I have put my foot in mouth so many times that there is a size 9 footprint embossed on my tongue. To overcome my poorly-timed and ill-advised words, I’ve taken a page out of the family dog’s book: I will only say one word.
We have a Dachshund named Becker. I’ve been carefully observing my four-legged friend/foe over the years, amazed at how he relieves himself everywhere in our house, racks up thousands in vet bills, yet remains near and dear to our hearts.
The most amazing thing? The guy only says one word: “Arf!”
Becker, do you want a treat?
Becker, lay down!
Becker, shut the hell up, its 4 am and if you don’t stop your incessant whining I will hurl you out this second floor window, where hopefully neighborhood coyotes will catch you and swallow you whole.
One word. That’s all he says, and he leaves it to us to figure out what he wants.
I do the opposite. I use many words, especially with my wife. And not just the fantastic, light-hearted and occasionally awe-inspiring human-events-altering ones you read here.
I, on occasion, make snide, sarcastic comments, many of which are extremely enlightening if she could just get past their snide, sarcastic veneer.
Besides saying the wrong thing, I also use the wrong tone. Tone is critical. My wife is like a seasoned piano tuner: If I use the wrong tone (snide, sarcastic or plain old crabby), she will take one of those big hammers that the piano tuners use and whack me upside the head.
My latest epiphany was designed to circumvent all my verbal gaffes. I would do as the dog does. I would say only one thing.
I gave my wife fair warning of my latest epiphany, explaining how by sticking to one word, I could become beloved and avoid being beheaded.
“What’s the word?” she asked.
Since “Arf!” was already taken, I chose the next best word, one full of happiness and pep.
“Snowcone!” I shouted.
“Good,” she said. “See you later. I’m going shopping. Nice big sale at Kohl’s.”
“Yep, and I’ll be renting a Uhaul to fit in the racks of clothes and housewares I plan on buying.”
She kissed me. “Ok, see you later. I like this one-word thing!”
Two months passed, and not once was I scolded for my insolent tone or my inappropriate verbiage. Instead, my wife took to patting me on the head and rubbing my belly. She also began throwing me the tennis ball, which, since we couldn’t really converse, gave us something to do.
One downside to the one-word approach: Because I was unable to voice objections to her spending spree, we went bankrupt. We had to move out of the house and moved closer to the dog park, where fortunately I had more room to chase tennis balls.
Despite the financial ruin, I’d advise you menfolk to follow my lead and stick to one word. It’s the easiest way to become woman’s best friend.