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"Look at this crap, Mary. I mean, the age of oil is over. When are we gonna quit suckin' it outta the ground? It's preposterous already."
"Why don't you put the newspaper down and think of something constructive to do? You know how depressed you get when you read too much bad news."
"Yeah," I answered hastily. "But if I don't read it, I'm totally uninformed. I don't understand what the big deal is anyway. Why can't we just run on alcohol from corn? Venezuela does it, and we're the ones who're supposed ta be technologically advanced. Tell me how that happened, wouldja? I just don't get it."
"I don't know Reid. Call the big oil companies and ask them. We've got our own problems. For one thing, the place is a mess. Why don'tcha help me, an' clean up the fish tank. The sides are so dirty, the fish can't see out of it."
"Okay, okay," I replied grudgingly. Getting up from the living room sofa, I walked over to our messy fish tank, found the spongy scraper I used to clean the glass in the cabinet below and began the task of methodically scraping the crud off the glass. "This'll take me forever," I said, realizing how my wife was right, and that the newspaper had successfully depressed the hell out of me. I was now, in fact, trapped in a mode of complaining which can be difficult for me to break out of once I get a good start. "How am I supposed to clean the glass, with this monster suckin' the side like this?" I asked, complaining over the giant, scaly fish we bought who'd attached himself to the glass in a nearly permanent position. Presumably, he was supposed to keep the sides of the tank clean. "I don't think this guy's doin' the job, do you?" I remarked.
"Reid, just do it wouldja," replied my wife, Mary. "Move him outta the way an' just do it. I knew the paper would wreck your mood. You can't stop complaining now."
"Okay, you win," I said a few minutes later, having completed the task. "Now what?"
"Why don'tcha vacuum? The carpet's really messy from dog hair an' stuff. Look," she said, pointing to small clumps of fur scattered around the living and dining rooms. "Do whatcha can, while I do the dishes." So in agreement with her - as even a child could see that she had a point and little clumps of fur were everywhere - I went to the laundry room, retrieved the vacuum and began the task of trying to breathe life back into the old rug by going over it with our tired, old vacuum.
"Damn thing won't suck up fer love or money," I soon replied, after having made passes over the clumps of fur again and again, making very little progress.
"Here," answered Mary. "Let me try." But after some time had passed - having made no further progress on the task than I - my wife resolved herself to the possibility that the bag might be in need of changing and responded by saying... "If you get a bag and change it out, that might do the trick. Otherwise, you're gonna have ta turn it over, take it apart an' work your magic on it."
After about thirty minutes of wrestling with old screws, stuck in position by time, dust and grime - as we both knew the job wasn't as simple as a mere change of bags would imply - I got the old machine back in its original mechanical shape and turned it back on, only to find that the lousy thing still wouldn't pick up worth a darn. "This thing really sucks Mary! I can't wait ta get rid of it."
"I know, I know," she said. "Look, I'm getting hungry. It's coming up to dinnertime. Why don't we stop for awhile and decide on what we want."
"Best idea you've had all day," I replied. "How about Italian?"
"Nah. Too many calories," answered my wife. "I'm tryin' ta drop a few pounds."
"Okay then. How about Chinese?" I said, trying to think of a low calorie substitute.
"I don't think so. Didn't we just have Chinese a few days ago?"
"Hey, I know!" I remarked, thinking that I'd just had a real brainstorm. "How about some French? Whaddaya think a that? Good idea, huh?"
"Oh, you know those French portions," replied my wife. "An hour later and I'm hungry again."
"Well now you're doin' all the complaining," I said, getting tired of making suggestions that weren't going anywhere. "When you decide what you want, tell me an' I'll go get it."
"Ah, you suck," said Mary out of nowhere, angry with me, I thought, after telling her she was doing more than her share of the complaining, and so I subtly replied with a poignant but deliberate... "you suck!"
"Oh yeah," she said, working herself up to a full head of Irish tempered steam... "you suck!"
"You!" I countered.
"You!" she answered, but getting a hold of myself and the maddened beast within us all, I calmed down long enough to make one final suggestion. "Look," I said. "We're not getting anywhere like this. I just remembered how much you like Mexican. So how about it? Will that do?"
"Oh... Mexican," she answered, in that smooth, cool voice of hers she uses whenever things begin to go right. "Yeah, that's the ticket! Great idea!"
"Fine," I said. "I'll go get it. I won't be gone long. Why don'tcha see whatever else you can get done around the house? Ya might find yerself in a better mood when you see you've made some progress."
One short hour later, I was back with what I'd promised, knocking on our back door to get my wife's attention, but little did I know that the dinning room table was looking wonderful, the lights were dimmed, the house was spotless, and Mary was dressed in a beautiful black evening dress that she wore for just such occasions. "C'mon in," she said. "I'm starved, what took so long?"
"Don't just stand there," I replied, feeling just about as anxious as she was. "Help me in with 'im, he's heavy."
"Oh boy, he's a big one," she remarked. "Where'd ya find 'im?"
"Does it matter?" I said. "Here, I'll count one, two, three, an' on three... we'll lift 'im up on the table okay?"
"One, two, and three," and on the count of three, the two of us had successfully gotten dinner to the table. "Now that wasn't so hard, was it?" I asked.
"No," answered my wife. "Now then," she continued. "Who gets first bite?"
"You bit the last one first," I replied. "By the time I got to 'im, he was near dry."
"Oh yeah," replied my wife. "Speaking of dry, remember that Chinese dude I brought home last week? By the time I got to 'im, he looked like a prune. You sucked 'im dry, you piggy."
"Oh yeah," I replied. "You suck!"
"Oh I do, do I? Well, lemme tell you somethin' buster. You suck!"
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