Me and Mrs. Nelson
I have been having clandestine and private meetings for some years with a married woman who can now factually be described as "middle-aged."
As in the song "Me and Mrs. Jones" -- a title that is both somewhat tawdry and syntactically challenged -- one could say that we have "a thing going on." In fact, it has been "going on" for going on three decades now. That's more than half of my life!
The woman is my wife, of course. And the fact that she is about to hit the Big 5-0 officially puts her into the "middle-aged" category.
My wife's half-a-hundred birthday landed me on the horns of a dilemma, one that could imperil my marriage and perhaps even my life. At the very least, it could induce the overuse of cliched metaphors.
The Sword of Damocles that hung over my head was this: Did she want a big shindig to mark her attaining the half-century mark? I knew that answering this question was well above my pay grade so I consulted the ultimate authority regarding this matter, namely, my wife.
After due consideration, she said that a simple and small get-together involving family and a few friends would be good enough.
I was at first relieved about being relieved of my Party Planner-In-Chief duties. But then my hard-earned and finely-honed husband instincts kicked in.
What if this is a trap? What if it's similar to one of those trick questions that can never, ever be answered correctly? Questions such as "Do these pants make me look fat?" or "What are you thinking?"
Years of painful experience has taught me that it's best not to reply to that type of inquiry. At such times, a good husband knows how to divert his wife's attention with statements like "Look! A sasquatch just walked past the living room window!" or "How's about that Brett Favre? Think the Packers did the right thing by sending him packing?"
It then occurred to me that maybe my wife really didn't want a big party. Perhaps she would like to redirect the resources used to put on a Big 5-0 bash to some other form of thrilling and fulfilling activity to celebrate her birthday.
Maybe she would like to spend a day with South Dakota's Favorite Humorist which, allegedly, is me. That particular title was attributed to me recently when I again shared the stage with Sherwin Linton at the State Fair.
That "Favorite Humorist" thing took me totally by surprise. I don't know who is responsible for giving out that title, but can only surmise that I had been graded on a very generous curve.
But, alas. As I previously noted, my wife already habitually spends time with me. Doing so yet again and singing a song that contains the words "Happy Half-century" might come up a bit short in the "thrilling" department.
I again decided to consult with the ultimate authority on these matters. I approached the subject cautiously, with a backup exclamation -- that a UFO had just landed in our front yard -- at the ready.
"So," I began, "Since we're not having a big blow-out for your Big 5-0 birthday, did you have anything else inmind to help mark the occasion?"