Sunday, April 10, 2011

In marriage, some assembly required

The next order of business: The purchase of a ground-based structure resembling an aviation contraption in which many children can play at different altitudes. It comes in a box. A heavy, heavy box. With many pieces.

Who would like to second?

All in favor?

"AYE! WILL VOLUNTEER MY HUSBAND TO ASSEMBLE IT!" I blurted, a little too eagerly, as I registered my vote during the monthly board meeting of the Marilla Cuthbert Academy for Unspeakably Charming Children.

I was angry with him, you see, and could think of no better way to express my true feelings than to sign him up to sift through a-thousand-and-one teeter-totter pieces. I was giddy just imagining him having to fuse the parts all together with a million-and-one bolts ... on his day off.

Oh, I could see it all so clearly: He'd bring all his tools ... except the one that would REALLY help. The first bolt he'd need, the M80-10, would be in a mislabeled packet on the bottom of the pile, and would turn out to be missing two pieces to boot.

The drawings wouldn't look anything like the parts strewn about the play yard, and some frowny-faced emoticon would vex him as the realization set in that some way, some how, he'd managed to install the whole contraption backwards or inside out.

My voice would ring in his head in sing-song annoyance: "You should have read the directions first."

I pictured a black cloud, heavy with his expletives, hanging low over the playground like a cartoon bubble. Unable to be borne by the wind, it would hover there until Monday when the children arrived, hopefully wearing ear muffs.

For him — a fabricator and installer of large scale sculpture — it would be more like a dare than a busman's holiday. He'd do it, of course, because there's nothing that makes a man feel bigger than when his son thinks he's a superhero. And there's nothing that says superhero more perfectly than a shiny new toy assembled out of shapes no mere mortal could ever imagine.

In this crowd of knee-high beings, there are few paths to superherodom: Wearing a suit of all one color, driving trucks that crush solid waste or being responsible for the coolest plaything on Earth.

Oh sure, he'd be swearing under his breath as he turned the directions this way and that; he'd be demanding to see the designer's credentials once the drawing diverged from reality. But that's just part of the fun. The moment his son gazed at the Not-An-Actual-Flying-Toy (Nor to Be Used as a Flotation Device) and realized HIS FATHER had been the man who made it happen, it would all be worth it. There would be a ticker-tape parade in his honor. There would be praise and adulation. There may even be the unsolicited gift of pie. Pecan pie.

Then there would be the let down. The moment when the gift horse is asked to open its mouth. The moment that inevitably reveals the punishment for that particular good deed.

"That's ... uh ... really nice ... but it would look better over on the other side of the playground. Can you just move it, please?"

I was practically salivating at all the myriad ways this simple mission would be miserable.

*Clap* *clap* *clap*

His applause brings me back from my demented daydream.

"That will be great," he answers cheerfully, giving me a sly look. "We can all go to the school on Sunday and work together as a family!"

Turns out my husband has a few bones to pick with me, as well.

1 comment:

Scott said...

Enjoyable post--and very well written!