Friday, March 9, 2012

A Comedy of Terrors

This isn't my most popular post, but it is certainly my most infamous piece from 30POV. Personally, I would love it if "Push your pregnant wife down the stairs" replaced "One of these days, Alice, Bang, zoom, straight to the moon!" in the pop cultural-firmament lexicon.

Husbands of pregnant women, I give you three reasons to read and absorb this piece: First, if you and your significant other are still in the early stages of pregnancy, it may provide a guide, a cautionary tale, to what may be coming. Second, it could provide an outlet, a place where you realize the anger and frustration you are feeling doesn't make you a singular bad person, there are other bad people out there, namely me. Thirdly, at the very least, you now have a scapegoat, and can always say "At least I'm not as big an asshole as Wrecked-Um!"

A Comedy of Terrors...

So…I get to write the final post of the month, during the last month of the year, last year of the decade, and the topic is “Season Finale”. Jesus, think I’m gonna slit my wrists. Do I need to sacrifice a virgin to some angry Mayan god before I get started? Honestly, the most important thing here is that I get the last word.
For about the last 15 years or so, I have tried to approach my life as if it were a sitcom. I like to handle any issues that come my way in 22 minutes or less, and I have a laugh track in my head that goes off whenever I say something funny (it goes off all the time, like just now…). I try to find humor in every situation, no matter how far from humorous it is.
Luckily, my life so far has been full of less than funny shit that I can make funny, at least in the retelling, if not in the initial happening. I can trace a definite downward spiral of events since I graduated from High School 15 years ago, mainly a gradually deepening series of annoyances and aggravations, some life altering, some simply attitude adjusting, but all of which that have led to my own caustic sense of humor and outlook on things. It has also left me with a crippling fear of inconvenience and and a deep seated hatred of change. Not the jingly change, the making-things-differenty change.
Just in the last few years, I’ve been laid off, spent over a year on unemployment, started and destroyed my very own failure of a small business, went through an IRS audit that almost killed my liver and had me repaying $40K in business deductions, destroyed my credit to the point where I pay cash for everything, bought a little house that I can’t afford which I almost lost less than a year and a half later to foreclosure, done all types of odd labor to make money, and settled for a blue collar hell job that I hate. Those were the more “season ending cliffhanger” moments, but just from episode to episode I can recount tons of funny stories, like the time I was mistaken for a burglar in a wealthy neighborhood and detained because I drive a van (one of the cops actually said “How could you NOT be a burglar? You drive a van full of boxes…” I shit you not.).  Then there’s the time I woke up in the hospital after a night of partying out of town and had no recollection how I got there…Or the time my next door neighbor knocked on my door to tell me had had bombs in his house…Or the time my van broke down and rolled to a stop in front of the driveway to a local high end event location that just happened to be holding a wedding that day (rich people can be quite cruel when you inconvenience them.)…Or the time I got thrown out of an Asian whorehouse because…You know what, I’ll stop there.
That is just since 2002 or so, if we go back further….Fuck it, let’s not go back further. I’m already depressed.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to make all of this out to be more than it is. We all have our ball and chain, our crosses to bear. Our lives are what we make of them, and I can’t complain too much.  I have made it through only partially scathed, and I know many people that have had things waaayyy worse than I have, problems with drug or alcohol addiction, depression, suicide, chronic illness, run-ins with the law. But, I also have quite a few friends that like to call me and catch up, just so they can feel better about how uneventful their own lives are. And, in the end, it gives me a lot to talk about, a lot of episodes in the sitcom of my life.
Now, what do we call this sitcom? I’ve been thinking hard on this one, how about…..Everybody Fucks Wrecked-Um. It will probably have to run on Showtime, what with all the full frontal nudity, violence and language.
I told you all of that to build up to the current season’s finale. It seems that the last few years in my shitty job have caused us to lose some of the show’s core fans, and the ratings have dropped a bit. The network is resorting to a tried and true “jump the shark” event to draw audiences back in. It’s been a secret to most of the fan base for the last 20 weeks or so, with only certain show insiders getting the scoop…
My wife is pregnant. Soon, we’ll be hearing the pitter patter of a foul-mouthed little Wrecked-Um farting around the house. And…I am scared fucking shitless. I can’t handle my own fucking life, but I can make another one. There really should be some legislation…
PLEASE, god, no empty congratulations. I didn’t do anything to deserve the accolades other than ensure that my life as I know it is about to horribly change. Making a baby is only hard when you WANT ONE. When you don’t want one, (or maybe aren’t ready just yet to make one) it’s easier than dry humping a pillow into submission, which to be honest, might have been what I thought I was doing at the time…Minus the “dry” adjective.
Which leads me to my next point, mainly for the men reading this.
Guys, when that special someone, be it a wife, girlfriend, friend with benefits, slam piece, one-night-stand, barfly,  regular Saturday night thing, random hooker, or attractive drunken cousin, comes to you, and says “Honey, I’m pregnant…” or “dude, you should’ve used a different rubber the second time” or “I told you this would happen if you did it in my front-butt” or maybe “way to come in me, asshole”….You should consider….How to phrase this?…just giving her a quick shove down a good, long flight of stairs. A straight flight, too, no turns or landings. And do it right away, because if you wait until she’s more pregnanter, I think the penalties are way worse. Yeah, you could spend a year or two in jail for assault, but compared to the 9 months of mental and emotional HELL your knockupee is about to put you through, a good jailhouse gang rape is much more honest, straightforward, and less emotionally destructive.
Before you all get offended and send nasty comments, let me state for the record, that I am not, in any way, advocating violence against women. Only the pregnant ones, and only if you are personally responsible for said bun in said oven. And only right away, like a knee jerk reflex…Anything later would look premeditated. And even then, I’m not telling anyone to actually DO this…..I’m just saying, keep your options open. Just sayin’.
And yes, I know how that sounds. When thoughts like that, thoughts like pushing a pregnant woman down a flight of stairs, come into my head, I, too, take a pause, and think to myself that, deep down, inside, I am really just an awful, horrible person.
But I also know that I am not the first man to consider this.
I recently mentioned this idea a buddy of mine, and his reply was, “Oh yeah, that is why I just bought a 2 story house,” He previously lived in a rancher, “I even keep a basket of laundry by the top of the stairs , to toss down after her. She is pretty clumsy to begin with, so it adds to the believability.” Sigh….I’m not alone in the world.
Another friend from work offered some advice when I approached him with the idea…”Pf, yeah man, bitches be doing that shit…” Oh, this friend is black, so I’m not making fun of him, I’m quoting him word for word. “…you’ll see em’ layin’ there, sleepin’, and you’ll wanna punch ‘em in their fuckin’ heads for some shit they put’cha through, but boy, when that baby come out, it’ll all be worf it.”
This seems to be a popular bit of advice from friends of mine that have children. They say that my whole life, outlook and attitude will change when I see this new baby something. To them, I have asked, “Really? Will I still be an asshole?” And while the answer has been a resounding “YES” from all parties, the general consensus is that I will be a much more direct and purposed asshole, an asshole with meaning in my life. A “Capable Wrecked-Um”, perhaps?
Another friend at work had this to offer…”Whooooo, yeah! You think you’re miserable NOW, you think you hate this place NOW…..? Man, I can’t WAIT to see you in a year, when you gotta come in for overtime just to pay for diapers and shit!! THEN YOU’LL BE MISERABLE, MOTHERFUCKER!! You’ll be coming in here just to escape the crying, and the bitching, and the WAAA WAAAA WAAAAA….Hot damn I’m gonna laugh in your face you miserable prick!…” He even did a little dance to go with that rant. I guess misery does love company.
One fool acquaintance of mine (who doesn’t have kids) threw this one at me…”Dude, what about all those cats? You have always taken care of your cats, just draw on that when you raise this kid.” Yeah, that’s a good idea, idiot. Just this weekend, I just yanked 18 inches of waxed, shit covered dental floss out of my cats ass. So, when my kid chows down on a tasty tangle of minty used dental floss, I’ll have that experience…Fuck it, I’ll shoot them.  I’ll say it right now, if I have a kid that is dumb enough to eat and poop out dental floss, I’ll fucking shoot them. It will be a favor to us both.
Until that time comes, I live in abject fear of the unknown. Afraid of fucking up someone else’s life other than my own. I really haven’t been dealing with it well, and I have been having a very hard time keeping to myself just how hard this whole fucking pregnancy thing is for me. Sure, I guess it is tough for my wife, too, but she isn’t fucking writing this, I am.
So, as of the 31st, when this goes live, Mrs. Wrecked-Um and I are at the 20th week. Halfway point. And my wife is a fucking emotional pipe bomb that fire off rounds of completely irrational, conversational insanity without warning. One minute she’s fine, the next minute she’s crying, the next minute she’s angry about something I did or said at some point in the last five minutes or maybe last week, then she’s crying again and apologizing for snapping at me, then angry again because why should she apologize? She’s pregnant! Then crying because she’s pregnant and hormonal, then she’s mad at me for agreeing with her, because I shouldn’t disregard her emotions just because she’s hormonal, it discounts her feelings…For fuck’s sake, I have never been so wrong so goddamn often in my life.
Add to that my own lack of….Well, I kid of have this disconnect between my brain and my mouth. Not so much a disconnect, more of an OVERconnect…See, I have a very hard time stopping myself from saying the first thing that comes into my head. Some people say I don’t have a filter…or a conscience…or shame. One of those, or all of them, it doesn’t matter. I speak my mind, and sometimes I shouldn’t. I’m sure that is a surprise.
My initial reactions to many of her basic questions have led to some confrontational moments…
“Wrecky, honey…” she calls me Wrecky…”Do you have any names in mind?”
“Whoa, we’re not naming this thing. If you give it a name, we’ll never get rid of it.”
“What do you mean, get rid of it?”
“Sweety, have you SEEN what white babies go for on the internet? THOUSANDS…Assuming it is a white baby. It IS gonna be white, right?”
“Yes, it will be white.”
“Great, we can pay off all our debts, buy a nice new TV, and fuck, we can always make another one later…White babies are a completely renewable resource! If we could just make SUV’s that run on white babies, forget planting all that corn…”
You know, I’ll cut that one off right there. Running automobiles on white babies is really more of a topic for “Green Ethics” if it gets revisited in the future.
Then there is the nursery debate…
“Wrecky, we’ll have to turn the guest bedroom, you know, the one with all YOUR stuff in it, into a nursery, so you’ll have to throw out all YOUR stuff to make room for the babies things…”
My less-than-well-thought-out reply…
“Fuck that! This kid’s gonna live out in the back yard like a ghetto Pit Bull. I’ll get a stake and a chain…”
After a while, conversations like these started to wear on my wife. We were fighting often, much more so than we normally would, and her mood was getting progressively worse. She basically had 2 modes…Miserable bitch, and sleeping miserable bitch. She was constantly nauseous, missed some work, and she spent a lot of time moping around the house. So, being the supportive hubby that I be, I did my best to avoid her, avoid conversation and the inevitable confrontations, ignore her outbursts, and figured that was the best way to handle the situation.
That is, until one afternoon about a month or so ago, when she came home from work and crawled into bed with me. I work the graveyard shift, 11 pm to 7 am, so I need to sleep in the afternoon. It was about 5pm, I had been asleep for a couple hours, and had to be up to get ready for work at 9pm. I am a really light sleeper, so just the sound of her opening the door tends to bring me to at least half-consciousness. After a few minutes, I hear sobbing coming from her side of the bed.
“Hon?” I sleepily drool out.
(through sobs) “Yeah…?”
“What’s wrong?”
(still sobbing, with a sniffle this time…) “Nothing…”
“OK, good night…” and I quickly rolled over hoping that would be the end of it…
“I miss my husband…” she sighs out.
“What?” Being half asleep, I totally didn’t see that coming.
“I miss my husband.” Same sentence, a little firmer.
I gurgled the sleep away for just long enough to blurt out “Well, could you give him a call, I’m trying to fucking sleep here…”
“I mean it. You’ve been distant and avoiding me lately….I don’t like being avoided.”
“Well, every time I say something, it’s wrong, and we get into a fight…So I was doing nothing.” I was doing a piss poor job of diffusing the situation, but like I keep saying, she totally ambushed me while I was sleeping. I had even less control than I usually do.
She was really crying now, and getting louder…
“I can’t do this alone! I need you for support, you can’t just do nothing, you have to acknowledge me, don’t just avoid me because you’re afraid we’re gonna fight or something!…”
I was pretty conscious now, but short on patience…”OK, What should I do? You wanna talk about something?”
“Well, nothing right now…just that we’re not talking.”
“You want to talk…about not talking?”
“Don’t do that! Don’t make fun of me!” This sounds so awful when it is said through tears. “I just want to know you’re with me…”
“I’m here, I’m here…Is it the baby’s room thing? I don’t really expect it to live out in the back yard, I was just joking…”
“No,it isn’t that. You really can’t do anything about the baby’s room until we know the sex of the baby…”
“Alright, should I…Make you something to eat? Are you hungry?”
“No, I’m not hungry, and besides you’re sleeping…Oh god, I am so sorry, I’m keeping you awake aren’t I?!” And a renewed volley of tears and sobbing ring out…”I’m sorry I’m being so insecure and crazy…I’m just so worried about everything, I don’t know if I will be a good mother…and we never have any money, so I worry about providing for the baby…”
“Sweety, you’ll be a wonderful mother. Don’t worry about all this, it is just the hormones running wild…”
“Don’t disregard my feelings like that! Just because I’m hormonal doesn’t mean my feelings don’t count!”
“I didn’t say your fucking feelings… Look, what would you like me to say? What do you wanna hear? What do you want me to do?’
“Well…nothing right now.”
“Nothing?” Don’t get mad, Wrecked-Um…..
“Yeah, there’s nothing you can do about anything…”
And she looked at me with those sad eyes…And I exploded.
“I was fucking doing NOTHING before you came in here to wake me the fuck up and tell me that was fucking WRONG!! “
….And it went back and forth for another half hour before I got to go back to bed. But, it was all good. I decided to amend my plan and be more engaging. I was already picking up even more of the housework…
By the way, this whole “Pregnant women can’t clean the cat litter box” thing is total fucking bullshit, seriously. It’s a fucking conspiracy. I have 6 fucking cats, with 7 fucking litter boxes. They are all Persians, and at an given time at least two of them have diarrhea. Persian fur soaks up shit like a sponge, and then the litter sticks to it, and what the fuck is a Toxoplasmosis anyway? It sounds like a shitty hair metal band from the 80′s…..
OK, got that out. Whew. So, I had amended my plan to be more friendly and engaging, but still try to diffuse things by NOT saying what was on my mind. Have a conversation, without saying what I am thinking. I would tend to her needs without really saying what I mean, or meaning what I say. Oh boy.
A few days after that last debacle, we were sitting on the couch, conversing. She was sleepy and a bit depressed, so I tried to joke with her by making lewd comments. They always cheer her up. She tells me she is having a “Low self esteem day.” I assumed it was something she read about in a women’s magazine and took it as a hint to not say anything stupid.
She had to go to the basement to do her laundry, and I sat on the couch and marveled at myself for being such a good husband and doing everything she had asked.
Then she came sobbing up the stairs…
“Sweety, is there something wrong?” I ask, full of caring and a willingness to help.
She replied, “When I told you was having a low self esteem day, it was so you would compliment me. I was fishing for a compliment. I wanted you to say something to make me feel better, all I got was ‘do you want me to take you upstairs and sex you up’. That isn’t what I need to hear right now…”
“But I said that because I thought you looked hot, all depressed and sleepy…”
“You…just…don’t…get it…” she sobbed.
…And this was another breakthrough moment. For me, anyway. Because I realized that she’s right. I don’t get it. I CAN’T get it. But I see what I need to do…I can’t just not say what I’m thinking. I can’t just be supportive and engaging. I have to completely suppress every urge, every instinct, every fiber of my being that doesn’t, in some way, understand what it is like to be a completely insane pregnant woman. So, I have to stop being a man. And that is impossible. Which basically means I’ll never get it.
She kept looking at me, expecting me to finally say something, some sweet and loving compliment that would make her feel better…And I had nothing. I tried, but this new realization that I would never get it was just too strong, and it filled my head with the incredible lack of possibilities. The only thing I could come up with was “Gee, honey, you sure are good at this whole bat-shit crazy thing, ain’t ‘cha?” But I didn’t say it. Nope. Instead, I said “Well, this day just took a 180. I’m gonna go scoop out the litter boxes.”
That is where this season ends, for now. My wife sobbing and me scooping cat shit with a little plastic shovel. Let those ratings soar.
Oh shit, I forgot. I have the last word.
The last word on 30POV for the month, the year, and the decade. (Comments don’t count, Poop.)
The last word is…Penis. Yes, Penis. Don’t deny it, amplify it. Penis.
Without one of those, none of us would be here. I certainly would not have been able to write all this without my penis to help make the impending bundle of crippling financial burden that I will call daughter or son…
So, appreciate a penis today, be it yours, or someone else’s. And if you’re not into penises…Wake up! Fake it if you have to. I’m sure at some point a penis faked being into you…
So, yeah. Penis. Penis. Penis.