I don't expect much from my husband in the way of chivalrous deeds. As a contemporary woman, I open my own car door, balance my own checkbook and navigate around the mud puddles of life fairly well. But there's one act of heroism I need from a husband: bug killing.
This bugs--no pun intended--my husband, who appealed in vain for logic the day a spider decided to nap on my keyboard.
"You're a million times larger than that bug," he said.
"What's your point?" I replied.
"It can't hurt you."
"Ugliness can't hurt you," he said. "Use logic here. How likely is this bug to hurt you in any way?"
Somehow, he just didn't get the point and was unwilling to help, and I was desperate to get that spider away from my computer. Blowing really hard didn't work; it clung to the shift key. Picking up the keyboard to shake him off almost worked, but it made him lurch in a menacing manner as though he was going to jump onto my hand.
My final attempt to shoo the spider failed when I used an old envelope to scoot the wispy creature off the key. One of his spindly legs got crushed, and now all seven remaining legs flailed creepily, sending chills over my entire body.
"OK, you win!" I said. "Please just get this hideous thing off my keyboard so I can work."
He smiled as he nonchalantly swiped the keyboard with a tissue.
"Oh, and while you're at it, can you get the fly that buzzed in when the dog opened the screen door?"
"A fly? Surely you can manage a fly," he said condescendingly.
"Look," I said. "I can earn money and balance a checkbook. I can contract a gardener to mow the lawn as easily as you can. Why do you think I need a husband around here?"
The plastic fly swapper bashed into the cabinet with a meteoric force that shook the house.
"Whoa! Speaking about logic: Why does it take a million pounds of force to squash a fly?"
"I just want to be sure I got it," he said.
"Does hitting it harder increase your accuracy?"
He put down the fly swatter and I immersed myself in my work. I tapped until, from the corner of my eye, I noticed him sitting quietly, then making jerking movements. He stared straight ahead, in still repose, then thrust his right hand into the air as he attempted to cath a fly with a pair of chopsticks.
I watched in curiosity. "What are you doing?"
His Zen-like behavior did not cease.
"I...am...catching...the...fly," he said in halting English, as in a really bad episode of "Kung Fu."
"Because...the Master...does not...wish to kill them...herself."
"It's so annoying."
"A man who can catch fly with chopsticks...is...is...I cannot remember. But it is an honorable thing, I think."
"A man who catches flies with chopsticks gets fly guts in his food, is how it goes," I said. "Don't believe all the Asian philosophy you get from TV. Besides Buddhists don't believe in killing anything, including bugs. Bad karma, you know."
This concerned him enough to break from his meditative state. "So you make me kill them? Well, the bad karma is on your hands. You're putting the contract out on them."
Our argument was interrupted by a stream of ants scurrying toward the dog's dish. At this point, we felt as though bad karma had returned to haunt us for every bug we had every squashed, smashed, sprayed, stepped on or chopsticked.
He gave a war cry and courageously swathed their path with bug spray. "There, that's done." He capped the can and walked away.
"Wait!" I cried. "You're not done! You have to clean them up."
"They're dead. Just wipe them up."
"I can't. They're still gross."
He signed. The angst of bug killing can get wearing, I suppose. He pulled out the vacuum and started sucking up dead ants.
"What are you doing? Don't vacuum them."
"Why not? They're dead."
"Their corpses will rattle around in the bag. Dead and buggy."
He looked at me as if I were the most illogical person on Earth. Even if there might have been some truth to that, it wasn't the point. The point was that there were ant corpses in the vacuum bag.
I knew I was making this difficult, but bug killing, I'm convinced is not a flatten-and-flush matter. There are many different means of getting rid of a bug.
"Why don't you just open the door," he said, stomping over to the screen door and--with a dramatic flourish--sliding it wide open,"...and announce that visiting hours are over and you'd like it if they all went home for the night?"
He was pretty pleased with himself for making me look silly until out of the corner of his eye, he saw something writhe across the patio.
"Oh, no! It's lizard!"
"A lizard? Is it poisonous?"
He slammed the screen door shut, then the glass door. He flipped the lock, and then stood behind a chair to get a better look. "No, they're not poisonous."
"Oh. Well, it's not the type that can hurt you."
"But it's a reptile," he said.
"A once-credible source told me that ugliness can't hurt you," I retorted smugly.
"Maybe I'll just keep the lizard in the house so it can eat the bugs and you won't have to be bothered," I offered, pretending to open the door.
"Hey, hey, hey! Don't do that!" he said.
"Let's discuss the logic here," I said. "You're much bigger than that bitty lizard. Why can't you just pick it up and toss it over the fence?"
"Look, I can zap my own microwave dinners, pick up the kids from school and shrink my own laundry just as easily as you can. What do I need you for but to get rid of lizards on the patio?"
Just then our oldest son walked in. "Hey, look, a lizard!" he said joyfully. He opened the door but the lizard slithered away.
"Now I get it," my husband said. "That's what kids are for. I was wondering when they would come in handy."
He went to the kitchen for a snack, muttering about how the hunter-hunted instinct makes a man hungry. Our son looked at him quizzically. I laughed.
"You know, honey," I said as I left to join my hunter in the kitchen. "It's a good thing you're not ugly."
My son thinks he has the most illogical parents on Earth. But that's not the point.