I had just sat down at my computer, preparing to write a column about the mysterious disappearance of my favorite bra, when my Ladyfriend announced: "We need to talk."
I tried not to sigh too loudly as I reluctantly turned off the computer and glanced around the room for an escape route. But she had blocked all the exits and locked the liquor cabinet.
There are two varieties of "the talk": the I-want-to-break-up-with-you talk and the why-are-you-such-an-idiot talk. I could tell by the notepad she was holding—the one she uses to document all the stupid things I do—that this wasn't going to be the breakup talk. No, that would be letting me off too easy. Instead, she was determined to reform me. Again.
She started by producing Exhibit A: a dish sponge that I had left sitting in a damp sink overnight. The sponge looked troubled, as if it had spent all evening weeping over some terrible mistakes it made early in life.
"Do you have an explanation for this?" she said, holding up the wilted sponge, and putting me on notice that this was not going to be a fair fight. Anytime she wants to win an argument she attacks me on the one subject I have absolutely no interest in: household chores. My philosophy about cleaning is that it's something you do, not something you talk about. As soon as a vacuum cleaner enters the conversation, I start looking for the exit.
I can't remember what my response was to her sponge question, but it was sufficiently smart-alecky to cause her to throw the soggy sponge in my face and storm out of the room. As I sat alone in the living room, waiting for her to come to her senses and realize what a wonderful catch I am, I wondered why I'm never allowed to choose a subject for our "talks."
"Because if I let you choose the topic, we'd talk about nothing but Sea Monkeys," said my Ladyfriend, who had walked back into the living room, picked up the sponge, and threw it at me again.
And she was right! Why waste an afternoon discussing my stubborn refusal to hang up my coat when we could be chatting about Sea Monkeys, those loveable scamps that played a pivotal role in my early sexual development. The ads in back of comic books promised you control over a tiny kingdom populated by buxom creatures whose small brains wanted nothing more than to entertain your voyeuristic fantasies. And because my mother refused to allow Sea Monkeys in the house, I never suffered the disappointment that so many of my peers did when they discovered that, in reality, Sea Monkeys aren't sexy at all. Rather, they look like something you'd scrape off the bottom of your shoe.
One of my Ladyfriend's chief complaints against me is that I spend too much time on the Web "talking to those Sea Monkey people" and not enough time talking to her. Yet, when I've tried to engage her in a meaningful discussion about the fact that Sea Monkeys have taken over the sewer system and are planning to turn the tables on humans, denying us oxygen, food, and interesting toys to play with, she tells me to shut up.
As I stared at the sponge, now making an embarrassing wet stain on my lap, I quietly fantasized about joining the Sea Monkeys in their watery kingdom, where there'd be no need for talk.