I had just settled in with a good book: comfy over-stuffed wingback chair, with a soft-bulb reading lamp, a single serving of good scotch in a snifter, no music, my lime green, wide lapel brocade dressing gown, pince-nez reading glasses, slippers, red fez with a dangly black tassel, and my pipe- okay, I don’t really smoke a pipe, but it came with the red fez and dangly black tassel. It’s a look- okay?
Actually, it’s all looks pretty ridiculous, but it gives me an excuse to fall asleep in my La-Z-Boy ® in front of the TV without her getting suspicious.
“Shower, shave, change your clothes- no shorts- and brush your teeth!” She snapped, startling me out of my stupor. “You’re taking me to a night at the opera.”
Far out! I love the Marx Brothers! Personally, I would have chosen “Horse Feathers” or “A Day at the Races” (“Getta your tutsy-frutsy icecream!”) but I wasn’t about to tell her that. In the big book of the DHMF, (Doghouse Manifesto) Chapter 836, titled: HELL VS. PURGATORY- KNOWING THE DIFFERENCE: buried in the General Heading subsections, of Rule 1036.i: MCMLXXV- “Admission is free, you pay to get out.” There is a rule that states, “Never tell her what you prefer, if you actually want to get what you prefer.”
I know, that sounds contrary and paradoxical, and it is, which is why there are exceptions, but they only apply if you are single, unattached and dating- but not exclusive- and not engaged, and certainly not married.
Right about now, some of the younger single men out there are scratching their heads in confusion.
Ha, ha… I pity you.
The women in the audience, predictably, lost interest and started chatting among themselves about ten sentences ago and have no idea what I’m talking about; so much the better! The point is, I was going to a Marx Brothers movie! It was going to be a good night! Woo-hoo!
She directed me to park in the lot of our local neighborhood theater. Not the multiplex showing the current summer blockbusters, but the snooty little cinema across the street with the billboard advertising the latest Art Film and Indie Releases. I was only momentarily suspicious.
I got my popcorn- no butter, (Cholesterol, you know) but then you can’t have everything AND the Marx Brothers- Jujubes™, Raisinettes™, Junior Mints™ and a large Coke™, we found our seats and settled in.
The house lights dimmed, the titles began to roll and then I heard the orchestra. I was already chuckling to myself, in anticipation, and then the opening overture to Bizet’s “Carmen” began to play.
What the hell?!
No Groucho? No Harpo? No Chico, Gummo or Zeppo? (#@*& Rats ^%$!*Dammit?!) I had been tricked! This was the real thing! A REAL night at the opera! (#@*& Rats ^%$!*Dammit?!) I should have known.
No woman in the world really likes the Marx Brothers; or Martin and Lewis, Abbott and Costello, the Three Stooges, (Before Joe DeRita, but after Shemp) or Laurel & Hardy. Oh, they pretend to in the early going, just like they pretend to like football, baseball and monster truck rallies, but all that comes to a screeching halt just about the time you set up house!
For more on that, refer to the aforementioned Chapter 836: HELL VS. PURGATORY- KNOWING THE DIFFERENCE: further down in the sub-headings of, “Admission is free, you pay to get out.” under, “Payment varieties: sweat, tears, blood-types and currency exchanges.” you will find a massive, if not complex, conversion chart that will explain everything, but knowing still won’t save you.
You know, it should have been an enjoyable evening. I mean, what’s not to like? A beautiful, yet impoverished French cigarette girl, slash, prostitute with questionable morals, falls for a Captain of the Guard. There’s sex, intrigue, soldiers, sex, music, booze, sex and fights- great, right? And, it would have been great, except for all the screeching and the music!
Look, if I want screeching cigarette girls with questionable morals- okay, French prostitutes are out- music, booze and fights, there are plenty of nightclubs, bars and taverns around town I could frequent, however the soundtrack would be a bit more urbane- Lynyrd Skynyrd comes to mind.
I fell asleep in my chair half way through. It was difficult, but I did it. It wouldn’t have been so bad, I guess, except that my face fell into my unbuttered popcorn box and I began to snore. Surprisingly, a half empty bucket of popcorn has pretty good acoustics: think bullhorn on a foggy moonless night over the moors, and you’ll come close.
The bruise to my ribcage ought to heal in a couple of days.
Later that night, as we were dressing for bed- well, she was dressing; I, ever the unflinching optimist, was UN-dressing- I asked her if I should sleep with Eightball in the doghouse?
“No.” She said. “The paint in the east wing Library isn’t dry yet.”
I crawled into bed.
“Honey?” I asked hopefully. “You wanna play the ‘Naughty French Cigarette Girl with questionable morals, and the Captain of the Guard?’”
“Don’t touch me.” She grumbled.