NORTH ADAMS -- He looked at me across the brown and tan booths at McDonald’s and said to me, "I have one too."
He made a head nod toward his wife and I knew then that he wasn’t a weirdo. He recognized my face from the picture in The Eagle. And my buddy screaming my name helped as well. And he wanted to know if MY wife was treating me OK. (What a classic introduction to a bit.)
We have been together 28 years and 26 of them married. We lived in sin for two years before we got hitched. (Got hitched? Who am I -- Gabby Hayes?) She claims that she is a saint for putting up with me. (I think the same for putting up with her.) And with good reason, we’ve been together too long.
Sadly, we’ve become my parents arguing whether it’s Victor Mature or Cornel Wilde in the old movie that’s on TCM. (I was right, it was Cornel Wilde.) Yes, sports fans, it’s the battling Carriers. In this corner, a great looking man who, even tipping the scale at 260 (that’s a huge lie -- I’m 280 if I’m a pound) is the best looking fat guy in the county: Johnnie. And in the other corner we have his wife. She won’t read this till it’s in the paper, but she doesn’t require a huge intro: Dawn.
(Trust me I’ll pay for this one.) Maybe I’m misleading you; we have stupid little things that drive each other crazy. She will see a movie that I slept through and she feels compelled tell me every ever-loving detail including humming the overture and reciting the opening credits. She leaves no aspect out in her description, but a two-hour movie plays three hours during story time. And I can’t take it any longer.
It’s the same with her dreams. Every morning starts the same. She grabs the coffee that I made for her and she sits down. Taking a sip of coffee, she looks up and says, "I had the strangest dream last night." This is frustrating for me on so many levels.
First of all, I don’t dream. I don’t remember my dreams often, I should say. And when I do dream, I’m drinking, smoking, gambling or breaking the monogamy passage of my marriage contract. So when I do dream, I tend to remember them, but not in the fine detail of her dreams. She names the cologne the storm troopers were wearing as she was chased through the Black Forest. The forest itself smelled like pine trees. Or was it balsam? I get those two confused. (Help me.)
And in a brief moment of self-reflection and clarity, let me add that I am no Wilfred Brimley, either. Gastric operations? I’m compared to the tests they run at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. I’m moody, emotional and I have a flair for the dramatics. (But it’s award-winning stuff.) I toss and turn all night long which bunches the covers on the bed and that ticks off Dawn and the dog in the process.
I know I’m shocking some of you that there are flaws behind all this (and I mean all of this) beauty. And the biggest drawback that I have is the fact that I tell the truth only between parentheses. (Do you know how many dern times it took me and spell check to come up with parenthesis?) Yes, Mr. I Didn’t Get Your Name at McDonald’s, my wife is treating me alright these days. I hope yours is as well. (We really need to meet in a better restaurant next time.)
Johnnie Carrier is a freelance writer who strives to be Wilfred Brimley. Wasn’t he married to Lorrie Morgan?