When I was younger I used to think things like, “I can’t be with someone who likes Britney Spears. Hell, I can’t even be friends with someone who likes Britney Spears.” My wife likes Britney Spears. Twenty-three year old Jeff would look at me and say something like, “Dude. Really? Did it get that bad? You couldn’t find any girls that like Wilco?” I (thirty-three year old Jeff) would just smile, shake my head and say something like, “Dude. She invented a new kind of sex,” and watch as I blow my twenty-three year old mind.
Just last night I caught myself thinking like the old Jeff (the young Jeff) when I glanced over at the book Dee was reading and read the following sentence:
“I can’t stop thinking about what Hilly said to me today at bridge club.”I thought, “What person in their right mind decides to keep reading after that sentence? The only logical thing to do is start a fire in the trash can and purge that book from the face of the Earth.” I then realized that the person I married keeps reading a book where plot lines revolve around gossip and bridge club. Before I could make a smartass comment, I thought about some of the sentences found in my books, like this one:
“And so Charlie Asher, in the service of life and light and all sentient beings, and in the hope rescuing the soul of the love of his life, led an army of fourteen-inch-tall bundles of animal bits, armed with everything from knitting needles to a spork, into the storm sewers of San Francisco.”And so Jeff Ford, in the service of life and love and understanding, called off the fourteen-inch-tall demons that sit on his shoulders and construct all sorts of smartass things for him to say, kissed his wife and went to sleep.
I realized at some point in my life that those things aren’t that big of a deal to me. Don’t get me wrong, I still have strong opinions on music and books, it’s just that they aren’t deal breakers for me anymore. Plus, who is a big enough douchebag to actually believe that they can’t be friends with someone who likes crappy music like Britney Spears or Nickelback? I realized that I could deal with some crappy music because Dee makes me laugh and lets me fart. That trumps Britney Spears (but not Nickelback — we’re united in our hatred of Nickelback). I may have lost my youth, but I gained perspective.
I know that my under twenty-five readers1 are shaking your head and thinking, “Bro, you didn’t gain perspective, you just lowered your standards.” To you I say, “One: Don’t call me bro. Two: I’m going to punch you on the face the next time I see you. That’s my wife you’re talking about. And three: Have you seen my wife? Have you listened to her be hilarious and awesome? Obviously not.” That’s the difference between you and me. I now know that change is a good thing and I’m not afraid of it. It doesn’t make me weaker. It makes me stronger — which is why that punch on the face2 is going to really hurt.
You’re still wondering if Dee actually did invent a new kind of sex, aren’t you?
1. Look at me acting like I have readers under twenty-five.
2. Yeah, I wrote “punch on the face,” it seems more accurate to me.