(photo @ uselesshumor.com)
Back when my wife Karen and I were dating, we got into an argument over something so stupid and meaningless that I can't even remember what started it. I do, however, remember the argument itself quite vividly due to the fact that one of its branch off points evolved into a defining moment in our relationship.
For those of you who are not married or in a long term relationship, a "branch off point" in an argument occurs when one or both of you take the disagreement in a completely different direction in an effort to win. You don't actually "win" anything except pissing each other off more, but in the heat of the moment, it can seem like a solid idea.
Spouse #1: I don't understand why you can't just put the dishes in the dishwasher instead of leaving them in the sink.
Spouse #2: Well...I don't understand why you can't stop telling me to buy stuff at the grocery store that never gets eaten.
Boom. Argument shifted in your favor.
You may have also just escalated the argument into more volatile territory, insulted/greatly upset the person you love, and ensured that this exchange has absolutely no chance of coming to a productive resolution. But hey, at least there's a chance you might have arbitrarily won a debate in your own mind, because that's clearly what's most important.
Not pictured: Healthy communication
In all seriousness, though, it is a bad thing to do...and something that Karen and I are both guilty of. But there was one glorious occasion where one of Karen's branch off points got smacked down hard by the powerful cosmic force known as karma along with her extremely overactive large intestine.
During our disagreement, Karen brought up that she was tired of me talking about poops and farts. While this would seem like a normal wife-to-husband/man child complaint, it hurt me quite a bit on a number of different levels.
For starters, poops and farts are hilarious. I don't care how mature you think you are, an ill-timed flatulence or a good story about someone dropping an inconvenient and/or gigantic deuce is almost always good for a laugh.
But more importantly, making poop and fart jokes had always been something that Karen and I did together. Karen was someone who not only laugh at a fart, but often able to create some pretty impressive world enders of her own. She was even known among her friends and as someone who had no issue at all discussing her bowel movements with unabashed glee.
As strange as all this may sound, it was something that we actually bonded over quite a bit. I had finally found a girl that not only loved to watch sports, but also one who on any given day could manage to out-fart me or wasn't above leaving a floater and cackling with delight at my disgust.
Doesn't take much to get us excited.
But Karen's branch off point had clearly (and firmly) stated that jokes and/or discussions about farts and poop were no longer acceptable. When I tried to bring up the fact that she was often the instigator in these matters, she hesitantly agreed (because claiming the other side is right can be perceived as a sign of weakness) and declared that we both needed to stop.
I went home that night not only feeling depressed, but also wondering if the woman I had fallen in love with was still the same person. The very next day, however, I had my answer.
As Karen got in my car that day, she turned to me very seriously and said "Nickie, I know I said that we shouldn't talk so much about poop, but something happened today and I really need to tell you about it."
"No!" I snapped back immediately. "You made it very clear that we are no longer to talk about such things, so it will not be discussed."
Karen sighed heavily and put her hand on my shoulder.
"Nickie, I know we said that we shouldn't talk about that stuff anymore, but something really amazing happened today and I'm not sure anyone else will appreciate it like you can."
"Well, that's just too bad," I muttered while staring straight ahead. "You made me feel really terrible last night about something that you are just as guilty of as I am. You wanted a moratorium on talking about poop? Well, you've got it."
"But Nickie, PLEEEAAAASSE" Karen pleaded. "I REALLY need to tell you this. I ate raisins today and..."
"NO!" I yelled before she could continue with the story. "We are not talking about this. You said it was stupid and immature and needed to stop, so that's what we're doing. END. OF. DISCUSSION."
The rest of the car ride home was made in complete silence. But after a while, our wordless stalemate was broken when Karen blurted out a seemingly nonsensical phrase:
"They turned back into grapes."
"What?" I asked while still not connecting anything to what she had said before.
"The raisins I ate came out in my poo, but they had rehydrated back into grapes."
For a few moments I was utterly speechless. Finally, however, I found the right words to say:
"I...love you so much. That is incredible!"
As we both cackled over Karen's ability to hydrate food through her stool, I realized once again just how lucky I was to have this woman in life...even if she did occasionally drive me crazy. I'm not sure how close that story is to the time I decided to ask her to marry me, but it was definitely one of the moments that got me there.
Oh, and for those of you wondering:
1. Yes, we still make jokes about pooping and farting like a couple of 10-year-olds.
2. Yes, this story is absolutely true...and was retold with permission from the missus.
...and I'll never look at the Sun Maid logo lady the same way again.
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