Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Chick-fil-A Story from Jay's Point of View

Women are like elephants. They remember everything. If it seems like they forgot something, it's because they're using selective recall. But it's all in there. And the minute a memory becomes useful, it's instantly retrieved.



Trust me.

When we were first married, Pamela put on a new outfit and asked how it looked from behind. I meant to disparage the outfit, not her. Or her behind. I'm actually very fond of her behind. Unfortunately, my flippant remark came out wrong. Really wrong. My attempt to fix it made things worse.

"Darling," she interrupted me in a low, deadly voice, "let me enlighten you. When a woman asks how she looks, there are two answers. And only two. Number one is 'You look fabulous.' Number two is 'You're beautiful, and that outfit does not do you justice.' Understand?"
"Yes. I totally understand. And I'm really sorry for what I said."

She relaxed, sheathing her claws. Looking back in the mirror, she shrugged, "Wide, horizontal stripes aren't very flattering, but it was on sale, so I thought I'd give it a shot."

I was relieved she'd moved on so quickly and naively put the incident behind me. 

But women remember everything.

I'd been studying for the Fire Department Captain's Test. Pamela was great--quizzing me, making up study sheets, organizing my notes, encouraging me, and doing anything she could to make the process easier. But I still spent too much time worrying and began to take my angst out on her.

Which was not acceptable.

Like she told me on our honeymoon when I grumbled about a headache, "Jay, I've been in pain for years but don't take it out on you. If I'm gracious while enduring chronic pain, then you are certainly capable of being congenial with merely a headache."

My first thought was, Who uses 'congenial' in normal conversation? but quickly changed it to, "You're right. You're really good about that. Sorry."

So I knew she would eventually stop tolerating my moodiness over this test, and it happened on the night a Fire Captain offered to give me some study tips.

I picked Pamela up after my shift and headed to his station. I hadn't eaten, but I refused to stop for dinner because I was stressed and grumpy and wanted to stay that way. That was my first mistake. I could tell she didn't appreciate my behavior because she sounds like a Thesaurus when she's restraining her temper. A soft remark of "Jay, you're being decidedly churlish," is a screaming warning to back off.

And find a Dictionary to look up the word "churlish."

When we arrived at the Fire Station, someone was already in the Captain's office. Pamela suggested that I ask how much longer his meeting would take. I snubbed her. That was my second mistake.

So, she promptly knocked on the door, poked her head around it, and said, charmingly. "Hey, y'all! I'm Jay's wife. Just letting you know we're here. And I'm wondering if you're going to finish soon or if we have time to run to Chick-fil-A."

The Captain answered, "Oh, go get food. Take your time."

"Thanks! Can we bring anything back for you? No? Well, then, we'll be back in a jiffy," she gushed. She raised one eyebrow at me as she sashayed outside.

The success of her audacity irritated me, so I pouted (in a manly way) on the drive to the restaurant. 
My third mistake. 

She quoted, mildly, "'You reap what you sow.'" 

Fine, I thought, I don't care if you're in a bad mood, too, foolishly forgetting that my wife, on principle, will not allow anyone determine her mood. She often says, "I refuse to have a bad day just because someone is pandering to their worst emotion." 

She wasn't interested in absorbing my misery. 

Oh, she had something much better in mind.

Chick-fil-A was packed. When we finally got to the front of the line, I irritably gave my order. The harried youth behind the counter didn't even look up as he asked Pamela, in monotone, "And what can I get for you this evening." 

Instead of admitting she'd already had dinner, my dear wife answered, in a clear voice, "Oh, I can't get anything." She nodded towards me as she sweetly added, apologetically, "He thinks I look fat."

The crowded room instantly silenced. Instantly. The kid's head jerked up in horror. The restaurant workers stared at me in open-mouthed shock. The other customers gasped or sneered.

Panicked, I babbled, loudly, "No, I don't think that! She can get anything she wants! Pamela, you can eat anything you want!"

To deliberately make things worse, she turned to me, with wide eyes, and cooed, "Oh! I can? I really can get anything I want? Oh, thank you, honey! Thank you!" which made the Marine in the line next to us clench his fist and tighten his jaw.

I was red, sweating, and had no idea how to alter the situation. "Of course you can get anything you want! You can eat anything!" I protested.

Clearly enjoying herself, Pamela gave me a look of profound gratitude as she said, "I'm just going to get a small cone." Her voice trembled, hesitantly, "Is that okay?"

I knew she was shamming, but with everyone glaring at me, my only option was to desperately repeat, "Yes, it's okay! Of course, it's okay! Get anything you want!

"I'll just have a small cone," she told the teen behind the counter who couldn't stop staring at me with undisguised disgust. "And, honey," she turned back, anxiously, "I'm only going to eat the ice cream part. Not the cone part."

"Eat any part you want!"

"Thank you. You're very good to me," she beamed.

The kid clenched my chicken sandwich in his fist as he jammed it on top of the fries and nearly threw the bag at me. Pamela happily took her cone and thanked the young man. I ducked my head and fled the hostile crowd while she meandered to the door. 

But once we were in the dark parking lot, she urgently whispered, "We better run or you might get jumped." I peeled out of the lot before the vehicle doors were even shut.

"Why would you do that to me?" I yelped.

She smiled, unrepentantly.

"When did I ever say you were fat?"

"You implied I looked fat when you made the comment about that striped outfit," she answered, primly, licking her ice cream. "It wasn't very nice of you."

"That was months ago! I didn't mean it that way. And I said I was sorry!" 

"You reap what you sow," she shrugged. "It's Biblical. You can't argue with the Bible."

"And what about lying? What does the Bible say about lying?"

"I did not lie," she answered, indignantly. "You did make an unfortunate remark about my figure in that outfit. And I agreed that you would let me eat anything. And I am only going to eat the ice cream; I hate this kind of cone. Name one thing I said that wasn't true."

I couldn't, so I asked, again, "Why would you do something like that to me?"

She patted my knee, affectionately, "I just did what I had to do. To help you, honey."

"What you had to do? To help me?"

"Yes, darling. You're too uptight about this Captain's test, and you've been taking it out on me. Talking to you about it didn't help, so I got creative."

"You got creative?"

She added, cheerfully, "And it worked!"

"It worked?" 

She nodded with satisfaction as we pulled into the Fire Station. "Yes. I'm quite sure you didn't think about the test once. And I'm equally sure that you will stop indulging your grumpy moods. See? Worked!"

I was speechless.

"And I, for one," she remarked as she exited the truck while handing me her empty cone, "am in a much better mood. I feel positively congenial."

Verse of the day: (Galatians 6:7b) "Do not be deceived: God is not mocked. A man reaps what he sows."

To read the terrible thing Pamela did to our pastor, read Mare's Milk, Anyone? To read how she pranked one of my firefighters, read Firefighter Funny 


  1. In my (dubious) defense, I didn't realize how loudly I said it until the entire room silenced and all heads whipped around to glare at Jay. By then, I was committed, so I HAD to see it through. I clearly had no choice! Although, I was definitely worried for a bit that he'd be confronted in the parking lot--one HUGE guy was sneering at him with such open disgust, obviously debating whether or not to follow Jay outside. But once we were safely in the vehicle, I had no regrets. It was way more fun than snapping back at Jay, acting hurt, or pouting. I don't fight--I get "creative"!

  2. Pamela, you are a genius. I am in awe.

  3. Jay thinks you shouldn't encourage me. Ha!