Generally, I consider myself a giving, thoughtful person—no more so than, say, Mother Teresa or that Jesus dude. Okay, maybe a smidge more, but I don't like to boast.
Example: were my wife Patty ever willing to talk about sex (other than to say, "Shut the fuck up about sex"), she’d have to admit my approach to foreplay usually involves more than a simple flirtation like, “Here comes the choo-choo” or “Daddy’s got’ya.”
I’ve even offered to let my exhausted sweetie sleep through the act if only she’d comply. Unlike some selfish men, I don’t need conscious applause to know I’ve accomplished great things. Besides, isn’t it the best kind of compliment to know I find her pleasing even when comatose?
My acts of kindness aren’t limited to the bedroom; I’m a Renaissance kind of guy. If I stop for fast food, I’m absurdly generous with what I can’t eat—often, all the pickles and more than one crescent-shaped piece of ketchup-soaked bun. Children may be starving the world over, but nobody can tell me I don’t look after my own. And, if I’m making boom-boom, I never lift the toilet seat after the act, anticipating a guy might need the room next. It’s called chivalry, folks.
Men, I know what you’re thinking: Why must he set the bar so impossibly high? Women, sorry…I’m married. Here’s a hint, though: let hubby know Valentine’s Day chocolates are half-price on February 15. He'll come through for you, especially if you promise to arrange the chocolates in a down-facing arrow formation on your bare stomach.
What I discovered this week, though, was that when I’m sick, my otherwise boundless altruism suddenly has bounds. As some would describe it, I become a simpering little he-bitch. (Picture Jesus before he mastered that loaves-and-fishes trick.)
My wife has suffered a heart attack, and endured countless indignities associated with aftercare. Half of the world’s medical community knows what she looks like naked, and she’s had more pricks and pokes than that girl in my high school who looked like a horse but enjoyed a degree of popularity because she put out for everyone. Through all of these travails, Patty seldom complained.
I don’t get sick often. When I do, everyone knows. As a courtesy, I offer a running monologue on my every symptom:
“Ugh...just puked in my mouth a little.”
“Diarrhea really makes my anus sting.”
"I’m not hungry…unless someone wants to run out and get me a Quarter Pounder. You can have the pickles.”
My daughter is also sick. Her throat is so sore she can’t eat anything but soup. When one of the kids is in agony, we usually offer up our bedroom to the ailing child, and pamper them with soup and sympathy. Last night, Patty suggested similar treatment for Kelly.
“Because I’m really, really sick.”
“But she’s sick too.”
“Yeah, but I was sick first.” And then, “Besides, I’m sicker.”
“Can’t you move over and share the space? Two thirds for you, one third for her?”
"Umm...No. And thanks for saying I'm fat.”
“Why won't you share?”
“Because she’ll want to watch things on TV that I won’t want to watch.”
"Can't you compromise?"
I flash the yeah-right look.
“What if you make that a condition?”
“No. She’ll ask, anyway.”
“So you could tell her she can stay only if she watches what you want to watch.”
“No. I don’t have the energy for that kind of fight. Can't you see I’m sick?” I add a phlegmy cough, combined with a hint of chewing, for effect. Now Patty looks ill.
Do you see how quickly all of my non-sick-day efforts to be the best sort of man are underappreciated? When I’m better, I’m not even bothering with foreplay, and it will be a long cold day in hell before she eats another discarded pickle.
I’m a great guy, but even Jesus and I can only be pushed so far.