Jill and I were driving and then this happened:
“I want to focus on us. On living a life of freedom and independence. We need to make money on our terms. Go into business for ourselves.” This is something Jill says all the time. Whenever we’re together without the kids.
“Well, you know, I’m trying. I’m continuing to churn out more idiotic blog posts,” I replied. Because a lame, defensive response is my norm.
“Maybe you can be a stripper.” Oh this was new.
“Get a job in a club and go after the old ladies with money.”
“Wait . . .”
“Or the young ones. Whoever has money.”
“You . . . just . . .” WHAT?
“And you’ll work nights so you’ll be home all day.”
“I’ll need to sleep,” Wait, why am I even reasoning with this?
“Sure, but it’s not like you’d have to work 8 hours as a stripper. Just make enough in a few hours and come home.”
This is the same woman who watches our children while I go to the job that pays me to stay dressed. I do other things, but of all the things I do, I think the one thing they want me to do the most is keep my clothes on.
I guess I don’t have to point out the obvious, but there’s a myriad of reasons why Jill shouldn’t suggest that I become a stripper. Chief among them: I can’t tell when people are screwing with me (I mention it in this post).
She may have been 100% kidding, but I was 100% wondering if I should stock up on spray tan.
All my life, I’ve never been able to tell when people were having me on. You actually have to tell me that you’re joking. I know that makes me a knob, but I don’t pick up on subtleties even when they’re not subtle.
One time, when I was 6 or 7, we were at my cousin’s house for Thanksgiving. Right there in their living room, in a brand new terrarium, was their equally new pet tarantula. His name was POD—for Prince of Darkness. After dinner, we were eating ice cream, my cousin and I, by the terrarium. He’s three months younger than me, but I assumed he was an expert on tarantula-handling. So I took it as a solid suggestion when he told me, “Yeah he looks like he barely moves. But I bet if you spit some of that cold ice cream spit on him, he’d take off!!!” And then he walked away. Why did he have to walk away?
POD did move, but he didn’t move very fast. And he got slower the more the ice cream spit showered down on him.
Everyone was pissed. I remember feeling bad for myself and worse for my parents. I embarrassed them on the nice night. It’s what I did during childhood.
I take people seriously even though I’m rarely serious. I’m like Henry Hill in Goodfellas, when Tommy DeVito strings him along with the whole “Am I here to amuse you?” interrogation. It goes on for a while, with mounting tension, Henry thinking that Tommy is going to shoot him or something, when Tommy lets him in on the joke. He’s the joke.
Lighten up! It’s just a joke! Learn to laugh!
And then put on that banana hammock and DANCE!
Later, Jill told me that she was just kidding. “YOU?! A STRIPPER?!” followed by a few minutes of unintelligible babble/laughter. Then, “Oh boy! Whew. I needed that laugh. Thanks” Then she put her cigarette out on my arm. “Man, you better not post about this.”