Glancing up, I realize that my title is a bit ambiguous. The word “pack” can have many meanings, such as “a pack of gum,” or a “Cub Scout pack.” Or carrying a concealed weapon.
So let me state at the outset that the following is not intended to be a sequel to Orange Is The New Black, although murder could very well be one possible outcome.
But no. I’m referring to “pack” as in “packing.” Like putting clothes into a suitcase or a garment bag, or loading boxes into a car.
No doubt my priorities are all screwed up. There’s so much going on in the world that cries out for serious attention and consideration, and here I sit, obsessing about Viagra commercials.
Gun violence, Brexit, terrorist explosions, to say nothing of the upcoming political conventions during which two flawed candidates will be nominated to run for the highest office in the universe. It’s absolutely terrifying. In fact, I should be focusing on which country I would migrate to, if the flawed candidate with the orange face and comb-over should happen to win. But I’m not naming names here.
I was in a doctor’s waiting room the other day catching up on my magazine reading (see “Death, Taxes, and the Annual Exam,” February 29, 2016), when the title of a particular article captured my attention: The Disappearance of Older Women.
Had this been the National Enquirer, I would have assumed that it was another story about alien abductions. But why aliens would want to kidnap post-menopausal females was indeed a mystery unto itself. Perhaps on some planet not yet discovered by NASA they had overbuilt their assisted living facilities? Even for the Enquirer, that seemed a little far-fetched.
What I’m about to say is not exactly breaking news. This is something that every wife and female significant other knows only too well. While we can congratulate ourselves on having made great strides in the fight for equality with males in many arenas, there remains at least one battle zone where men are holding fast. And I do mean holding fast. It might as well be a logo on a victory banner. A tightly clenched masculine fist, with fingers possessively wrapped around the TV remote control.
The origins of a man’s inalienable right to dominate TV viewing is unclear to me. But no matter. I give up. I give in. I have moved on to assert myself in other areas, like the setting on the air conditioning, or which side of the bed is unarguably mine. But there are evenings in the TV room when I seriously consider rebellion.
Question: What’s the scariest thing that a wife of forty years might hear from her husband?
(No, it’s not “I’m leaving you for a younger woman,” though that might be preferable to the true correct response.)
Answer: “Honey, at the end of the year, I’m going to retire.”
Question: What’s the scariest thing that a wife of forty years might catch her retired husband doing? (No, it’s not logging on to internet porn, though, again, that might be preferable.)
Answer: Sitting on the couch in front of the TV screen in the middle of the day watching The Iron Chef!
It’s as inevitable as the changing of the seasons, as predictable as the ebb and flow of the tides, as constant as the sunrise in the morning. It is its own force of nature, but with a human voice – the daily cry from the upstairs bedroom: “Honey, I can’t find my glasses!”
Did I see them? Did I move them? Did I take them? I must have, otherwise they would be exactly where he left them, wherever that was. So I go upstairs, trying to ignore the implication that somehow this is all my fault, and help him retrace his steps. When did he last have them? What did he do after that? Where has he already searched? The answer to the last question is less than helpful, of course, because he could never find his glasses without his glasses. “Oh, look,” I say as I lift the newspaper to reveal the glasses, “they just crawled right under here.”