an engagement party on Saturday night.

Shopping isn't really something I enjoy (contrary to popular stereotype), but I revel in the process of selecting just the right thing for just the right people - every gift should be meaningful, yet insouciant thoughtful, yet not melodramatic... precocious, but not overwrought.

Unfortunately, I knew I couldn't pull any of that off with my head inside a toilet bowl.

Which is where I was when the fake spouse called to say that he had it under control. He had already picked something out; bought it; and wrapped it.

I was overcome with something closely resembling an emotion.

I told him later, when I'd recovered, that this meant we'd officially reversed roles in this marriage.

He was now, in fact, my fake wife.

Or, as I prefer to call him: my bitch.

(And that sound you just heard was his mother slamming the door on any future invitations to the family dinner table.)

In truth though, it's a role he's far more suited to than I am.

(And I've always said if we have any fake offspring, he'd be the one qualified to stay home and raise them. Our skills are perfectly complementary. Bust a union? I'm your gal. Change a diaper? Right up his alley. Which mood stabilizer goes best with infant formula? Count on me.)

Friday night, for example, he did stay home with the kids (the nephews), while I enjoyed a rare night out with the wingmen. Even though almost all of them are in varying stages of engagement, I still felt a little like the belle of the ball - until every last one of them got carded. Then I just felt old. Like a Mom, out on the town with my five strapping, handsome sons.

By the next night, I was more than happy to be back with the Little Missus.

The highlight of the evening was a "newlywed" game, where the bride and groom are sequestered and must answer questions about their relationship. (Sometimes known as "the breakup game.")

Some were innocuous (first date? favorite color? name of childhood family pet? - which sparked an incredibly poignant story about a beagle named Pancho at the Hazard airport... And so on.)

I found out later that all the rest of us spent our respective drives home comparing notes, and seeing how we'd do. I think my fake spouse and I scored better than most of the real couples... but I also observed that maybe that's because while they're busy having sex, we're embroiled in seven-hour conversations about politics and economics and world religions.

Hey, life is compromise.

I know it sometimes upset my friends, who spend far too much time engaged in idle fantasies that we'll decide we're made for each other in some ridiculously cinematic moment (preferably scored by Peter Gabriel).

Which forces me to reiterate: "Harry met Sally? Just a movie." And for the younger ones, "Chandler and Monica? Just a TV show."

In real life, he'll marry somebody who doesn't like me (and she'll install call-block).

I'll just drown my sorrows in a meaningless succession of sweet young thangs who only want me for my money and power (and who'll dump me as soon as they realize I have neither).

But hey, it'll be fun while it lasts.