Pauline Harte

Giving hubby a "distraction" beats dusting

Pauline Harte · April 29, 1997

In a perfect nightmare of perfect marital hell, hubby stands in the fog-enshrouded foyer of his perfect connubial nest and faces the better half of his perfect dreams. His muscular arm swings out, slicing through the murky mist with lightening speed. His tightly balled fist clutches a hard, shiny object that is pointed directly at the above-mentioned better half.

"Honey, look! This is the very first action figure of a collection of thousands that I am planning to line every wall of every room with so that you will never have a chance to get frustrated with the boredom of not having enough mind-numbing, meaningless household chores with which to fill all those empty hours that make up most of your days! And here is the perfect solution to enable us to share the joys of bonding through collecting! I present you, my true love, with this authentically hand-crafted imitation ostrich plume feather duster!"

Now, for all of you who spent last Sunday worshipping the Creator of your choice and didn't get a chance to ready Tim Whyte's editorial, here's a quick recap. The illustrious, multi-talented managing editor of this provocatively unique newspaper confessed to collecting dozens of action figures from the Star Wars trilogy. These, along with his Starting Lineup hockey figures, complete the managing editor's rapidly escalating pubescent collection of dust magnets. The better half of this unfolding nightmare is less than enthusiastic, and I feel compelled to give her some much-needed advice.

First of all, accept the fact that you WILL be the one dusting hubby's brood of dustables. But there are some survival techniques that will get you through Timmy's little phase. This is the Great Collectibles War. Only the shifty survive.

Every time Timmy adds one action figure, you will subtract two. Since you have such a late start using this particular tactical maneuver, you may kill, er, subtract four right now. Find a secret place for this stash, keeping in mind that as his collection grows, yours will, too.

"But he'll notice!" you're whining. Well, of course he will, at first. So, you must occasionally exchange action figures between your stash and his collection so that he never really knows what he's got. Now, here's where your feminine wiles come into play. Always remember: Hubby started this war, not you.

When hubby confronts you with the little mystery of disappearing jocks and the vanishing Vader, you will gaze at him with the wide-eyed innocence of the Blessed Virgin informing Joseph that she's pregnant by immaculate conception. Practice this look. Use lots of mascara. Then, very, very cutely tell hubby that there couldn't possibly be anything missing because it took you the same six hours it usually does to lovingly wipe the soil from his precious collection, and you also have the same amount of blisters. Suck pathetically on an imaginary blister and bat that mascara at him several times while looking up into his accusing face like an adoring puppy. Nuclear weapons are SO passé.

And now for the big guns. You must give hubby a "distraction."

Men don't remember anything after a "distraction." And to keep things fair in this connubial intrigue of disappearing dustables, you must provide two distractions for every action figure you have stashed. Distractions play a BIG part in any war between the collectors and the dusters. My husband doesn't have a single one of his eight dozen glass bottles left on those glass shelves over the bar, and he hasn't said a word. That's a heck of a lot of distractions, but I've been married a lot longer than you.

And before you start feeling guilty, remember this. If Adam had helped Eve dust those stupid apples, she wouldn't have gotten so hungry that she was driven to grabbing that apple to eat, and this sorry world wouldn't be in the mess it's in now.

Yes, you will always have some action figures to dust, but one hour of dusting is definitely better than several hours' worth. And don't forget our battle cry: Distract, distract, distract!

If you get really good at this, you won't even need the mascara.

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