DogHouse Manifesto

The Exercise Bike

I had figured on spending the day in the Doghouse performing some perfunctory maintenance on whatever I could find that needed fixing, but after I got my morning coffee cup filled, I settled onto the couch to watch the morning news. I guessed it wouldn’t hurt me to see what was going on in the world.

I switched the TV on just in time to see the opening credits of a Bette Davis movie- one of the old ones. Ms. Davis got to be a pretty scary looking old broad in her later years, but this was one of her early films… she looked pretty good. I decided I didn’t need to bear witness to the inexorable decline of Western Civilization after all.

            “Whatcha doing, Sweetie?” She asked as she wandered into the living room.

            “Bette Davis…” I pointed toward the screen.

She plopped down on the couch beside me. We both watched in silence for a few moments. It was kind of nice.

            “Well,” she said as she patted my knee, “we have this on disc. We can watch it later. Right now, we have work to do.”

According to Rule 4570.633 of Chapter 1009 titled: MARITAL TEAMWORK- THE PRONOUNS ‘I’ & ‘WE’ MEAN YOU (!)- states, “When she says, ‘We have something to do…’ she means you are going to be doing the ‘doing’ and she will be supervising the doing, directing and/or complaining about what you are doing, and why you are doing it all wrong.”

            “But… but… but…”

She was already up and headed for the garage.

            “No ‘buts’. Grab your coffee. Follow me.”

Aw, man!

I refilled my cup- Commercial Class American Coffee: Yuban- and followed her to the Doghouse.

We stood in the kitchen doorway and surveyed my exquisitely equipped and neatly organized workshop; all except for one corner, where the exercise bike stood buried underneath a pile of boxes.

            “I need you to find another place for all that junk, and then I want you to pull the exercise bike out and prep it for regular use: you know, do all that ‘Man Magic,’ like change the oil and refit the head-gaskets, and change the points and plugs, or whatever voodoo it is that you do so well…” her voice trailed off.

ALL COMPLIMENT EXIST ONLY TO CONFUSE YOU“If she compliments you on something, it’s because she wants something. The something she wants will be something you don’t want and the extent of what she wants, that you don’t want, will determine the size and nature of the compliment.”

That is a direct quote from Chapter 2900-h: Rule 36ii-4a.

I took a step away from her and looked her up and down. For her age, she’s still a fine figure of a woman; (I know, that’s not a right thing to say out loud, but she doesn’t read this stuff anyway, so if you don’t blab it all over the place, she’ll never know!) and, okay, so she could stand to drop a pound or two, but if peddling mindlessly away on an exercise bike blows sunshine up her dress, then who am I to complain?

            “Okay…” I said.

She turned on her heels and headed for the kitchen door.

            “I have to run a few errands. I’ll be back in a couple of hours.”

I grabbed up the stereo remote, cranked some old-school tunes, and went to work.

As exercise bikes go, this one is pretty nice. The newer ones come complete with built in flat-screen TV’s, wireless Internet connections; wireless access to your computer and headphone jacks and dock for your iPod – about all they don’t have is a Steward with a towel to wipe your brow, and refill your cocktail glass. Ours isn’t quite that fancy. It has an LED screen with a control panel. It tells you what your heart-rate is, how many miles you have peddled, calories you have burned, and how much time you have left before you die:

Oh, yeah, and it scrolls endless annoying and mindless encouraging messages like,

            “You’re doing great!” and “Isn’t this fun?” and “Good job!”

The earlier quote from Chapter 2900-h: Rule 36ii-4a will suffice here: In the case of the Exercise Bike, which is definitely hers, simply replace ‘She’ with ‘It’ and the same rule applies…

ALL COMPLIMENT EXIST ONLY TO CONFUSE YOU–  “If she (it) compliments you on something, it’s because she (it) wants something. The something she (it) wants will be something you don’t want and the extent of what she (it) wants, that you don’t want, will determine the size and nature of the compliment. (‘him’, ‘they’ and ‘them’ are also suitable pronoun substitutes.)

I took off the cowling and checked, oiled and tightened the chain. I checked and lubricated the pedal arms. I switched on the electricity and ran a self-diagnostic of the pre-set programs and the endless annoying and encouraging messages. Before I knew it, two hours had gone by. I heard her pull in the drive. I quickly put all my tools away, and was mopping my brow with a shop rag when she came in.

I smiled and waved my hand like a magic wand.

            “There you go, Babe…” I exclaimed. “All set to go!”

She eyed the corner. She looked right, and then left. She looked up, and then down. I had put an indoor/outdoor mat under the stanchions. I had mounted a three-fixture light on the ceiling, and even hung a couple of inspirational posters on the two corner walls for motivational support. All in all, it was pretty homey.

She gave me a warm kiss on the cheek.

            “Very nice.” She told me. “Now- get on it…”

            “Huh?”

Rule 87-99.4-ig of Chapter 8437, titled, THE DEFINITIONS OF MARRIAGE- WHEN YOUR ‘BIG BOY’ PANTS LOOK BETTER ON HER– says, and I quote; “It is never what you thought, or what you wanted that counts in your marriage. It is what she tells you to think and to want. Never confuse desire with reality. (For a more in depth discussion on this, consult the chapters under the general heading of SEX- YOU WERE SERIOUS?)

I got a very bad feeling in the pit of my stomach.

            “But… but… but…”

            “You’re getting pudgy,” she informed me, “and broad across your backside. You need some exercise…”

            “But… but… but…”

            “Twenty minutes, three times a week-to start- move it!” She finished.

            “But… but… but…”

To start?! Aw, man!

            “But, I thought… but, you said… but, that’s not…” I stammered. “But, I don’t wanna ride that thing!” I blurted out.

She gave me another kiss, this time on my other cheek. She took my flabby face into both of her soft white hands and turned her piercing eyes into mine.

            “Oh, I know, Honey, but, it won’t be so bad.” She crooned. “Besides, we both know, it’s not about what you thought, or what you want. Change your clothes and get peddling. You can watch your movie while you sweat.”

Somewhere, about halfway through my stroke, aneurysm, or a heart attack- whichever I was hoping would come first- she brought me a cool glass of water. I only got a sip before she snatched away from me.

            “Keep it up!” She ordered as she disappeared back into the kitchen.

I’m going to get to sleep with her in the big bed tonight- there’s no way I’m going to get relegated to a boney cot in the Doghouse with Eightball after this – although, it’s a sure bet it won’t be very much fun! And, it will serve her right if I spend the night moaning and squirming like a dying man, while my legs twist up with cramps like a couple of bad pretzels, as my muscles turn into a set of really bad, out of tune, over-tightened banjo strings!

Meanwhile, Bette Davis is lamenting the lost flower of her youth, and how terrible and depressing it is to get old…

“Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night!”

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