Believe me, you don’t want to ask that…

Saturdays at our house are usually reserved as a kind of ‘catch-up’ day. We generally go out for breakfast, do some shopping and then cool it in the afternoon and relax. This past Saturday started off nice enough. I’d started a fire, got myself a fresh cup of coffee and was headed to my favorite couch to catch up on some reading and a much needed nap.

Unfortunately, tragedy struck before I had a chance to turn the first page or take my first sip.

My lovely wife of many, many years enters the room and asks one of the ‘Harmful to marriage questions’ that men would do anything to avoid. I call these questions this, since they are a kind of a puzzle that cannot ever be solved. You’ve heard one these questions used in courtrooms…it goes something like…”Have you stopped beating your wife’” There is no correct answer.

Well, she stands over me and asks…”What do you think of my hair, is it too long, does it need to be colored and do you think the way I wear it makes me look too old’”

Now, for the benefit of the men out there who haven’t read this column over the years, let me say this. A question such as this requires extreme diplomacy, tact and sensitivity training to answer properly. Having said that, let me add… give it up. You and I don’t have the ability to do this. If you can, run…. try to escape, pretend your car is on fire, pretend you see a stranger lurking in the flower beds, pretend anything…but get out of the house and seek advice from someone who may be able to assist you in your time of need. Do not be foolish enough to assume that you can wing this on your own. You would most likely be able to negotiate a peace accord between the PLO and Israel easier than bobbing and weaving some off the cuff answer to a question such as this.

Once she had gotten the question out of her mouth, I immediately attempted to use one of my diversionary tactics I have suggested in the past. I clutched my chest and made noises as if I was having a heart attack. I had forgotten that this had been used unsuccessfully the last time and was therefore useless this time as well. Further attempts at a migraine headache failed as well. I rushed to the window in the hopes of seeing an intruder, but alas no one was in sight. I broke out in a cold sweat and decided to plead the Fifth Amendment. After all, if a criminal can refuse to speak, why can’t I’

Unfortunately this had a very negative effect upon the entire situation as she took my attempts to refuse to answer as an indication that indeed she did look old and needed to do something to her hair. My attempts to change her mind were futile and not well received for the remainder of the afternoon. The room chilled down to the point where I needed more logs on the fire. My political capital account had just been bankrupted.

I would have been in the doghouse for the remainder of the weekend had it not been for stroke of good luck. I soon gave up trying to read and was in the den with her trying to smile and make complimentary remarks to regain my previous position. She was watching some old movie from the 40’s…she gets up and goes to the kitchen to get some coffee and while she’s gone what do you think happens’The female lead in the movie says to the male lead…”What do you think of my hair’” I immediately sit up straight and wait for his answer, which I have to admit was brilliant. He says…”I like it the way it is, but there are so many interesting possibilities. Why’Were you thinking of changing it’”

Is this divine intervention or what’Here is my answer. I carefully wait a couple of hours and slyly tell her that I’ve been thinking about what she asked me earlier in the day about her hair…then I repeat what I had heard in the old movie. I am expecting a smile and reinstatement.

Not to be fooled, she says….”That’s wonderful, but I heard that line from the kitchen…nice try.”

So much for my valiant attempt…. I cannot help but think a course in school on how to deal with these types of important issues would be of much more value than memorizing the year Columbus discovered America. 1492 is one thing…. today is another story entirely.