Perception Is Reality-ish
I don’t remember the minister inserting air quotes into our wedding vows. Then again, my vision at the time was clouded by multiple layers of tulle and mascara—not to mention a professionally tightened chignon that stretched my eyes so far sideways I was starting to resemble a Gila monster.
I believe, however, that a review of our wedding video would reveal the moment when the reverend rolled his eyes heavenward, waggled his fingers at the dearly beloveds in attendance, and applied a pair of floating punctuation marks to a key word of our blessed troth: in “sickness” and in health.
Everyone is prepared to stand by their spouse if, God forbid, they are faced with a serious illness. That’s a sacred part of the deal, after all.
No, it’s not the sickness that wears on the marriage—it’s the “sickness.” It’s the aches and twinges that must be discussed and assuaged to the point that you would welcome a bullet in the thigh if it meant never having to hear another word about his sensitive toe. Or his acid tummy. Or his pre-sore throat.
“I don’t know how much more of this I can take,” he said, peering up at me through rheumy eyes as I perched bedside.
“I think you’ll pull through,” I said.
“I want you to know that, when the time comes, I trust you to make the decision about...life support.”
“You realize that cord you’re holding leads to a lamp, not a respirator?”
“Look at you, putting on a brave face.” He patted my hand.
“Listen, when they invent a durable power of attorney for the sniffles I’ll prop you up so you can sign it. In the meantime, your office called—it’s your turn to take doughnuts for the staff meeting.”
“I’ll never make it.” He rolled over with a moan.
These were the times I wanted to use bad words. Words like episiotomy. And perimenopause. Words I once thought of as afflictions but now categorized as “lifestyles,” in the same way I had come to think of my reading glasses as “streetwear.”
But, wait—this could be the answer. I couldn’t change the behavior, but I could change the label, like the time I blacked out from the flu while selling Girl Scout cookies in the Jiffy Mart parking lot then told the other moms I had been “multi-tasking.”
It was matrimony meets Madison Avenue and it just might work. I congratulated myself on my new, strategic mindset.
No, my husband wasn’t bedridden from a runny nose.
He was on a “spiritual mini-retreat.”
Yeah...he’s Zen like that.
You can find out more about the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition here.
And I hope to see all of you who are Erma enthusiasts at the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop in Dayton April 19-21.
I'm on the faculty for the 2012 conference (ahem, pardon me while I adjust my cravat) and I'll be running a workshop titled "Brand to Book - Creating an Online Voice that Opens Doors" as well as leading sunrise calisthenics on the lawn of the Dayton Marriott.
And Speaking of Conferences...
Blissdom '12 is this weekend in Nashville and it promises to be epic in its, well...epicness.
I'm stoked to be attending for the first time, and my enthusiasm has not been dampened in the least by the fact that my movement to call the conference "BlissDOME" has failed to gain real momentum. (The hotel where it's being held is a dome...get it? Blissdom + dome = Blissdome? Okay, whatever!)
Anyway, I hope to see many of you there this weekend. Here's where you can find me when I'm not practicing my line-dancing in the Grand Ol' Opry parking lot:
Friday, Feb. 24 at 4:00 pm - CHICKtionary Book Signing at the Barnes & Noble booth in the Expo
Saturday, Feb. 25 at 2:30 - I'll be running a hands-on editing workshop called "More Method to Your Madness"
Side note: I might also be wearing one of those hats that holds a beverage on top and has straws running down the sides. It depends on whether I can find one that goes with my sheepskin peasant skirt.
In any case, I look forward to seeing you there!