Today, List Monday becomes List Sunday And Monday as Mr. Right-Click continues his annual tradition of guest-posting on Valentine’s Day. And yes, this year, he has almost 5000 words, with footnotes. Enjoy!
Sometimes when Mini is finally down (we can tell because when we check the portable night vision video monitor his eyes are no longer glowing like portals to hell) Anna and I will lie in bed with our heads a few inches apart. We will gaze into each other’s eyes, appreciating the calm and quiet. I will think: “Wow! I am so lucky. I love this woman.” A few more moments pass and we kiss each other goodnight. “I love you, honey.” “I love you, too. Goodnight.” Then every once in a while Anna will add: “Honey, I think you have my pillow.”
When I was single I had three pillows. One for my head, one for my arm and one for my legs and or a guest. Now I have no idea how many pillows we have, but they are numerous and assorted. Long ones, short ones, firm ones, soft ones. And they are all on our bed. Somehow Anna not only has “her” pillows but she maintains the inexplicable ability to discern which ones they are while prone and half asleep in a dark room. It’s like living with a pillow shaman, or pillow whisperer, and it’s cool and I love this about her.
I mention this to help explain the meaning of this list. Marriage is not all orgasms and hand holding. I love the fact Anna needs a variety of pillow types and has blessed our bed with their ilk. I appreciate the fact she can almost magically determine I am resting my tired melon on one of her pillows even though every known and recognized human sense is muted and we are surrounded by literally dozens of other feathered choices.
But when she extends her index finder and gently touches my nose—the “boop” sound being implied—to start the whole is-it-or-isn’t-it-her-pillow game, I become a bit, just a bit, bothered. Not much, because, as said, I know it’s her pillow before we even check and by all rights and laws of nature I know she is entitled to its possession. And I am amused. But I’m tired too. And it’s not like I chose to rest on her pillow. It is a bit bothersome to have to lift up, check the label and determine that yes, in fact, I was falling asleep incorrectly and in blatant violation of stated, known and acknowledged rules. ((Over the years Anna has an unblemished record of I-think-you-are-sleeping-on-my-pillow accusations, a perfect 87-0.))
Unlike the whole pillow in the dead of night fetish, this list does not include anything but things I absolutely and unconditionally love and appreciate about my wife. This list is not a mixed bag. Everything is pure and untainted. I don’t have to raise my head and pick a new head rest while half asleep with any of these choices. These are things, in no particular order, I adore about Anna.
- The Los Angeles Lakers
Anna and I were both gunners. We each played varsity basketball in high school and both loved launching the rock from distance. She knows the game. We watched about 90 Lakers games on TV last year together while lying in bed, eating popcorn and nervously drinking sodas. There is no other context in our life where Anna will both high five me and fist-bump me— mutual explosion sounds included—and really mean it. A guy can tell when someone really means a high-five-fist-bump-make-an-exploding-sound-in-unison-with-you and Anna really means it from the depths of her soul when the Lakers are on a roll. She ached with me when the hated (hated!) Celtics beat our boys two years ago. She was literally jumping up and down on our bed, holding my hands and shouting “We did it! We did it!” after the Lakers beat the Orlando Magic last year for “our” first title together. We go to games at Staples and love it. One time we even had a date night where we went to the ESPN “restaurant”, sat in reclining leather lounge chairs (side by side), ate rare steak salads and watched the Lakers on a TV larger than our SUV. Now, you see, this is love, pure and simple. I married a Lakers fan!
- Rare steak.
This is one thing that really sticks out from our first date. We ordered Kobe beef hamburgers at the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel and she ordered hers rare (along with a pre-order of two chocolate soufflés) and I was impressed. There are two types of people in the world: (fill this in with whatever you want). In this case it’s people who eat their meat rare and people who don’t. Anna is the only person other than my father who eats their meat rarer than I do. And this fact dovetails into her overall sophisticated and adventurous pallet. I’ve seen her eat pate with burnt truffle ice cream (I passed). We’ve silently (except for the moaning) shared and enjoyed the sensational caviar set up at Spago and then ordered another for our main course. I’ve seen her eat sweetbreads (pass). We frequent a sushi place on Skid Row populated by almost nothing but Japanese foreign nationals. They all dip their fish in soy sauce before turning it upside down and sticking the whole thing into their mouths (i.e. fish side down onto the tongue). Anna never uses wasabi or ginger or soy sauce. She just wants the fish and eats it with satisfaction and grace. I love eating and I love eating well and I love eating well with my wife Anna. It’s always a blast.
When I was about 11 years old I came up with something I thought was quite fantastic, utilitarian and poetic: “goddamn-motherfucking-cocksucking-sonofabitch-asshole”. Yup, I wrote that. It has a kind of Run-DMC rap quality if you chant it slowly over and over. Anyway, I enjoy cussing, cursing, foul language, obscenity, whatever you want to call it, and always have. I never thought it was a sign of ignorance or being uneducated. Rather, I thought it iconoclastic and free spirited. To this day it’s illegal to curse on TV or the radio and that alone makes it great. I like sprinkling prose and conversation with an occasional “fuck”, if only to shake things up. In fact, when I meet someone for the first time in a business context I will almost always throw in a gratuitous “fuck” or “shit” just to take their temperature because there are two types of people in the world: those who curse and those who do not. And I would much rather surround myself with people who curse, eat rare steak and root for the Lakers. Ok, back to Anna: I never met anyone who curses more or better than Anna. ((The Dodgers’ former manager Tommy Lasorda is a distant second. But Anna could make him blush.)) She constantly teaches me new vulgararities, never before uttered and, as such, all the more potent. Now that’s a fun way to live in a marriage. Last week she came up with “douche troll ”. Ever heard the expression “limp-dick-cocksucker”? That’s hers too. Nothing made me happier during the presidential primary season than hearing my wife exclaim: “George Bush is a fucking idiot.” “George Bush is an idiot” just does not cut it, you see? And these things are not mutually exclusive. For example, you can combine this list’s numbers 1, 2 and 3 and get this true story: I, Mini, Anna, her mother, her Mother’s husband, her father, her father’s wife and her father’s father were are all eating dinner celebrating Anna’s PhD hooding ceremony earlier that day. The table overlooked the Pacific at Bacara Resort and the food was fine and the meat was rare. And just at that moment when the sun was setting and the food was coming the Lakers were playing the Celtics in the Finals, for the Championship of the WORLD. So Anna is eating this dinner celebrating her ascendancy with one hand holding her fork and the other her cell checking the score on ESPN.com. Suddenly she looks up at me and says: “Damn, the Celtics won again. Man, their fans are such fucking assholes!” Exactly! No matter what you’ve got to know the score, and you’ve got to curse the Celtics even if it’s in the middle of a $200 per plate meal for YOU. Man, I love this chick.
- Reading Books.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those who read books and those who pretend to read books but really don’t. Anna has her doctorate in English Lit so anyone would forgive her if she took a few years off from reading books. But no, it’s just too much a part of who she is. Now it’s not all high brow, mind you. Once, over the course of a month, she read that whole teenage vampire turned into movie franchise book series, one right after the other, all the while complaining about how trashy the whole thing was and how much she loved it all and how secretly ashamed of herself she was, wink, wink. She likes fiction and I like to read history, sports and true crime. She always has a few things she is reading and I just love being married to a smart, intellectually curious and literate person. One time I was reading the second to last Harry Potter book (yup, we both loved this series but have serious questions about the whole Harry=Jesus ending) and I started crying. I cry at Nike commercials and wedding ceremonies on TV so the plot twists of Dumbledore’s demise in that book (along with the mermaid funeral scene) just set me off. So as soon as Anna saw my tears she knew the Great Master Wizard was dead. But she wasn’t upset because like any great reader she knew the enjoyment was more in the telling than the tale. Now she has her Kindle with her special night light and is reading more than ever. There is nothing more comfortable than just sitting in bed with the correct pillows while your wife is reading her new-age 21st Century book machine with her middle finger pressed against her lips, the tell-tale sign she is really enjoying her literature. ((Anna’s reading while pressing her extended middle finger up to her lips is purely subconscious, something she didn’t realize she did until I pointed it out to her. I take this gesture to mean three things: (1) I really like what I am reading; (2) shut the fuck up and don’t bother me; (3) see my middle finger if you don’t remember or understand either (1) or (2). Again, very amusing!)) In these moments I look over and know I married the right person.
- Love of Celebrity.
Anna loves to see celebrities. On our first date we spied Brad Pitt and, before I knew what was happening, I saw Anna’s eyes double in size, literally. I thought she had accidentally stabbed herself with a fork in the thigh. When we were dating I had a hobby of taking photographs of red carpet events and selling them to a sleazy agency in Miami. They got me the credentials and I got them the pictures. So Anna and I went to some such event and to this day the photograph of a crazed looking Mel Gibson that she took is being published and republished every week around the world. She loved that and I love that about her. Also, it comes in handy when we are watching a show and I see someone familiar but don’t quite recognize who it is and she can tell me they were in this or that movie. The day we had that dinner at Bacara we saw John Tesh and should have taken that as an omen the Lakers were going to lose. One time at brunch at the Four Seasons Mark Walberg was there. I didn’t know he was two feet from us when I said something like: “Man, Marky Mark sure is fucking short, huh?” Anna was apparently making eye contact with Mr. Marky as I was assessing his puniness and it was both unfortunate and funny, but mostly funny. I could go on with further examples but you get the idea. Just pure fun.
We try to have date night every Saturday night. The usual is diner and movie and both of us love this routine. It doesn’t get old. We talk over diner and usually both like or both dislike the movie we see. The point is this: Anna and I have always had fun doing whatever we do. We had fun dating before we were married and to this day genuinely enjoy ourselves. Being able to be with someone while being totally and completely yourself, honest and unfiltered, unedited, is so relaxing and enjoyable. I love her company. I love dating my wife.
- Willingness To Discuss Boy Stuff.
Anna may not fully understand why Mini and I get such joy standing naked together pointing and yelling: “Momma, look, my nutsack, my nutsack!!!!” But she does understand boys will be boys and some leeway is required. ((I think this comes from Anna’s brother, a man with an unmatched preternatural preoccupation with Rabelaisian life questions.))Take the other day, for example. Anna was not offended when I posed the following question: “Honey, what do you think is grosser: eating while taking a crap or blowing your nose in the shower?” I really wanted to know and, as you can tell from 1-6, I really respected her opinion. Without skipping a beat Anna confirmed my hypothesis: “Eating while crapping is far worse” she said without hesitation, blinking or breaking stride (she was carrying a large load of pillow cases). She did not ask me why I asked. Of course when I started to push things and inquired if eating chocolate pudding while crapping was worse than eating pizza while crapping she pulled the plug, gave me an “Oh, honey!?” and moved on. There are limits, of course, and I did not mind at all. Problem solved, case closed. Crapping while eating is far, far worse than blowing your nose in the shower. Thanks for humoring me and thanks for contributing, Anna.
- The Funny.
Anna is funny. She makes me laugh all the time. But this you already know from reading her. But there is more to The Funny than just having a good sense of humor. A lot of people are funny but they don’t have The Funny. Anna has it. The other day there was a new episode of Chuggington on the tele and there is Anna, jumping up and down yelling, yelling: “A new Chuggington!! A new Chuggington!!” all to help excite and invigorate Mini, him just having awoke to face the prospect of going to “schoo”. Additionally, there was the visual of her dancing while screaming, looking like the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz bopping down the Yellow Brick Road. The way she bags on the British and the French just gets me rolling. The other night I was watching the Antiques Roadshow, one of my favorites and one Anna does not appreciate unless it is to make fun of the people from Omaha who brought in Aunt Minerva’s painted lampshade or a piece of petrified dog shit or whatever. So there is this 70 year old man on telling about how when he was in the Cub Scouts he met the baseball player Cy Young and from that day forward “Cy and I had a relationship.” And they flashed to a picture of a grizzled Cy Young and a nine year old in a Cub Scout uniform and the homosexual pedophile jokes wrote themselves and did not even need to be articulated. We dvr’d back three times and watched it over and over, laughing each time: “And from that point on Cy and I had a relationship”. After the third rewind we let it run and the guy started telling the rest of the story: he wanted to take a picture with Cy but Cy insisted they retreat to his hotel room for bottles of Coke and bowls of ice cream. You think I’m making this shit up? Nope, it was AR: Atlantic City 2010, check it out! Anyway, that really put us over the top while confirming our suspicions. The coup de grace was the picture of Cy sitting in his chair, in his hotel room, still motivated by his prurient interests but unable to act because he was like 174 years old. We find humor in so many of the same things because they are all SO TRUE. Sometimes I will say something that makes Anna laugh and just keep going for it, and she’ll laugh and laugh over and over, cursing herself for doing so but unable to stop. Hun, remember the one where I was imitating the Governator and talking about injecting squirrels with water to fight the wild fires because of the budget crisis and high humidity? That one worked for months on you! Laughter is good and we do it every day. The Funny is being funny, seeing the funny in others, laughing at yourself and being able to laugh at life in general because there is so much funny from day to day. Anna’s got it and it’s just so nice to be around.
Anna once said to me: “What if I am not a good Mom?” I never had any doubt. Watching Anna mother my son makes me very proud. It vindicates my foreknowledge she would be a great Mom, and she is. Mini is her “buddy”, that’s what she calls him. She is nurturing and patient. She touches him and lifts him and kisses him and holds him. She makes him feel safe and loved and sure. What more can a father ask for his son than a good, caring and loving mother? And that is exactly what Mini has. Now, we don’t live our life/this list in a vacuum. The other day we were all driving in the car and someone cut us off and Anna yelled out something like: “Watch out where you are going, god damn it!” And Mini knows. He went straight for the “god damn it” over and over and over again. The more we laughed the more fun we had. We turned it into: “Mini, are you ready to go the park, god damn it!?” And he would answer: “Ready for the pack, gahdahmit!” And we were all in the car combining numbers 3, 8 and 9 and loving it. Shit, that was some fucking funny mothering. After all, there are two kinds of people in the world: those who think it’s funny as hell to have their two year old curse and those who don’t. We think it’s damn funny but are trying to limit it whenever possible. It’s an uphill battle, really, but fun. “Mini, stop saying ‘shit’, god damn it!”
- Sense of Style.
When I was courting Anna she lived in the Hollywood Hills, literally in the shadow of the Hollywood sign. I could not possibly exaggerate either the number of steps or the steepness of the steps from the street to her house. Oh and once you got to the top there was a semi-feral pack of large dogs in her yard (courtesy of her lesbian, German, vegetarian housemate — another example of when the jokes just write themselves and all we had to do was catch each other’s eye and start laughing) so it was like running a gauntlet just to say hello to her. I will never forget the first time I picked her up and she was wearing this beautiful dress and heels and looked insanely beautiful. She was radiant. She is just very stylish. Before we wed we went into Tiffany’s to see if they had any wedding bands with diamonds for men. The flamboyant yet repressed and conservative salesman said, and I quote verbatim: “Only riverboat gamblers and pimps wear diamond rings.” I took that as a compliment and exoneration of my choice to have diamonds in my band, which I do. The point is, Anna and I have different percepts of taste and hers are almost always right. I defer to her. Look at her site: she designed every inch of that thing. How many people can build the house and pick out the paint and carpet and the furniture, i.e. be the architect and the interior designer? Anna, can, that’s who! She is a great writer and a great web designer. She dresses with class and knows what she likes. To me that is the definition of taste: know what you like. She has definite, informed opinions and great style. Couple that with her beauty and smarts and hello: JACKPOT for me.
I have some pretty strong views about religion. To me the definition of “hate” is to rejoice of the news of the death or destruction of another person or thing. And I hate religion. In fact, I believe all religion is inherently terroristic, all of the accoutrements of religion are terroristic and anyone who practices religion is, whether knowing it or not, a terrorist. I am not an atheist. That term is given and derogatory, something defined by the religious and rejected by me. Rather, I am an antitheist. I would rejoice at the destruction of all religion. I take solace in the fact the last 1000 years’ march of history has been toward reason and science and away from pie in the sky faith, away from the unknown boogie man, away from feeding on the fears of the masses about death and the “life after”. I see many of the current world’s problems as stemming directly from religion. I hate religion. Now, Anna does not hate religion. She is not religious, so that helps. But she hates people who wear their religion on their sleeve, who march through their lives proselytizing and “praying for you.” OK, pray for us but keep it to yourself. It’s offensive to know you think we need praying for. Preachers on TV, born-agains, woman who are forced to cover their bodies head to toe in clothes, Republicans and Democrats alike who hold the Bible in one hand while getting reach arounds in airport stalls or have love children with secret lovers are all despicable hypocrites bred by the inherent nature of the ludicrous lunacy of thousands of years old supestition. These things rile me and Anna and in that furor we are bound. Anna and I believe it’s about what you do not what you say. That’s why we can admire Dr. King, for example. But if all you do is preach and raise money then fuck you Elmer Gantry/Jimmy Swaggart et al and go to hell. At least take that diamond cross (hey now that’s a nice symbol for a religion, a torture/death device designed by the Romans to instill fear and antipathy for all citizens who witnessed the slow, painful death of the crucified) and go build a house with Habitat For Humanity. After all, there are two kinds of people in the world: those who believe in God and those who do not. I am glad to say Anna and I are our kind of people.
Just because you went to Stanford and got a Phd in English Literature does not make you smart. Well, that’s the theory, anyway. But the only person I know who did this is really, really smart, so that theory may just be a jealous rumor. Usually I can figure things out for myself. However, it’s very comforting to be going through life with someone who is intelligent, very intelligent. I am proud to say Anna is the smartest person in our household, just like she is the best looking and the funniest. ((Just about the only thing I can say for myself is that I have the largest penis in our abode, although by the time Mini turns five I could be running second, unless we also get any type of boy dog larger than a toy poodle, in which case it’ll be bronze for me.)) After all, there are only two types of people in the world: those who think Bill Clinton was a great president and those who didn’t. I love being married to a smarty.
- Depressed Alcoholic.
Ok, the fact my wife suffers from clinical depression and is a recovering alcoholic does not make me happy. But the way she so openly and unabashedly discusses and owns these things does. There is no shame nor should there be. I remember once there was this alcoholic guy at work who was just about to die, literally. He would show up at work wearing the same clothes from the day before, only they would be covered in dirt from his having slept in the street. Seriously, it was amazing to witness. Anyway, I asked Anna if I could give him her number to talk about it and she did not hesitate. Today that man is the head of General Motors. No, seriously, she did talk with him and did help him and now he is doing much better, going to AA meetings, sleeping in beds at night, etc. She is very brave and I admire her. The way she faces her problems has taught me to face some of my own. The way she deals with her own shit effectively empowered me. In the words of the seminal potty training book: “Everybody poops”, i.e. we are all flawed, all mortal and all changing beings. Living with Anna makes me realize, yes, we all poop, but we don’t have to smear it all over ourselves, i.e. we can deal. ((I am fairly certain this is the first time this sentiment has ever been put to paper for Valentine’s Day. Love has no bounds, that’s the lesson here.)) Thanks, Anna.
When I was little I used to love to buy models of cars and boats. And it wasn’t just because I thought the glue smelled so great. The first thing I would do is throw away the instructions. The second thing I would do was twist open that fucking glue and smell it. The third thing I would do is start gluing shit together. Often I would take two models, like one of a train and one of a battleship, and glue half of the parts of one with half of the parts of the other. I would come up with some freaky stuff, like those toys living under the bed in Toy Story, member? Ever try to float a train? Anyway, the point is I was never very good at putting shit together as they are intended out of the box. As I matured I realized I could pay people to come over and put my Ikea desk together, or whatever, so I did. I felt that was a big turning point in my life. Then I married MacGyver. Ok, picture this: it’s Christmas Eve and Mini is asleep. Nothing was stirring except me and Anna and an unopened box containing the very blue bike Mini had thrown a shit-fit about the week before. There was no question Anna was going to assemble that thing. I opened the door to her office/elf workshop and there were wheels and sprockets and stuff I had never seen before. 20 minutes later it was done. It’s always been that way with us. She not only likes it, she is good at it. Just today we got Mini a Lightening McQueen carwash. Again, without saying a word, she was on the floor assembling the 27 separate pieces. When time came she was thoughtful enough to get Mini to ask me to fill up the part of the toy that required “ice cold water”. And I did and so I contributed and felt I played a part, however small, in the assembly of that car wash. Yea! Thank you MacSweety!
Well, that’s it. After all, there are only two kinds of people in this world: those who are married to Anna Viele and those who are not. I am so glad I am the one. Happy Valentine’s day. Enjoy the Louis V and this guest post. I am so proud of you. I love you, Anna. Love, Mr. Right-Click.
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