I’ve been thinking of ways to drive my husband crazy. Not the I’ve decided it’s time we had a threesome, so I’m bringing home a cheerleader from school-crazy, but the I need some new creative ways to bother my husband-crazy.

Equilibrium is important in a marriage. If a husband drives a wife more nuts than she does him, or vice-versa, imbalance of the marriage chakras occurs. Imbalance leads to tension, tension to arguments, and before you know it the police are at your door, summoned by angry neighbors.

Lately my husband has been a tiny bit annoying. Oh, he was mostly great during my birthday last week, lavishing me with a fabulous pair of new boots. I picked out the boots, of course; I don’t trust men with the really important decisions in my life. When a huge box arrived from Zappos (if you don’t know about Zappos and their great selection and wonderful return policy, you must go to right now), I thanked Marty profusely.

“What for?” he asked.

“This very thoughtful gift.”

“What gift?”

“These one hundred and forty nine dollar boots.”

“One hundred and forty nine dollar boots? That’s outrageous. I’ve never heard of such a thing,” he spewed.

“I know. What a great price! They were originally over two hundred bucks.”

Marty settled down eventually, and we went out for a nice steak dinner.  But during dinner, Marty craftily shifted the conversation to his upcoming birthday at the end of February and how he was thinking of having a Scrabble tournament in his name and maybe sharing the glory with fellow Scrabbler Sam Smith, whose birthday falls around the same time.

“I could call it the S and M tournament,” he said. “For Sam and Marty.”

“That’s real classy. And where would you hold this S and M Scrabble tournament?”

“At our house. I thought maybe you could make some chili and get some cold cuts and stuff.  I would limit the number of entrants to no more than thirty-six.”

He kept talking about the logistics of the tournament—prize money, advertising, etc. when I had a brilliant idea: I would start to pepper my conversation with unacceptable Scrabble words—words that should be allowed, and that very soon (when the Scrabble dictionary committee comes up with its new list in 2014) will be allowed, but that now are verboten. (By the way, verboten is an acceptable Scrabble word.) Marty is very sensitive to intruder words; he’s afraid they will make their way into his brain like worms from some science fiction movie and nestle there, perhaps mating with the acceptable words.

I was about to say something like “A lot of women like to get bling for their birthdays, but I don’t need bling. I’m not a bling kind of woman” when Marty paused and looked me tenderly and said, “Let’s talk about you. It’s your birthday.”

“Good timing,” I mumbled, but Marty didn’t know what I was talking about.

Another annoying incident occurred on Saturday at Scrabble Club. We have a tradition of celebrating monthly birthdays; we have cake and a prize for the highest scoring word played that day that includes the initials of the birthday person. For example, someone might submit DeMented for Daiva Markelis. Sometimes we have prizes for the word that best describes the personality of the birthday girl or guy; the birthday person is the judge. I was not happy with last year’s selection; people entered words such as slut, grump, grumpy, and, inexplicably— dogears.  Luckily, my friend Mary Maddox submitted ritzy, which won hands down.

It is Marty’s job as Mr. Director to read the words out loud slowly.

He came to the word cagey and looked at me for a long time and then uttered, “Daiva is a cagey Lithuanian.”

Cagey is not going to win,” I announced.

“How about enabler? Daiva is an enabler to her students.”


I was getting exasperated with his examples and thought I’d start making up words and repeating them over and over. Words like wordworm.

Wordworm is an acceptable word, isn’t it?” I was about to ask. “It’s kind of like wormwood, right? Wordworm, wormwood—what’s the difference?”

But then Marty looked at me and uttered the word young.

“My Daiva is always young,” he said and smiled and put his arm around me.

All thoughts of wordworm left my being.





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