Column: Poor Mrs. Batt she married Mr. Batt for better or worse

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 23, 2005

By Al Batt, Tribune columnist

This one will floor you

Poor Mrs. Batt.

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That’s what they call my wife.

She deserves the name. After all, she married me.

She gets the moniker for a number of different reasons.

I’m not an easy man to live with.

No man is easy to live with. We have odd habits. We eat strange things. We enjoy strange things. We make strange sounds. Men are walking sermon topics.

We can’t help it. We’re men.

I am reminded of the Red Green Show that runs on PBS.

At the Possum Lodge meetings, Red Green says the Man’s Prayer. It goes like this, &uot;I’m a man, but I can change, if I have to, I guess.&uot;

Men are barely housebroken. It’s hard to find a man who has not made the great outdoors his bathroom. We eat with our hands whenever possible. We like to put our elbows on the table. Yet, women who are beautiful, wonderful and perfectly sane marry us. Why? Because they think they can change us.

Disappointment becomes their middle names.

I have never claimed to be normal.

To me, &uot;normal&uot; is a setting on a washing machine.

My high school class voted me most likely to embarrass my family. I have an addiction to cinnamon. I am infatuated with obscure books. I love old radio shows. I have a tendency to become more than a little gung ho.

I attack each day with the zeal of a rookie TV evangelist.

Even our infrequent vacations are often ordeals.

They become endurance tests.

I want to get up early and go late.

I want to see everything and do everything.

That is, do everything except rest and relax.

My mother told me that I’d have plenty of time to sit in a rocking chair.

My wife and I were in a large city. We had been seeing the sights. Most of our day included walking at a fast pace.

I lead a forced march on pavement.

As the day matured, we decided to get a room in one of those fancy, tall hotels. It was like one of those hotels you see in those mushy movies called &uot;chick flicks.&uot;

We booked a room on the 27th floor.

Twenty-seven floors! There are barely 27 floors in the entire city of Hartland.

The clerk behind this huge desk told us that the elevator had stopped working. He advised that it should be repaired before too much time had passed. He said we could wait for the fixed elevator or take the stairs.

Take the stairs? Our room is on the 27th floor!

My wife prepared to hunker down in one of those almost-leather chairs and wait for the resurrected elevator while reading the complimentary newspaper that the hotel kindly provided.

I said, “Let’s take the stairs.”

Poor Mrs. Batt.

My wife got that look on her face that I hadn’t seen since the time I’d revealed to her that our retirement plan involved a piggy bank.

Poor Mrs. Batt.

We each had a suitcase and a small bag, plus my wife had a large purse.

I grabbed my suitcase, both small bags and my wife’s purse.

My wife followed behind with her suitcase, while muttering something about marrying me for better or worse and hoping that it got better soon.

We’d already walked a lot, so the steps seemed steeper than normal.

I try to always be cheerful and look at the bright side of things.

My wife is more of a realist.

Poor Mrs. Batt.

There was much weeping and gnashing of teeth.

She had a bit of a grump on.

I decided to try to cheer her up by telling a story on each floor.

It helped, I think.

By the 10th floor, our legs had grown weary and it felt like there was lead in our shoes.

But inspired by my humorous stories, we trudged on.

By the 20th floor, we felt as though we couldn’t take another step. There was talk of a mutiny.

I told the funniest stories I could think of and we battled onward and upward.

We reached the 26th floor.

My wife brightened up. We were only one floor away from our destination. The color had begun to return to her face. It was green, but at least it was a color.

Poor Mrs. Batt.

She wheezed, “You’d better have a really hilarious story for this last floor to make up for all you’ve put me through.”

I told her that I had a great story. I was sure she’d die laughing when she heard it.

“What is it?” she said impatiently.

“I left our room key in the lobby.”

Poor Mrs. Batt.

(Hartland resident Al Batt writes a column for the Tribune each Wednesday and Sunday.)