GENEAHOLICS HAVE GOOD USES FOR SPOUSES
by H. David Morrow FuzzyGem@worldnet.att.net
(Previously pubished in MISSING LINKS Vol. 7, No. 24, 16 June 2002) http://www.petuniapress.com/
I have finally discovered some of the reasons my geneaholic wife stays married to me. She has good uses for my limited abilities and services beyond those generally considered.
Contemplate this: This past winter, when the temperature was around 30 degrees and the wind was over 20 miles per hour, she received a request from someone to find and photograph some gravestones. The wind chill made the temperature seem like zero, but we bundled up with our warmest winter coats and packed the dog into the car for a 45-mile (one way) trip to a cemetery.
Once there, we had to wander around an area larger than three football fields in order to find the requested stones. Had she been forced to look alone (something I considered only briefly), I'm sure she would have come home with a huge case of frostbite.
I knew I was being used -- given the cold and wind it really could have been called abused. But I went along. I may not be the brightest spouse, but I know when my conjugal privileges are subject to withdrawal.
Here's the second use. Recently her computer started to malfunction. It continued to work, but the hard disk access light was always on. Further, it now took three times longer to boot up and then not reliably. My wife was devastated. She absolutely NEEDED to have the computer -- N O W! Even though I had thoughts that such an electronically-inspired accident might have a silver lining for me, I had to attempt to fix the problem just to maintain the status quo ante (the way things were before her computer broke).
She knows I operate my computer the same way I operate a car: if I turn the key and nothing happens, I yell for help (usually AAA). She knows that what I don't understand about software and hardware would fill all the bookshelves at the Barnes and Noble. She knows that every time I have tried to fix my own computer I have botched the job miserably. Still, she expected me either to fix things by yesterday or we should buy her a new computer.
Secretly, I was ready to go shopping. Instead, again with the full knowledge that I was being used, I spent two days trying to figure out how to make things right. I may not be the brightest spouse, but I know when my conjugal privileges are subject to withdrawal.
Third use for a spouse: someone to talk to/at. It's midnight. I've watched Leno and Letterman and a half hour of Monty Python. From our bed. All this time, she was on the computer; looking up names or reading e-mails. Finally, she appears in the bedroom to get ready for bed. It's all I can do to keep my eyes open.
That doesn't matter. She NEEDS to talk about some relative who died 150 years ago at the end of the Civil War. "Do you think he went from Tennessee to Missouri by train? Maybe he was taken by horse and wagon. I know he was too sick to go alone. Who do you think took him?"
After years, I've developed a look that feigns interest even though my eyes can barely see through the tiny slits made by heavy eyelids. I mumble something. She goes into the bathroom again. I reach for my pillow and start to get into a comfortable sleeping position. Soon, I believe, the lights will be off. No such luck.
She exits the bathroom and heads for her computer. She returns to the bedroom with a sheaf of papers that are copies of e-mails and census sheets. The papers are placed on MY side of the bed. Obviously, I'm supposed to read them -- and understand them, too. There are names mentioned that I never heard of.
"Who's this," I ask.
"My great-grandfather's second cousin," she says.
"Oh," I say.
Then, and only then, does my brain wake up enough to tell me, "You're being used again." I also realize that it doesn't really matter what I say. She simply needs a sounding board. Realizing this, I mumble some more. My mind is waking up. It decides that the four-minute nap it had while she was in the bathroom was more than adequate to signal the rest of my body that it was time to be alert and ready. Any further thoughts of more sleep are dashed.
So now my body is wide awake. Good. Maybe I can hint for some conjugal benefits. But she wants to talk some more. I can see my hints falling all over the carpet. My mind starts wondering how one gets hint stains out of carpet and I suddenly realize things have become quiet.
Was I asked a question that I didn't answer? Nope. She's asleep.