At breakfast the other day Mr. CL ran a spackle scenario by me. He was reading “Chicken Soup for the Soul for Couples.”
Let me stop here. I said, “I can’t tell CN you were reading ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul for Couples,’ they’re going to think I made you up. Like you’re a magical goat or something.”
“They’re going to think I’m a pussy,” he said. Then added, “Are you going to tell them I was making you breakfast? And there was bacon? And I was going to bring it to you?”
Chumps, I married a magical goat. (And boy, was his cheating ex the biggest idiot ever.)
Anyway, in this book was a story told by this woman whose husband was a crappy gift giver. She grew up in a home where her father had always thoughtfully gotten her mother gifts. He always recognized her birthday, Christmas, anniversary, etc. But her husband never did this. She’d hint. She’d be direct. Nothing. Finally, one day the guy says he’s going to the flea market on her birthday and she asks, “Hey, bring me back some jewelry.” (At this, I’m thinking… lady, you’re desperate. Jewelry from the flea market? And you have to remind him to remember your birthday?)
And instead of jewelry, he brings back a shovel attachment for their tractor.
Now instead of calling a divorce lawyer, or digging a grave for him with that shovel attachment, she writes a story for “Chicken Soup for the Soul for Couples.”
One winter, he’s gone (he works on a ship). And there’s a ton of snow. And by God, that shovel attachment comes in handy because she can dig herself out, and her neighbors, and she’s a minor celebrity because of that shovel attachment.
The moral of her story is that she always wanted presents, but the shovel was a gift. See, deep down, her husband knew what she really needed. His love was a practical love. And we can’t expect people to be the sorts of people we want them to be. We have to accept their gifts as they are.
“So, is this spackle?” asked Mr. CL.
HELL YES IT’S SPACKLE.
Hey, Chicken Soup Lady! Shovel attachments and jewelry are not mutually exclusive. There is not a finite amount of generosity in a relationship. Your husband can make a card, write you a poem, cook you some goddamn bacon for breakfast. There is no loving reason why your husband refuses to acknowledge occasions or give you gifts. (I bet you give him gifts.) Some crappy earrings from the flea market cost a hell of a lot less than a tractor attachment. Your husband was deliberately being withholding. It was your birthday. He knew what would make you happy, and he didn’t give a flip.
He also probably bought that tractor attachment for himself. Very few men think that their wives want tractor attachments. Unless she specifically asked for a shovel attachment for the tractor — unless you have some cute inside joke about shovel attachments for tractors — unless she is a farmer with a side gig in snow removal — you can pretty much guaran-fucking-tee that a woman does not equate shovel attachments for the tractor with romance.
In short, her husband is a jerk. And she spackled.
So chumps — can you top the tractor story? What’s your finest bit of spackle? What’s the most glorious excuse you ever devised that really, deep down, a fuckwit cared?
This column ran previously. I got bacon last Saturday. Mr. CL is still a magical goat.