It should be pretty clear that I dearly love my wife. Should you require further proof, please see the post below and the accompanying photo of the BOE (Bane Of my Existence).
Yet sometimes we miss the mark. I zig, expecting she'll zag, but she zigs and bonk, suddenly we have sore foreheads. But this will happen from time to time in any long-term relationship.
Our latest zig-zag has been about a new television set. We currently have two of them; both of them work properly. But both are pretty old; we both got them in college, so they're pushing 10 years old.
In the technological world, they might as well be black and white.
So we have been discussing how to go about getting a new TV. And we're both zigging a little, as I would expect both her and her mother-in-law to be in more tune with men.
Within the past few weeks, my dad bought an HDTV that was on sale at Boscov's, one of the regional department stores in Pennsylvania. We visited the weekend before, and he seemed pretty intent on bringing home a new set. A few days later, while talking on the phone, he spent 10 minutes telling me cool the set was.
The same night, when I talked to my mom, she was the first to tell me about the new purchase. I slyly asked if they knew our shipping address. OK, it wasn't really that sly.
Then I mentioned to her that hopefully that might spur us into the purchase of an equally sweet TV. Her reply shocked me.
"Well," she said, taking a motherly tone, "you don't have to keep up with the Joneses, you know."
Uhhh, yes we do.
Back in our less-civilized days, men would go out hunting. Say, for instance, Caveman Timmy brought home a dodo bird. Then, imagine Caveman Timmy's next-door neighbor, Caveman Tommy, brought home a brontosaurus.
Who would get more props from the rest of the neighborhood? Who would mope back to his cave, wallowing in shame?
Men have been involved in similar pissing contests ever since. Governments build ever more massive statues and memorials. The Great Pyramid of Giza was the Egyptians' chance to say, "How you like that, Macedonia?!"
On through time it went. Now, instead of discovering unmapped continents or controlling the biggest army, the modern American man is all about technology.
Along the same lines as my mom's comment was my wife's: "I was thinking we'd spend between $500-$800."
Uhhh, no. I will part with as much of my paltry paycheck as humanly possible for as long as we need to in order to bring home a satisfactorily kick-ass television. (Though, to be fair, my wife has also said we will take some time to go investigate and learn as much as we can before buying. Right now, I can't ask for anything more.)
Surely you've seen the commercial shows several circumstances of men buying more than they really need - including a group of guys setting up a flat-screen TV. The ad, for motor oil, ends with: "Do you really need a motor oil that lasts for 15,000 miles?" A man's man type of guy, pouring said oil into his engine, looks into the camera. He doesn't blink and replies, "Darn right."
So why do I feel the need to own a television that's got all the bells and whistles? I can't pin down a reason, but who's going to argue with thousands of years of dick-measuring contests?
Or maybe the wizardry of modern marketing has gotten to me, too.