I’m constantly kidding about my wife on Twitter. I call her Tazz which is short for tasmanian devil (think of the character in the cartoons). My wife is 5’6” and slender. In reality, she is very mild mannered and loving. Whenever I write a post about her on my website, she reads it before it’s posted. She gets a good chuckle because it’s so not her except for the jogging and pepper spraying the goose. I snatch bits and pieces of our real life blowing the story out of proportion making it humorous. The moral to the story is don’t mess with a timid woman.
I love reading “cop” books! (Hmm… I wonder why? Note: Read my bio.) Here’s one thing that definitely ruins a read for me – misrepresentation of a taser. OK, I’m being picky, but it kills the plot for me. It usually reads something like this: “I was tased. When I woke, I was tied up”. A taser doesn’t knock people out! I know; I’ve been tased. Hurts like hell and incapacitates but doesn’t knock you out. I had a habit of flipping a book over my shoulder whenever I read a passage like this. I had to break the habit when I got a Kindle. The first time I flipped the Kindle over my shoulder I thought my wife was going to kill me. Did I mention she’s 5’ 6”, 119 pounds, of hell and fury?
I'm working on a humorous piece for my webpage. My wife is looking over my shoulder to see what I’m writing. She’s got a question.
Wife: “You’ve been tased?”
Me: “Yea. I told you about it.”
Me: “All the other guys volunteered.”
Wife: “You guys are like sheep. If one jumps off a cliff, then the rest follow without thinking.”
Me: “Not true!”
Wife: “What the firemen say about you guys is true.”
Me: “What are you talking about?”
Wife: “Say there’s a train wreck with a large chemical spill. How do you tell if it’s hazardous?”
Me: “What are you talking about?”
Wife: “The firemen stand upwind and watch how many blue uniforms are on the ground.”
Me: “Not funny!”
I eye my taser across the room deciding I can’t reach it quick enough. I’ll have to make nice and argue the point in a civilized manner.
Me: “I’ve been trained. We don’t do that anymore. I’ve been issued a hazmat kit with a suit and respirator.”
Wife: “Where is it?”
I give her a sheepish grin. I’m not going to win this argument. She’s got me.
Me: “In my closet. I don’t have room to carry it with all the other stuff.”
The wife gives me an angelic smile. She knows she’s won. I hate it when she does that.
Wife: “Want me to look it over when you’re done?”
Me: “Yes, dear.”
She’s leaving my office. (Note to myself: Remember to lock the door. Naw, she’ll just take the door, and I’ll have to repair it. Bad idea. Keep making nice.)
Wife returns. She’s trying to read over my shoulder, again!
Wife: Are you about finished. Want me to edit it?”
Me: “Sure. When I’m done.”
Wife: “If you’d learn to spell, it’d make my job a lot easier.”
Me: “I’m from Kentucky. I’ve got a right to misspell words!”
Wife: “Yea, Kentucky, two hundred years of fighting progress.”
Me: “Not funny. You were born in Kentucky.”
Wife: “I didn’t get a choice in the matter. Wanna hear a cute joke?”
Me: “Not really.”
She ignores me as usual.
Wife: “Know why the toothbrush was invented in Kentucky?”
I groan knowing where she’s heading.
Wife: “If it was invented anywhere else, it’d be called a teethbrush. Get it?”
Me: “Sure, I get it. Now leave me alone. I’ve got a project to finish.”
The wife leaves closing the door loudly.
She’s baaaaccckk! She’s reading over my shoulder again.
I have another pet peeve. I hate it when an author uses the word clip instead of mag or magazine. The proper term is magazine!
Wife: “What’s wrong with using the term clip instead of mag. As long as the reader knows what the writer wants to convey.”
Me: “A magazine holds ammunition. A clip holds your hair or something on your belt. If you’re going to write about something, use the correct terminology.”
Wife puffs cheeks and walks out of room closing the door louder.
Now, where was I in my tall tale?
The wife just returned. She has a magazine in her hands. It’s the paper kind of magazine – not an ammo mag. It’s one of my sport man’s equipment catalogs opened to the ammo section.
Wife: “See, they have mags/clips for sale.”
Me: “I don’t care. It’s listed under magazines. On the bottom of the page it has in small print mags/clips for people who don’t know better.”
Wife: “If you’re such an expert, how come you sent me to an NRA course to learn to shoot a pistol?”
I hate it when she does this! She muddies the water when she’s losing an argument. Now she’s got me confused. I can’t see the connection.
Me: “We agreed it would be better for a certified instructor to teach you than me. I shoot pistols. I don’t teach people to shoot pistols.”
Wife: “I did do well at the range.”
I smiled. I remembered the silhouette target poster of a man she brought home. The silhouette had a hole in the crouch area. The wife had asked the instructor if he thought it would have stopped the man. Without cracking a smile, the instructor said, “I think it’d stop him dead in his tracks.”
Me: “You were great.”
Wife: “Thanks. Why don’t you quit for the evening. We’ll go out for dinner then I’ve got a treat for you.”
It’s a beautiful day outside. My wife is out for her morning jog. All is right in the heavens!
(Nuts! My wife is back from her jog. She’s reading over my shoulder again. In my peripheral vision I can see she wants to talk. I need to hook up a second monitor, but I’m too cheap. Besides, my computer is sooooo old! I don’t think it can accommodate a second monitor. It’s hard enough cranking its handle to get it fired up.)
Wife: “Can you get me another can of pepper spray?”
Wife: “I was attacked on my jog.”
That got my attention! I immediately swiveled my chair around. There wasn’t a scratch on her. God help the poor sod that attacked her! Maybe I needed to go give him first aid.
With concern in my voice, I asked, “What happened?”
Wife: “A goose attacked me.”
I considered making a smart remark, but she still had the pepper spray in her hand. Damn, I have to make nice again.
In my best Joe Friday voice with a southern accent, I asked: “A goose attacked you”
Wife: “I was jogging around the lake in the park. He jumped in front of me.”
Me: “A goosed jumped in front of you in the park?”
Wife: “He was flapping his wings and hissing.”
Me: “A goose jumped in front of you flapping his wings and hissing in the park. Why didn’t you turn around? Avoid him.”
Wife: “Turn my back on him. Never! He was three feet tall.”
Me: “A three foot tall flapping, hissing goose jumped in front of you in the park.”
Wife: “I dumped a half of can of pepper spray down his beak.”
Me: “What did he do?”
Wife: “He ran away going Ah choo, choo, choo. Last time I saw him, he had his head in the lake.”
Me: “Maybe he was hungry trying to catch a fish to eat. With the pepper spray, he’d be eating Hispanic.”
Wife: “That’s Mexican.”
Me: “I was trying to be politically correct. You always say I’m such a knuckle dragger.” (Author’s note: Picture an Ape walking dragging his knuckles on the ground.)
Wife with in an impatient tone of voice, “Are you going to get me a new can of pepper spray or not?”
I had a decision to make. I noted she had her finger on the top of the half full can of pepper spray. I said half full because I’m an optimist. Another smart remark and the goose wouldn’t be the only one pepper sprayed. With a flourish, I took sticky pad writing: Get can of pepper spray for wife. Being satisfied I still loved her, she left slamming the door.
Peace and quiet again! Now I can get back to writing!
My wife’s back! She’s holding a couple sheets of paper. I can see the top sheet is a picture of a goose. How does she get on the internet so fast? I know! It’s that super duper lap top of hers which she not so subtly hinted she wanted for Christmas.
Wife: “It was a Canadian goose. The article says to never turn you back to a goose.”
I was wondering if it would help if I beat my head on the desk. Naw, I’d probably hit something like my keyboard breaking it. Then I’d have to replace it. I decided to have some fun strategically stopping before I got injured.
Me: “A three foot tall Canadian goose flapping, hissing, going “ah choo”, with a half a can of pepper spray in his beak jumped you in the park. Right?”
Wife: “You’re making fun of me aren’t you?”
I hoped she didn’t see the trickle of sweat streaking down my temple. Oh hell! In for a penny, etc.
Me: “Did the goose have any distinguishing marks?”
Wife: “It was a Canadian goose. A goose is a goose.”
Me: “If you could identify it, I could contact I.C.E.”
Wife: “What are you talking about?”
Me: “It’s Canadian. We could have it deported!”
As she slammed the door, I heard her say, “It had a maple leaf tattooed on its bottom!”
I recently posted that Chuck Norris was afraid of her! She’s 119 pounds of kick ass. She loves to jog. She’ll run 4 to 6 miles a day for fun. Obviously, I’m not a jogger. I consider it a form of torture. Occasionally I will run with her under the premise of “protecting her” when traveling on vacation. (Author’s note: It’s usually the other way around. Muggers beware!) When we were in Israel, I decide to jog with her because she likes to run in the evening when it’s dark.
We were in Jerusalem - a city built on hills. I hate running hills! If you run down a hill, the only back is uphill. In my mind this is a no win situation. Tazz likes to wear bright color windbreakers. On this particular evening, she had on a bright odd shade of blue windbreaker. I didn’t think anybody else would have a matching windbreaker in a million years. As we jogged up and down the hills, people would clap for us. I thought it was strange. The next day, there was some political unrest. WELL, the police were out in force. Guess what? They were wearing shirts the same color as her windbreaker. People must have thought we were police jogging to keep in shape and were encouraging us. She could have gotten us KILLED! She was stopped in Paris, France because she was wearing a bright red windbreaker, but that is another story.
Oh no! She’s snuck up on me! She has been reading the monitor over my shoulder. Tazz said, “I like brightly colored windbreakers. It helps drivers see me.”
“Yeah, so you can be their target,” I answered. “They’ve heard about you.”
“You men think women are the weaker sex. Don’t you?” Tas asked.
“Not after I heard you and my niece talking at the Christmas party,” I responded.
Looking at me through squinted eyes, Tazz asked, “You were eavesdropping on our conversation?”
“No,” I lied watching her body language and calculating if I could duck to avoid a collision with one of her extremities. “Everybody was listening to the conversation.”
Tazz said, “We were just talking about contingency plans in case somebody broke into our houses if the men were gone.”
I smiled at her. Pity the poor burglar who broke into either of the houses. I reflected on the conversation. It reminded me to call on my cell phone before I entered the house late at night.
(Below is the conversation I "accidentally" heard)
Niece: “I carry a big can of bear spray when I’m jogging. It snaps onto my belt. The little can of pepper spray is too hard to get to when it’s in my pocket.”
(Author’s note: One must remember my niece is a true blonde. It will explain the next sequence of conversation.)
Tazz: “Have you tested it to know if it works?”
Niece: “Sure did! It’s nasty stuff. I sprayed it, but the wind blew it back into my face. It took hours for me to get over it. Burned like hell! I keep it by my bedside along with my crowbar and stun gun in case somebody breaks in!”
The room turns quiet with everybody turning their attention to the two ladies who are oblivious to everybody listening to their conversation. Tazz: “What’s your plan in case there’s a breaks into your house?”
Niece: “First, I’m going to hit him with the bear spray so he can’t see. Next, I’m going to drive stun him. That should put him on the floor. Then I’ll knock him out with the crowbar. I may call the police or drag him out to the curb. I haven’t decided about that yet.”
Tazz: “Sounds reasonable to me. Perhaps you should lose the crowbar. Take a good defensive course. A few good kicks to the ribs usually works.”
At that point the crowd drifted to the other side of the room. I noticed people were gathering up their things to leave. I’m thinking about the charges the burglar could press. Hmmm…
Smiling at me, Tazz asked, “What are you thinking, Honey?”
I had to be quick. I had to fabricate an answer, “I was wondering why women assume it will be a man breaking into a house?”
“That’s simple,” Tazz answered with a smirk. “Women don’t have to break into a house to get what they want.”
Dang, she had me there. “Want to go jogging”? Tazz asked.
“Ooops,” Tazz said as she pushed the off button on my computer.
“Let me get my shoes,” I answered. I’ll have to continue my tall tale when I get back from jogging. That’s if I survive.
(My world is coming to an end!)
I sit staring at my computer screen having a “pity me day”. Woe is me! The world is collapsing around me. I’ve retired. I’ve gone from being a bantam rooster to being a feather duster. My phone used to ring all the time with people needing answers. Now I just as well not turn my cell phone on. I hear my wife coming up the stairs. My office is on the second level of our home. She has returned from jogging. Making a grand entrance dressed in sweat pants with three layers of shirts, she said, “You need to get out more. You need to go running with me. It would get you out of your funk.”
Being tactful as I always am, I said, “You don’t run. You jog. It might be even considered a fast walk.”
Ouch! I hate it when she swats me on the back of the head. I’d respond, but she has three black belts in various arts of killing… specifically killing men. It was time to make nice and be honest. “I got a few negative reviews on one of my books,” I said. “They complained about typos. It took me a bit to figure out what happened.”
“And…?” she asked placing a hand on my shoulder. Without moving my head, I rolled my eyes to see where her hand was. With one subtle move, she could put me in a world of hurt.
“There were some typos, but apparently there was a formatting problem too,” I answered. “I’ve taken care of the problem and downloaded the corrected version.”
“What have you learned from it?” she asked.
I hate it when she goes into her teacher mode. Did I tell you she’s a professor? She teaches Latin. Her favorite line is: “I read dead people.” Hmmm… I have to think about that. What is she really saying? Most of the ancient texts were written by men. Dead men! That figures! “I broke one of my own rules,” I answered like a child in grade school. “I got in a hurry. I should have read, reread, had multiple people read it and checked my formatting.”
“How are you’re recent reviews?” she asked.
“They’ve been five star reviews,” I answered.
“There are several things you have to learn,” she said releasing the grip on my shoulder. I eyed her calculating my chances of making a break to avoid the upcoming lecture. I can't make it without being tackled.
Tazz had placed a hand under her chin walking back and forth behind my chair. She had shifted gears. She was in her professing mode, “You have to realize that you’re not going to please everybody. I read to enjoy the story. It’s not saying you shouldn’t try to publish the best work possible, but there will always be somebody negative. Don’t tell me everybody liked you in one of your previous occupations.”
“That different,” I interrupted.
“Yes, I agree,” she said cutting me off. “But, some people were thrilled to see you, and some people weren’t. The point I’m trying to make is not everybody is going to like your writing. First, pay attention to what your readers say. If it’s a valid point, take action. You did that. Second, if they just don’t like your style of writing, ignore them and move on. They’re not going to buy another of your novels. Don’t waste your emotional energy on them. As you very well know, you can’t wear your feelings on you shirt sleeve.”
She’s so smart! That’s why I married her. I was feeling better and decided to reciprocate for her being nice to me. “Want to take a short jog?” I asked.
“Sure,” she answered with an angelic smile.
I suddenly had an image in my mind of Tazz looking at my life insurance policy with E.M.S. on speed dial on her phone. What have I done!
Seriously, I had forgotten why I write. I write because I enjoy story telling. I had forgotten to enjoy the ride. By the way, Tazz and I have been married for forty years. We love each other as much if not more than the day we got married.