Let me first say that while she is the primary source of my anguish, I do not think of her as such; my wife is the most kind-hearted person I know. She has always had a weakness for those less fortunate: the downtrodden, the weak, and those who are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to survival in a modern world. Her first act of pity was to marry me; after rescuing me, though, she began to focus her attention and assistance elsewhere, more towards those who have no way to argue on their own for their rightful place on God’s earth. I refer, naturally, to the animals of this world: from the great Polar Bear in the north, to the Uruguayan Amazon Spotted Scrotal Tick in South America; and from the Bengal Tiger in the east, to the rectally burrowing Anderson’s Earwig of the western United States. Okay, so perhaps I’ve made up the southern and western representatives, but you get the point: my wife loves animals, in any and all forms, and will defend them with the same tenacity that she employs against any attack (real or perceived) on her children.
Some examples of her boundless love and concern for God’s creatures: We very nearly rolled our car multiple times whilst roaring down a God-forsaken stretch of highway between Reno and Las Vegas at ninety-five miles per hour, because my wife gasped loudly when a mouse crossed the road in front of us (I don’t know why I hit the brakes so hard – perhaps I thought it was a western Nevadan, understandably trying to end his misery); our mail is so heavily laden with pleadings from animal sanctuaries that our mail woman’s right arm looks like Mike Tyson’s, and an umbilical hernia pokes from her abdomen like a half-inflated weather balloon from the strain of reaching across the passenger seat to deposit mail in our postal box, while the rest of her looks like a Dachau survivor in blue, government-issued shirt and shorts; and my wife, who begins to cry immediately upon seeing the lifeless mass in the roadway until she sees, and I convince her, that it’s only a clump of wet carpet fallen from an installer’s truck. (Even then there’s a silent and furtive mini-funeral for the piece of floor covering that once served a nobler and greater purpose).
Over the years, I’ve succumbed to an inevitable force. Sure, I’ve donned the cloak of the courageously stubborn Not This Time Man (my secret super hero), but my wife has seen me for what I truly am: a hopeful, but ultimately gullible pushover who draws a clear line in the sand, knowing subconsciously that a massive haboob (look it up) approaches that will erase any evidence that said line ever existed.
At present, in the roughly thirteen-hundred square foot storage locker that is my home and, in addition to the only three humans in residence (myself, my wife and youngest daughter), there live nine cats and three dogs. I’ve drawn a line in the sand in front of two of the cats, the latest additions to the menagerie, and stand strong as Not This Time Man, with head up, chin out, hands on my hips, muscles rippling and cape unfurling in the wind. The rest I’ll begin to introduce to you in How I became #15 on the “Save in Case of Fire” List – Part II, coming sooner or later.