I don’t even know why it still surprises me, but it does.
You would have thought I had learned my lesson early in our marriage when wife my held up two different shoes and asked which I liked best.
Me: I don’t care.
Wife: But you have to. I value your opinion.
Me: Oh, OK. I like those.
Wife: Really. What’s wrong with these?
Me: You told me to pick a shoe.
Wife: Yes. But not that one.
When it comes to questions of opinion, my wife is Lucy holding a football to be kicked, and I’m Charlie Brown.
Each time I think my wife actually wants my opinion, she just yanks the football away.
OK, it’s not a perfect metaphor. But you get my point.
Well, you do if you’re a veteran husband.
See, I have long ago learned that when my wife asks for my opinion, she really doesn’t want it if it’s not the same has hers. I long ago learned that what my wife wants is for me to agree with her. But even though I know this, I still think that somehow, this time, my wife really, really does want and value my opinion.
So I give it to her.
And she yanks the football away again.
Understand that when I say “yanks the football away again,” I don’t actually mean a football. I mean she yanks my opinion away.
Sigh. I told you it wasn’t a perfect metaphor.
That reminds me. When I was in college, I had an English professor who was from somewhere in Texas, and when he would say metaphor, he would say “met-a-fur.”
I thought that was funny.
Our 20-year-old daughter, Emma, is preparing to go on an important trip soon, and a couple of days ago, my wife asked how much cash I thought we should send with her. Because I had been down that road before, I told my wife that whatever she thought would be fine with me.
Wife: No, I want to know what you think.
Me: I’m OK with whatever you think.
Wife: Are you sure?
About an hour ago, my wife called me from work.
Wife: I need to know how much money we should send with Emma.
Me: I told you whatever you think is fine.
Wife: No. I want your opinion.
Me: OK how about (I suggest an amount)?
Wife: Really? That’s all? I was thinking (bigger amount than I suggested).
I can still hear the whoosh of the football being pulled out from under me.
Again, the football being the elusive thought of my opinion being valued. Not an actual football.
It’s a metaphor.
Whenever I ask my wife for her opinion the reason I do is because — follow me, here — I actually want her opinion.
If I ask her which sport coat I should wear with the slacks I have on and she says “the brown one,” I don’t say, “Really? You don’t like the blue jacket?”
That’s because when I ask my wife which jacket I should wear, I really don’t know which one I should wear. That’s why I asked her.
To me, asking someone’s opinion about something you’ve already decided on is a waste of time, and I don’t like to waste time.
Well, that’s not true. I love to waste time. I’ve pretty much made a career out of wasting time. I just don’t like to waste time on something that I don’t want to waste it on.
And asking opinions that I don’t want is not something I want to waste time doing.
That’s what beer and sports are for.
And that’s not a metaphor.