Crises of Voluminous Magnitude
“Do you vant me to help you pack?” asked my beloved Austrian wife, Dagmar. “I can help you pack.”
Eyes glued to the game, I thumbed the “mute” button on the remote. “What?” I replied. “Pack? Where am I going?” I truly hoped that if I was going somewhere, it would be somewhere that would let me sit on the couch in my jammies and watch the game.
“You’re goink to leave, I can tell,” she said, her voice quivering just a bit. “I vill help you pack. You’ll need to take extra tummy pills…”
I looked up at her. “I don’t have to go anywhere,” I said. I looked at her, standing there in her little gray nightshirt, the one with the kitty-cats on it. Her eyes were tearing up. “Why do you think I’m going somewhere?”
“Because I’m old!” she wailed. “You’re going to leave me because I’m old!” She turned and ran into the bedroom. The cat, Fruitloop, who had been, until just a few seconds ago, happily napping on the couch right next to the happily napping me, looked up at me with a “wow, dude” look on his face.
“Hey, fuzzy little buddy, what’s the date today?” I asked, scratching him on the head. He didn’t answer. I looked around, wondering if we had a calendar. Yep, right there on the wall by the door. Ahhhh… I see.
Dagmar’s birthday is this Thursday. Ahhhh…
I hoisted my carcass to an upright position and staggered to the bedroom. I tapped on the door. “Honey? You okay in there?” I opened the door. All I could see was a Dagmar-sized bump under the blankets. “Are you okay, Snookums?”
“You’re going to leave me und find a younger vife,” she sniffled. “I’m going to be OLD!” I sat on the bed and politely waited for her to continue. She did. “Everyting’s moving south. I’m getting saggy. I’m old.”
I reassured my beloved bride best I could that aging is a natural process and of course I’m not going to move away and find another wife. We talked for a while about how we’re both more comfortable with ourselves than we were when we were young, and how it’s nice to be taken seriously. There’s a calmness that comes with age that’s reassuring and comfortable. She eventually sat up and quit sniffling. “You’re right,” she said. “There’s a certain grace and power in aging. Ve should embrace it rather than fight it.” She perked up, crisis over. Everything’s back to normal again. “Can you get me a glass of vater?” she asked.
I got up and made my way to the kitchen to get her water. I paused in the bathroom to wash my hands because I’d only washed them 240 times that day and needed to get to 300 by supper time (hey, we all have our demons). As I wiped my hands off on the towel, I met my reflection in the mirror. We stared at each other for a moment, he and I. You know, I’m getting awfully gray in the beard. And those laugh lines are starting to sag a bit. Mister Reflection didn’t look nearly as vibrant as I remembered. Is that a hair growing out of my ear? What the…? Mister Reflection there sorta looks kinda pudgy around the edges. This is Not Good.
You know, my birthday’s coming up pretty quickly, too. I made a strangled little meeping noise.
“Vhat?” hollered Dagmar from the other room. “Vhat did you say?”
Still staring my reflection down, I hollered, “I said, ‘Do you want me to help you pack?'”