Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Calvin & Hobbes Divide

One of my flaws is that I will spend the rest of my life figuring it all out. It seems that lots of normal people accept things for what they are, and work within those parameters to get things done.

That's not me. I sit there and gape and marvel that things should be however they are. Because humans are fundamentally broken, there are no end to the things I can stand there, slack-jawed, wide-eyed, drooling, and just...behold. "Why did he do that?" "Why would she say that?" "What did they mean?" "What were they thinking?"

So my wife and I are a good match, I think it's one reason why we ended up marrying each other. That seems to generally be the way it goes. It's been my observation that, broadly speaking, people deserve their spouse. I mean that in the good way, and the bad way. You have a coworker that is unusually kind, you finally meet his wife and quickly see why they're together; she's uncommonly kind, as well. Your other coworker is a bit of a boor, however, and at the holiday party you can't wait to get away from his wife with the annoying laugh and absurd social commentary. This is the way life usually goes.

There are rare exceptions. The exceptions? These people I truly feel bad for. You see a couple, one of them is an absolute buffoon, and the other is quite pleasant, and I just kind of sigh inwardly and think, "I'm sorry, you made a mistake, it happens." And then I sit there and wonder how aware they are of it, the spouse with the bum deal.

My wife and I essentially agree, with minimal variance, on politics, religion, parenting, social code, so, the big stuff. The important stuff. But what makes the marriage actually good is that we agree on the little things: yes, we should definitely eat out tonight; we like the same movies, we like the same books; we don't bore each other to death (too often) with whatever it is that we are on about that day. We like the same styles of humor—and there's the rub:

My wife likes Calvin & Hobbes. No she doesn't. That's wrong to say that she likes it. My wife f***ing loves Calvin & Hobbes. Sometimes I hear her tittering for minutes on end in the bathroom—and most of the time it is because she brought her Calvin & Hobbes with her. And several times over the years she has tried to introduce me to C&H. I don't bite. This confuses and frustrates her, so a few years later she will try again. I read several panels, after which I usually look up at her and slowly shake my head. The thing about C&H is that it is not funny or amusing or interesting. That's my only problem with it.

You see my problem, here? How can two people be in such sync, and be so far apart on an issue? I can't understand it. When we formed this union I brought my dozen funniest movies to the party, she hers, and we made each other watch them. They were all smashing successes. Mine became hers, vice versa, and this is how it should be in matrimony—it's at least half of why you are together; you've got a lot of time to kill.

But she seeks out C&H. She thinks it's funny. She laughs.

I sit, shaking my head. My mind can't understand it.

It's ok that lot's of people think C&H is funny—but if she and I can be so twinned on everything else, then I'm disturbed. One of us got a wire crossed somewhere. One of us received jumbled programming.

And this is just C&H so everyone can chuckle and say I'm being crazy and pat me on the head and then sleep tonight. But what's next? What if she comes to me and says she wants to take another lover, a silent German type with big hands and a menacing frame—and she just, like, expected I would be cool with it?

See? It's a dangerous thing to not be completely in sync.