The secret to a happy marriage is to lie to each other as much as you possibly can, I says.
Me and my cousin Brad are out in the backyard, pretendin’ to look for a monkey wrench in the barn so he can ask me for marriage advice. As you might remember, Brad’s about 400 pounds, looks sort of like a walrus and has worn the same dirty hockey jersey and joggin’ pants for about ten years now.
You can’t be serious, Brad says, scrunchin’ up his face in a way that makes him look even more like a walrus than usual. Lyin’?
Oh, I’m serious, buddy. If you’re havin’ a rough spot in your marriage, I’m tellin’ ya, that’s the best advice you’ll hear from anybody – lie to her every chance you get.
No way, Brad says, shakin’ his head so his jowls jiggled. I’d never lie to Betty – I love her too much.
Now let me explain what I mean, I says. I’m not talkin’ about doin’ stuff you’re not supposed to do. I’m not talkin’ about the big stuff – you can’t run around with somebody else behind your wife’s back, or you can’t clean out the bank account, blow it all on scratch tickets and make up a story about where the money went. No way, buddy – if you’re into stuff like that, then there’s no way yis’re gonna make it anyway.
What I’m talkin’ about is the thousand or so little white lies husbands and wives have to tell each other every day because it keeps the peace and keeps everything runnin’ smooth. There’s no way ya can make it without them.
I dunno, Brad says. It just seems like I do somethin’ to set her off a couple of times a week.
It’s nothin’ a few careful lies can’t fix, I says to him. Gimme an example – what are yis fightin’ about right now?
Well, he says, Betty’s best friend just had a little girl and we were goin’ to the church for the Christening.
OK, I says.
We were already runnin’ late because we both slept in, so we’re flyin’ around the house tryin’ to get ready, when Betty comes downstairs pullin’ at this black and white dress she had on.
Uggh, she said. My arse looks like it’s two pick-handles wide in this dress.
Don’t matter, I said to her. You’ll be wearin’ your coat anyways. Needless to say, that didn’t go over so good. She didn’t talk to me the whole rest of the day and this’ll be the third night I’ll have to make myself a peanut better sandwich for supper.
See buddy, I said to him – that’s where a little lie comes in right handy. “Noooo, my dear,” you say to her. “You look like ya just walked out of a magazine.” You say somethin’ like that even if the dress makes her sort of look like a Buick somebody covered up for the winter.
I dunno, Brad said. That ain’t even the worst of it. Last week, she spent about half the day on Saturday makin’ our supper. She made a whole big spread – potatoes and vegetables and everything, and the main dish she made was fishcakes. She spent hours makin’ them – had these recipe books out and everything. So it comes time to eat and I sit down and everything looks delicious. She gets back up to get the salt and pepper shakers just as I take my first bite. And while she’s back over at the stove she says, “I hope they’re not too salty – I measured it in tablespoons instead of teaspoons by mistake”
And they were salty as hell, so I said – Oh yeah, they’re really, really salty, but I’ll just drown them in ketchup anyway. A second later there was a *thwack* on the wall next to my head. I looked over, and by the time I realized I was lookin’ at a splattered fishcake slidin’ down the wall, the second one she threw hit me in the side of the face.
Cook your own damn supper, then! she started yellin’ and before I knew it, I was back on the peanut budder sandwiches for supper for the rest of the week.
Holy cripes, I said to Brad. You can’t be this stupid, are you, bye? Anything your wife cooks for you, you eat it like it’s your first meal in a month and you thank her up and down for it. Don’t matter if it tastes like an old sneaker – eat all of it and tell her it’s the most delicious thing you ever ate.
These are the lies people have to tell, I said.
I can’t though, Brad said. Because I know Betty would never lie to me.
Are you mental? I said to him. Has she ever called you “handsome”?
‘Course she has, he said.
Well there ya go, I said. Who’s foolin’ who?