Take My Wife

It’s difficult for married people my age to talk about our wives. I mean, the word itself doesn’t seem to mean what we want it to mean. Last weekend, my brother and I hung out with our wives on Sunday, and it wasn’t exactly me and Ian drinking scotch and smoking cigars in the living room while our wives retired to the kitchen. They have us out IQ’ed by about 20 points apiece, and the four of us had a ranging day of conversation that included politics, cooking and art, and Ian and I just sort of held on for dear life and made the occasional fart joke.

So, it’s really hard for someone like me to say, “My wife loves it when (x) happens”. My cousins in Utah have wives, or are wives. Jordana is just this pretty girl who lives with me. When I call her my wife, I figure you assume some kind of maternal icon.

But I say it nonetheless. I have to. If you know me for a few weeks, at some point you figure out that I love acting and music, that I love cooking and eating. If you know me for a month or so, you’ll probably learn that my whole family are musicians, that I’m a little morally uptight but not at all religious, that I have deep respect for some things and even deeper disrespect for others. If you only know me for one afternoon, just a coffee conversation, you’ll hear my best friend’s names, you’ll know I have a big family, and you’ll probably think I’m funny.

But if you have two minutes to talk to me, you’ll know about my wife. I can’t help it. If I tell you anything about me, it begins and ends with my married life. If you peel me away like an onion, you’ll get past the race, the midwesterner, the southerner, the New York-er, the Californian, pretty fast, and deep down you’ll find the fat kid trying to do good, the fail-er desperate to avoid failure. And that last peel before there is nothing, you will find the husband to Jordana.

She turns 28 today, the same age I was when I thought my life had ended, the same age when I was redeemed, like a thousand tickets at a skee ball counter. There isn’t much behind that counter that she might want, but I hope I can be a ratty sweatshirt with a Carolina logo stashed in a corner that she can wear when all she wants is to be alone and warm.