How to talk “grown-up”

First, those of you who haven’t yet read Box of Rocks can go to Smashwords and download it for free for the next few days. The book can be downloaded for any version eReader. Just look at the top right corner of the webpage to get the coupon code when you order. The blog for today includes an excerpt from my upcoming humor book, I Never Drove a Bulldozer. It’s due for release in early April, at which time there will be a great fooferah, and cookies. Rest assured that I’ll be thinking of all of you as I eat the cookies.

The following includes a short excerpt from I Never Drove a Bulldozer.

Last night, I decided to surprise my husband for dinner. Let’s see, I could serve him dinner naked, or for once I could fix something he likes and I don’t. We’re trying to save money on heating, so I decided that “naked” is not attractive when your teeth are chattering and your skin is a stunning shade of blue.

With a flourish, I brought out the fresh asparagus and channeled Vanna White showing off the new car you just won on Wheel of Fortune. He grunted. I’ll just put that in the “win” column.

I haven’t really had much experience cooking asparagus, so when it came out of the steamer basket and was still green, I figured that was good enough. My husband made little happy noises while he ate it, and I even tried a piece. “Eww, how can you eat this stuff? It doesn’t even have any taste.”

My husband looked at me sheepishly and said, “Actually, I don’t really like it.” He was glad to be able to drop the pretense that it was orgasmicly good.

My husband can solve the New York Times crossword puzzle, but he has never been big on verbal communication. Over the years, I’ve learned to differentiate between a “yes” grunt and a “no” grunt. Once your kids are grown, it’s kind of hard to morph from discussions on curfew, to debate over the affects of global warming. If you insist on talking to one another, my advice is to start small:

“Which brand of chicken soup is the best?” My husband asked.

“How should I know?” I suddenly realized he was trying to start a conversation. Since this might lead to a deeper connection on a spiritual level, I didn’t want to blow the opportunity. “I guess it depends on what kind of chicken soup you mean. Are we talking chicken noodle, chicken and rice, chicken gumbo, or cream of chicken?”

“There’s a coupon in the paper, but there’s no point in using it if we don’t like the brand.”

Aha! Now we were getting somewhere. Quick, think of something he can relate to. “Brand loyalty is like a football game. If the offense is lining up in the shotgun, the defense shouldn’t go five in the secondary.”

“I don’t see the connection between the two; and since when do you know anything about defense?”

(Cricket, cricket, cricket …)

“Women have a more complicated bathroom routine than men, so there should be more Ladies rooms in stadiums!” 1

My husband stood and walked out of the room without another word. What could I do? When the big moment had come—I’d choked.

Opening with any more substantial topic than soup (for example, asparagus) would be like working without a net your first time on the trapeze. If you find working the trapeze less intimidating than trying to make clever conversation, you and your spouse could later talk about the rising cost of health care … while you’re in the emergency room.

1. Men, if you want to avoid this subject, never say, “What kept you?”

9 thoughts on “How to talk “grown-up”

  1. And of course if you do happen to say “what kept you?”…. the next thing you know, you’re sleeping in the doghouse for the next three weeks.

  2. Looking forward to the new book, Karla! I’m a fan. Big big fan. You’re a rock star. I’m gonna be like you some day….only much older by that time.
    Then maybe you’ll be saying to me, “What kept you?”.

  3. Your blog rings true. Why did humans evolve this way with men refusing to share their feelings and women over sharing theirs? It causes communication problems between the sexes.

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