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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Reading (01/25/07)

TITLE: Husbands!
By Marlene Bonney


What is it with husbands, anyway? They have a sheet of instructions in the box of a new piece of furniture. They lay out all the parts and begin unwrapping the hardware and whatnot. They self-importantly get out their hoard of CRAFTSMAN tools and start putting the thing together. An hour later, you hear a groan and a whistle of frustration—either because the new item is now assembled with a suspicious pile of leftover parts or because they discover they have screwed something on wrong-side up. Practically, “the wife” steps up and innocently asks,

“Well, did you read the instructions?”

“Instructions! I don’t need to read instructions—this is just a simple project. What do you think I am, stupid?”

The fact is, as a wife, mechanical things are not a visual concept that I can easily grasp. However, if I read and follow directions carefully, I can usually figure out how to put together bookcases, how to install batteries in children’s toys and the intricacies of programming VCR’s.

What is it with husbands, anyway? They ask you to make sure you have a map along for a journey, but refuse to read it! After driving around in a foreign city on seedy side streets for an hour, they ask YOU to read the map for them! Why not just read the thing to begin with?! Because they think they can feel an innate sense of direction inside them for their guide, that’s why!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I can empathize. I am the first one to admit that I don’t have a drop of directional sense in my body. I have come to the conclusion over the years, that I am directionally challenged. For instance, if I come upon a “closed road—use alternate route” sign when I am out driving, I go back home. When I read a map, I have to turn it in the same direction of the car or I get confused. When I was in college, there were two exits to the lobby from the dormitory floor rooms, one on each end of the hallway; and I was always getting mixed up as to which one led to the FRONT lobby where boyfriends and other guests of mixed gender were received with the one that led to the BACK laundry rooms. My problem was the lack of signs to read to remind me which exit was which! I can tell you from experience how embarrassing it is to be in pajamas dragging a basket of dirty clothes into the lounge containing couples and suitors!

I once was out fishing with my soon-to-be husband, who was trying to create a directional pull in MY system. His first remark was,

“Now, look up at the sun—where is it?”

“Up there”, I dutifully responded, pointing up with my index finger.”

“I mean”, he laughingly said, “Is it toward the east or toward the west?”

“Left”, I stated as the boat drifted around in a circle, “No, I mean, right—no, definitely, left”.

What is it with husbands, anyway? He gave up and went back to baiting his hook and that was that. The only reason I know which is north and south in my city is because I live on N. Hampton St. and S. Hampton is to the left of us; so, voila! I can figure out the rest because of reading these trusty old street signs!

What is it with my husband, anyway? He is the cook in our family. I am the designated baker, which I do well, but only because I read the cook book and follow the written specifications exactly. I asked him once to teach me how to make his renowned gravy, and he proceeded to tell me to put a little water and some flour into a shaker, add just a little of this, and a dab of that and mix with just a flick of the wrist like this, and only have the burner flame turned up like this. I was able to do much better when I read directions from what is now my favorite dummies recipe book!

What is it with my husband, anyway? He says he can read me like a book, and he hasn’t read a book since high school! Now, if there was only a book I could read on how to teach someone to read who already knows how . . .

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This article has been read 617 times
Member Comments
Member Date
julie wood02/01/07
I loved reading this story--it got me laughing! Great job with specific hilarious situations--my favorite was that of the narrator carrying laundry into the college visitors' lounge and her dialogue about the sun's position. I could identify with those! Enjoyed descriptions of the husband's behavior too and was drawn in by the title--I knew it would be funny by the exclamation point after "Husbands."
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/01/07
This was a great read. I liked the use of repetition for a purpose. It suited.
Mo 02/01/07
I enjoyed this. (& you're not the only one who's somewhat directionally challenged. Maybe try one of those GPS things for your car. I heard it's great.)
Jan Ackerson 02/02/07
Very clever, written in a fun and casual style.
Jen Davis02/03/07
This was really cute and very creative with the topic. These were my favorite lines: “… if I come upon a “closed road—use alternate route” sign when I am out driving, I go back home. When I read a map, I have to turn it in the same direction of the car or I get confused.” Thanks for a good laugh. And, you’re so right—“What is it with husbands?”
Marilyn Schnepp 02/03/07
I can read this writer like a book. She knows men! Won't ask directions, won't read directions, think they know...but don't. Loved the tone, the wit and the smugness of what make husbands tick. Neat entry! and, an enjoyable read.