My grade school forever friend, MaryLou, just sent me a cute little joke, the gist of which is: a plane is going to crash. A woman in her frenzied panic screams that if this is the end, she wants it to be memorable and asks for someone to make her “feel like a woman.” A six-pack built guy in the back of the plane rises to the occasion and starts up the aisle toward her undressing as he approaches. When he is next to her, his ripped-off shirt in hand; he leans down and whispers “Iron this – then get me a beer.” I know exactly why MaryLou sent this to me. First, we both had dads who retired from United Airlines and we have always exchanged airplane tales. She and I grew up a few blocks apart in families where our moms rarely left the kitchen (or dining room table covered with projects) especially this time of year. Our fathers, on the other hand, only periodically got out of their recliners after their workday finished except to switch the TV channel as there were no remotes then!
Finally, she and I also share holiday birthdays that seemed an inconvenient distraction from ALL our moms had to accomplish in November and December. We’ve both admitted that we all too often find ourselves repeating this family model and are still striving to adapt.
Does this holiday time of year often feel like that to you ladies? Are you way too stressed yet basically expected to handle all the extra responsibility of the season? Does the added shopping, cleaning, cooking, cleaning, wrapping, cleaning, kid’s program practices, all seem to be your job after your job?
During which time the weary work-worn male of the house usually finds his recliner and the paper, computer news or a drawn-out sports game to occupy his free evening or weekend days. Sorry guys, I KNOW there is the exception out there! He’s probably wearing a man apron, prepared a four-course breakfast and has already done three loads of laundry today. But if that’s not ever been close to a scene at your house then you might want to get out your scissors, clip this column and tuck it in his stocking now!
What could make holiday responsibilities a desirable male experience? How about a free chair massage at the check-out counter of the grocery store? Or, maybe a mini golf course in the middle of the maxi shopping mall where each store’s purchase credits his punch card with an additional hole of golf. Possibly even plasma TV screens suspended from superstore ceilings so that they wouldn’t miss a minute of the urgent, seeing-not-doing-it sports and news.
Then, in the home, men could benefit from some new inventions like appliances that are programmed to do everything, without instructions, as soon as something is plopped in them! The roaster knows it just received an 8-pound rump roast, adds the spices, potatoes, vegetables and starts cooking it to the perfect temperature required. When it’s finished the tune “You Are So Wonderful” chimes out and as soon as you remove the succulent meal and fixings the pot self-cleans, ready for its next assignment.
The dishes and utensils are all made of recyclable and sterilized compost so you just break them up and toss them out the nearest door or window into the yard where they decompose and return nutrients to the garden, (which never needs tending either having undergone genetic alteration so it stays exactly the same 365 days a year).
In this desirable imaginary wonder world clothing only need be re-hung in the closets, and bedding and towels simply fluffed because all fabric has been scientifically impregnated with sanitizing microbes to produce a fresh lavender scent when the sun goes down each day. Dish washers, washing machines, dryers and many appliances become obsolete and environmental as well as personal energy is saved.
It is obvious there is no end to the mind inventions that could make household responsibilities less a chore but they won’t be available, or for sale yet, this year. So what a nice gesture it would be, if instead of just assuming that all this giving and getting season activity is fun, the males of households put down the remotes, backed away from the screens and pitched in.
What a wonderful world it will be!