Monday, March 22, 2010

My Pretend Husbands

Another reason I can’t go on dates (besides being half deaf plus nobody asks me) is that I don’t know how to make conversation. My idea of small talk is: “So! What’s the most morally reprehensible thing you've ever done?” The only man who ever bothered to answer said he’d once tried to shove his wife from a car. A car that was moving. Fast. On a freeway. He responded so quickly I could tell he’d already given the matter some thought. This impressed me. After all, anyone can estimate how many smarmy acts they’ve committed in life, but only a few take the time to decide which act gets first prize.

Anyway, I must have forgotten my conversational handicap when I signed up with Match Death Dot Com and Kayak Dot Jew, but since the closest I ever got to a date was one ill-advised phone call, my memory lapse is but a moot point. A person who cannot date, of course, is also a person unlikely to marry. Not that I want to, except theoretically, in the same way one wants, theoretically, to travel the world, but in practical terms knows that one heat wave in Borneo will be more than enough to finish her off.

Indeed, having done it three times already, I don’t even want to live with a man, unless it’s in a sixty-room house, forty of which get to be my own bathroom. Even Mack, the born-again Christian Republican cowboy whom I adore more than truffle butter itself, is someone I don’t want to live with. I wouldn’t mind knowing once in a while if we’ll ever cross paths again in this lifetime, but that’s a whole other issue. (A bit of a cowboy issue, I think, per that Willie Nelson song admonishing mamas to not let their babies grow up to be them.)

As I doubt I’m the only crone in the world who’s never going to get her own husband, I’d like to offer up the system I use to try to make up for what is still (as one finds out if one leaves the house) a clearly stigmatizing lacuna.

I call my system My Pretend Husbands. At present I have four on my roster: Ed Head, Hank Fitz, Boo Radley, and Mack. While Ed and Hank both know I pretend they’re my husbands (never mind that Ed Head is happily married and Hank Fitz is unmarried plus gay), Boo and Mack still have no idea. How can I tell them? The H word alone would make Mack lose his mind, and Boo, last time I checked, had no mind to lose, because the other last time I checked, he was also--and ever will be--A Cat.


  1. Good work, Ms. Gonick! You need to go back to the Chronicle.. walk into your old editor's office and ask what happened to your last paycheck.. and the one before that!

    Hey!.. I saw that work on a sitcom. I forget which, but she quit one week and came back the next and pretended it had never happened.. and it worked! Of course a multi-year absence may be a little trickier.. but I'm sure if you stay on the offensive and threaten them with that 'stigmatic Lacuna' thing, they'll quickly relent and cough up some back pay! Do you have any idea how many definitions there are for that? And not one of them was my first pick-- A South American mountain dwelling animal who bleeds a lot!

    I'm pleased to be enjoying your musings once again, Jean.

    Your old fan from the Plains,

    Jim B.

  2. Thanks, Jim...and guess what, EVERYONE has to look up LACUNA. I first heard the word from the lips of Ed Head and it took me 6 years to learn how to use it. As ever, your own constant Ms. G

  3. Yes, it's terrific finally getting our Jeannie
    back. I look forward to every volley. Who else
    can come up with a 40 bathroom house?

    Sure, the guy wanted to shove his wife from the car, but hey, it was an "uncrowded freeway".
    Kindness pops up in the strangest places. Like the fast lane.

    So then, Jeannie throws us a curveball today.
    Already Jim's tried to snag it. Now I'll give it a go.

    A lacuna is quite obviously a Hawaiian chieftain who's overweight. A very big kahuna
    who can't turn down that extra helping of poi.
    And then struggles into his jeep which is a stigmatic. No automatic for this tubby brudda, no, no, he drive a stig shift.

    Jean, Boo The Cat can't be a husband.
    Altho husbands can cat around, cat's aren't
    the marryin' kind. These loners stare into your soul so sweetly. Then give anniversay gifts like mauled mice.

    What great company you are, Jean.
    Mack doesn't know what he's missing.

    Fog Head

  4. Dearest Fog,
    If you truly believe cats can't be husbands, there must be a lacuna in your otherwise excellent brain. For whom do wives reach when they awake at three in the morning gripped by existential despair? That's right, Fog. Their husbands. Enter Boo Radley, who shares my bed (and despair) every night.
    As ever,
    Ms. G

  5. World Premiere

    Dearest Jean: I tried to write a poem once.

    A measeley little poem that took me all day.
    Only 4 tiny lines that cemented the fact I would never try again. Poetry, schmoetry.

    However, since both Mr.and Mrs. Boo Radley might be interested in the context and meaning of said verse, I herewith offer the World Premiere of my one and only poem to a panting populace, crazy with expectation for the sterling words:

    A man is a lonesome cat,
    A woman's a pup quite gregarious.
    And love gets tugged between the two,
    From the tragic to the hilarious.

    Your faithful correspondent,

    PS I don't know if there's a lacuna in my brain
    because I think there's a lacuna in my brain.

  6. Weird ... As I was reading down the comments, even before Fog wrote his poem (good one, Fog!), I was reminded of an old poem of mine ... too naughty for Failing? You decide ...

    There's a make-believe man in my bed at night:
    a perfect lover -- he treats me right,
    gives me my propers, takes his time,
    warms me all over with kisses sublime.
    Never in a hurry, my imaginary man --
    he fills all my needs as best he can.
    He's steadfast and loving, strong and true;
    always coming up with something new:
    something to thrill me, something to please,
    whether up on all fours or down on his knees.
    He never argues; he thinks I'm divine ...
    and he's always ready when I recline.
    To good to be true, my ghostly guy,
    including his lack of a roving eye.
    He has no sins for which to atone --
    I only wish he was flesh and bone!

  7. Dang! I've been out-poemed!
    I'm blushing and bow in defeat to Lady Trellis.

    Well done, Rose. That last line was
    lovingly erotic, the way it should be.

    Ghostly guys and pussycats... you gals have to
    get out there! It won't come to you, so to speak. It's Springtime minus one day already!
    Get out there; time's a wastin'!

    I'm wondering if Mrs. Radley has an old poem
    she can dust off for us? I'd like that a lot.
    Hell, even a wicked limerick would do.
    But certainly not one like this:

    There once was a cowboy named Mack
    who left and never came back.
    So I sleep with my cat
    While holding a bat,
    Fending off those who'd hop in my sack.

    See? I told you I can't write this stuff.
    Springtime makes me crazy, I swear. Ok,
    poetry corner is closed. I'm off to do something really exciting, like the dishes.

    Get out there!!!!!!!!!

    Fog Head

  8. Fog and Rose,
    You are both geniuses.
    Thank you!
    As ever,
    Ms. G

  9. I once had a kitty husband who unfortunately lived only 18 and 3/4 years. He passed on almost exactly two years ago. He was the best husband I ever had and I miss him dearly. I have two boy cats at the present time but they aren't really husband material.

  10. Dang, I had to look up "lacuna."

    Right now my favorite word is "impunity," as everyone else in my caregiver world gets to have it, cept moi.

    Perhaps you can rent out your husband units in a parallel universe. I already have the cat husband handled...St. BooBoo the Kat.

  11. Snorted my coffee myriad times catching up on the blogs- bless you, my Jeannie!
    Love, Gaylie