Thursday, July 10, 2008

I’ll Have My Velveeta and Eat It, Too

Being single wasn’t so bad. But at the time, I would’ve given up both my arms and a leg to have a wife like I have now. I would’ve given up my vision and my hearing. Heck, I would’ve taken more drastic measures and trashed my prized DVD collection to be with someone.

However, I wasn’t so desperate that I would’ve settled down with Godzilla’s problem daughter just to be in a relationship. I looked long and hard for a girlfriend, and when I did meet my soon-to-be-wife, I knew that I found someone worth giving up my entire world if that’s what it meant to be with her.

Relationships are great, but that doesn’t mean they’re not a lot of work. I grew up in a family of five. I played organized sports where you had to work as a team. I’ve collaborated with others on creative projects. I know that in order to be on any team (relationships included), you sometimes have to give up certain things for the good of the whole.

So when I took my soon-to-be-wife as a girlfriend, and when she said that she preferred Romaine lettuce to iceberg, and wheat bread to white bread, and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese to Velveeta’s brand, I had no problem giving up the latter for the good of the whole. After all, I didn’t have to give up my arms, a leg, my vision, my hearing, or worse, my prized DVD collection.

Sure, I ate iceberg lettuce, white bread and Velveeta’s macaroni and cheese here and there, but these weren’t necessities in my life. So I just stopped eating the stuff. And my relationship with my soon-to-be-wife began . . . and flourished.

As the two of us got to know each other better, I would give up other similar items. No more “drink” drinks. (“Drinks,” evidently, are made from artificial substances whereas “juice” comes from all-natural products.) My soon-to-be-wife often ate peppermint Life Savers as a means to cure upset stomachs. I’d later learn that peppermint “Breathsavers” didn’t do the trick, so we didn’t buy that brand anymore. As with the other things I previously gave up, these things I would surrender were no problem.

Almost 10 years later, I still haven’t missed these things -- until last weekend when eating dinner at a restaurant. I ordered a salad that happened to be made with iceberg lettuce. I ate the salad. And I forgot how wonderful, how terrific, how great the pale crisp juicy leaves tasted.

I said to my wife, “You know, this iceberg lettuce isn’t as good as everyone says.”

The next day when my wife left the house to run some errands, I calmly waved good bye, and then, in a mad rush, took off for the grocery store to buy iceberg lettuce, white bread, Velveeta Macaroni and Cheese, and all the other things I gave up for my wife.

Like an addict, I smuggled the stuff into my house, locked the doors, turned off the lights, and consumed the goods while hiding under the bed on the lookout for my better half. I was in Heaven, as if I’d tasted these fantastic products for the first time.

I wanted to consume all this stuff all the time. I’d long forgotten the painful days of singlehood where I would’ve given up so much just to be in a relationship. That day, while in “Heaven” under my bed consuming all those wonderful things, I no longer wanted to give up anything. And I still wanted to be with my wife. I wanted my cake, and I wanted to eat it, too, and I’d just have to explain that to the woman I loved, which wouldn’t be much of a problem since the two of us have such a candid relationship.

I candidly videotaped my thoughts for my wife, expressing my feelings about the things I’d given up. I wasn’t worried. It’s just that everything I’d built with my wife in our lives was on the line, with singlehood at bay if I took a wrong step, so I needed to present myself clearly, diplomatically, persuasively -- in other words: without the nervous stutter of someone who feared losing his life.

Video in hand, I was very confident in what I was about to do. But just in case, I bought my wife 10-dozen roses, took her to her favorite restaurant for dinner that night, and I even threw my jacket over a puddle for her before I set her in front of the TV, put on my video and ran.

After the viewing, my wife found me under the bed with an iceberg lettuce salad. She looked at me in silence -- a long silence as if piecing it all together, perhaps pondering how she’d dispose of my body once she ended me.

And then she said, “I don’t care if you eat that.”

Turns out she never expected me to give up any of that stuff I’d stopped consuming.

We’re both currently eating our meals happily ever after.

-June 2008

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