Saturday, November 3, 2012

Being Right: Not Always the Same as Being Smart

When my wife is asked what it’s like being nine years younger than her husband,1 she likes to say that
 “People think he’s robbing the cradle, but actually I’m robbing the grave.”

It’s a good line and she delivers it well, with a happy, sunny bounce to her voice that rarely fails to get a laugh. It’s the kind of thing that one doesn’t expect to hear from a genuine graverobber, who in our experience tend to be generally unpleasant people.

Not the most practical way to find a date . . .
but, hey, times are tough all around.

While our age gap rarely comes up as an actual problem worth discussing, it often becomes the basis of good-natured teasing, such as when I injure an old-mannish part of me (a hip, for example) playing hockey, getting slowly out of bed, or chasing kids off our lawn; or when she struggles to identify artifacts such as LP records, typewriters, and rotary phones,2 or wants to know what life was like before automobiles.

Your humble author, ca. 1895.

The age gap does seem to be a bit harder on me, though, not just because I’m more elderly and thus an easier, slower target, but also because, frankly, I’m not too bright.

Some years ago—I won’t say exactly how many—Some Gal turned twenty-five. She was in a funk for much longer than I had learned to expect her to be down about anything,3 so finally I asked what was eating her. Clearly (in hindsight) upset about having rushed through the first five years of her twenties, she answered with a slump in her shoulders and voice:

“I’m halfway to thirty.”

My immediate response—the mathematical part of my brain obviously moving much faster than the part that doles out common sense—was:

“What are you talking about? You’re halfway to fifty.”

I suspect that by the time I live this down, she’ll be halfway to ninety. Maybe older than that, since I’m dimwitted enough to have put it in writing so it’ll be harder to forget.

1. In case you’re struggling to keep up, my wife’s husband is me. While we tend to use the first-person plural here at Bowling in the Dark, referring to our wife’s husband as “us” would be be confusing at best, and at worst might inadvertently generate discussion about polygamy and the constitutional definition of marriage, and I/we/Gaia are particularly interested in not having that discussion here.
2. I’m making a lot of this up because she’s probably not going to read this.
3. Probably twenty or thirty minutes. She’s pretty upbeat.

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