The sun revolves around the earth. That’s what he said in the course of the (dull) lecture, "he" being my seventy-something Environmental Science teacher. It caught my attention, and the marbles began to roll in my brain, and I thought he might be wrong, but it has been thirty years since I was in a science class, and I never really cared much for knowing the details of how the universe works. But he was the teacher, and had been teaching science for God-knows-how-many-years so I kind of looked around at my younger classmates to see how they were processing this information. I saw a few bemused smirks, as though he had had a senior moment, and I saw one or two students squirming in their seats, itching to interrupt his talking to correct his faux pas. It was about that moment that the teacher went on to say, “You know, most people will believe just about anything if you speak with enough authority”. There may not have been many who seemed to fall for his mistaken voice of authority, but there were a few who at least wondered about it long enough for him to make his point. Maybe we did not quite believe, but we were not exactly going to question him, either.
A few years ago, there was a category 5 or 6 hurricane supposedly bearing down on the coast of Southwest Louisiana and we were debating what to do to prepare for this disaster. Now, having lived under threats of hurricanes all my life, and having never experienced one in my hometown (had to move to Houston for that experience), I tend to take on a relaxed nature when it comes to hurricane warnings. Those things can turn on a dime. But this one was different. It was not just the Yankees who were packing up and leaving our town, the natives were also getting out. We had decided to stay, but at the last minute, we decided it would be prudent to get everything that could possibly blow off the patio into our storage building (where everything could blow away in one big grouping, instead of individually). The hubby and the kids were in charge of this operation. I don’t know what I was doing, but I am sure it was important. Well, to make a long story short, the hurricane did turn away and also lessened in intensity, and we were spared once again.
But one of the things from our patio that was put away was a glider. You know, a swing suspended from a frame by four short chains which allow you to swing in a short gliding motion (or should that be, “allows you to glide in a short swinging motion”?). Without those four shorts chains, the whole thing is useless. Well, my chains have been missing since the hurricane did not come. I have asked my husband three or four times where my chains are, and three or four times he has told me in a voice of authority, “They are out there in the corner of that Coke box”. Three or four times, I have gone out there and rooted around in that Coke box, braving creepy crawlie things and dead spider bodies, as though this time, he might be right. So far, no chains.
It is a pattern that has been with us for nearly thirty years. I ask him about something. He gives me an answer. I believe it. I come back to him and say something like “You know, I just found out that the chains to the glider are not in the corner of the Coke box” and he will answer with something like “Well, I didn’t know” or “Well, that’s where I thought they were”. My (mostly) unspoken question has been “Why do you say that as though you knew it to be true if you do not know?”
They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results. I am going to quit looking in that Coke box for those chains. The four chains are only a small thing. After all this time I have decided I can haul myself up to the home improvement store and buy four more chains. It is the bigger stuff that matters.
Of course, it may be that this is not really a terrible marital problem. It may simply be that my poor husband suffers from the often misunderstood problem known as Male Answer Syndrome (DSM-IV 666.66). You can read all about it here.