Friday, June 10, 2011

She Must Really Love Me

You end up influencing the ones you love. With my sons, I have developed specific strategies for fostering their love of video games, Lego and Nerf guns. I have also planted the seeds of hate for the Green Bay Packers and provide said seeds metaphorical water and sunshine on a consistent basis.

While the ways you influence your kids may be in the interest of guidance and raising them with morals or out of self-serving reasons, it is usually intentional. Your influence over your spouse or significant other, however, may be more incidental.

When my wife and I first met, she was a borderline vegetarian. This wasn’t something that she told me early on in our relationship or it may very well have taken a very different course. She had almost entirely cut meat out of her diet when I showed up to unwittingly remind her of the joy of being an omnivore.

After all, we have these canine teeth for a reason. That reason is the biting and tearing of flesh, said flesh preferably being lovingly grilled over an open flame to juicy succulence with a cool red to warm pink center, or slow roasted so that you can nearly cut it with a fork, or smoked to add that woodsy flavor or…ahem, you get the picture.

Of course, she influences me as well. I have seamlessly and without my own knowledge until recently added dance to my list of acceptable musical genres and romantic comedies to my movie-viewing repertoire. She has helped me to be more patient with our sons and made me an avid reader. That last bit occurred more out of jealousy, really. I watched her fly through books faster than I ever had and said to myself, “Wait a second. I used to be smart. I can read too. Just watch me.” But despite my most blatant attempts to stand in front of her, novel in hand, I suppose watching someone else read a book just isn’t terribly interesting. Still, I read more despite the lack of recognition because of her.

As proud as I was for bringing my wife back to the chosen path of the carnivorous lifestyle, something happened last week that made me even more proud.

We were out at a dinner table with family and, as often happens within my circle of influence, the topic of discussion turned to meat. My wife acknowledged how delicious it is. Brownie points. Heart swells with pride. Then she upped her game. When bacon worked its way into the conversation (as it ought to with more conversations, thus we might achieve world peace) my wife mentioned how many glorious meats come from the pig: ham, pork, bacon. Then she placed the bacon-wrapped cherry atop the sundae.

“It all comes from the same animal. A magical animal,” she said.

I nearly cried.

For those of you who do not recognize that reference, I’m disappointed. In an episode of The Simpsons, Homer said that in disbelief as Lisa tried to explain to him that all those meats came from the same animal.

So not only was my wife eating meat and talking about meat, but she was now quoting The Simpsons while eating and talking about meat. When I came to after having fainted, I told my wife I had never been more proud of her. She laughed at me and the conversation continued.

A few days later we stood outside in the sweltering heat of early summer. I fumbled with the keys and tried to unlock our front door and gain access to the air-conditioned house as soon as possible. My wife groaned, “It’s so hot. Milk was a bad choice.”

I froze and stared at her in awe. The Simpsons a few days before and now Anchorman?! This was too good to be true. A strange golden glow seemed to emanate from around her. I could hear angels singing. A vision came to me. It was my wife stepping out of an inter-dimensional phone booth made entirely our of Lego bricks, clad in Princess Leia’s metal slave bikini, light saber in one hand, Captain America’s shield serving as a platter with which to carry medium rare porterhouse steaks in the other, mouthing the words, “I love you, you big, hairy geek.”

Then a voice said, “C’mon! Open the door!” I was snapped back to reality and saw my wife staring daggers into me as beads of sweat stood on her forehead. I clumsily opened the door and allowed my family access to the cool air, the image still in my head.

Later on that evening, my wife repeatedly asked me, “Why are you looking at me like that?”

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