There are a lot of things that you must do when you are in a domestic relationship. And for relationships that are decades old, the division of household duties is pretty well set.
In my household, the wife likes her whites white, her colors bright and her delicates un-shrunken, so she assumes the laundry chores. (FYI, I do fold like a son-of-a-biscuit … except fitted sheets. I tried folding one once and became seriously entangled for about four hours. The wife found me after the first hour, was amused, and then went shopping.)
On the other side of the coin, I take care of mowing and landscaping duties because I like my grass green, my bushes pruned and my mowers maintained. Early in our marriage after purchasing a self-propelled mower, I let the wife try it out. Who knew that a 7.5 horse power Briggs and Stratton could drag an adult woman clear across a yard and through a split-rail fence? (I was amused but rescued her before she went through the adjacent creek.)
Of late, I have been watching the news and have heard a new term that has intrigued me. It’s a term, that after researching and defining, I thought could come in handy in my domestic life. And so, I patiently waited for the perfect moment to spring this term on the wife.
“Honey,” the wife said to me, “I have yoga this morning, and I need some items at the grocery for dinner tonight. Would you be able to pick up this list of items?”
“I’m sorry, dear,” I said solemnly, “but I’m afraid I must recuse myself.”
Dropping her yoga mat and facing me, she said, “Did you just say you must recuse yourself?”
“I did. I must recuse myself on the grounds that I can never find anything in that gargantuan grocery store, and I have to ask employees where everything is, which makes me feel stupid. Therefore, I am recusing myself.”
“Someone has been watching too much nightly news. Do you even know what recuse means?” she asked. “Because in the 44 years we’ve been married, I have never once heard you use that word.”
“Yes, I know what it means. It means I don’t have to do something I don’t want to do, um … just because.”
“Is that how ‘recuse’ is defined in the dictionary?”
“Well,” I said unsure, “I was just kind of paraphrasing.”
“OK, honey,” the wife said, “You can recuse yourself from grocery shopping for the items we need for supper tonight. Now I am going to recuse myself from making you Italian lasagna with garlic toast and seven-layered salad.”
Whoa, I thought. This is not working out like I thought it would. I really, really like Italian lasagna with garlic toast and seven-layered salad.
“OK,” I said to the wife. “I un-recuse myself. I’ll go to the grocery store and get the items on your list.”
“Thank you, honey,” the wife said. “That will be most helpful — unless you’d rather fold that pile of fitted sheets.”
“NOOOOO!” I said running out the door with her grocery list.
Raul Ascunce, of Bowling Green, is a columnist for the Bowling Green News-Sentinel, a sister newspaper of The Lima News within AIM Media Midwest.