Tuesday, May 25, 2004
PO Box 1902
5482 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Dear Dr. Phil,
I have a problem. My wife, Viola and I have been happily married for 32 years. People always ask us, “What’s the secret to your marriage?” And we always say, “Never go to bed mad at each other.”
That rule has kept us in matrimonial bliss through good times and bad. Through thick and thin. Until last night. We went to bed mad at each other, and we’re still mad.
It all started when I was sitting down to watch Our President make His big speech on His plan for Iraq. I had my TV surrounded with little American flags and I had a big bowl of popcorn in my lap, and I was all ready to hear Our President make history, when my wife said, “I think I’ll go read a magazine. Let me know when it’s over.”
I couldn’t believe what I heard. “But Our President is about to address the world,” I said. And Viola said, “I think I’ll skip it.”
I was about to argue with her, but then there He was, and I forgot everything. I was totally wrapped up in the moment--I was gently waving my flag, and maybe I was rocking back and forth a little bit. Then Our President said, “Iraq is now the central front in the war on terror,” and I thought I heard Viola in the kitchen say, “Yeah, now that you’ve opened up the gates.”
“I can’t hear you,” I called. “Come in here if you want to talk to me.” But Our President was still speaking, so I turned up the sound.
“The swift removal of Saddam Hussein's regime last spring had an unintended effect,” he said. “Some of...Saddam's repressive regime and secret police have reorganized, rearmed, and adopted sophisticated terrorist tactics.”
“Well, duh!” I thought I heard her say. “Why didn’t you ask me? I could’ve told you and saved you a lot of trouble.”
“What, Honey?” I called. “I can’t hear you! I’m listening to Our President!”
Then He said, “Five Iraqi army battalions are in the field now, with another eight battalions to join them by July the 1st. The eventual goal is an Iraqi army of 35,000 soldiers in 27 battalions, fully prepared to defend their country.”
Viola came stomping into the den, looking mad. “Ok, let’s do the math,” she said. Her face was red. “You’ve had a year to get five battalions together, and in a month, you’re going to get another eight! That makes thirteen. But your eventual goal is twenty seven battalions. What’s 27 take away 13, Mr. ‘C’ Student Business Major President?!”
I didn’t know what was coming over her, and then it happened. He slipped! He was going along fine, and then He said, “Under the dictator, prisons like...” And for a second, He looked like a deer caught in the headlights and He breathed and He sputtered and He said, “Ah-boo...(choke, sputter)...Gay--reb...”
“ABU GHRAIB, YOU IDIOT!” my wife exploded. “LISTEN TO THIS GUY! HE’S A COMPLETE IMBECILE! HE CAN’T EVEN TALK!”
I tried to calm her down. “No, no, listen,” I said. “There--he said it again. He said it right this time.”
“NO HE DIDN’T, YOU DELUSIONAL FOOL! HE SAID, ‘AH--BOO GRUB!’ ”
“Listen, listen,” I pleaded with her. “He said ‘Lakhdar Brahimi’ and it rolled off his tongue just as natural as if he had said ‘Crawford, Texas.’ ”
“Carl Estrada,” my wife said, trying to calm down, “I’ve gone along with your flag-waving, and I’ve gone along with your ‘These Colors Don’t Run’ bumper stickers, and I’ve gone along with your hero-worship for three and a half years now, and I have to say, your president is an ARROGANT, IGNORANT, LYING, VICIOUS LITTLE WORM OF A MORON WHO TURNS EVERYTHING HE TOUCHES TO TRASH AND HAS TURNED AMERICA INTO A BANANA REPUBLIC!”
“So what’s your point?” I asked, trying to remain calm, but feeling the back of my neck burning. “I should remind you you’re speaking of Our President!”
“He’s your president, not mine! And MY POINT IS...” But right then, we heard Our President say, “Completing the five steps to Iraqi elected self-government will not be easy. There's likely to be more violence before the transfer of sovereignty, and after the transfer of sovereignty.”
That’s when Viola came unglued. “WILL YOU TELL ME, MR. PRESIDENT,” and she sounded mocking when she said Mr. President, ‘IF THERE’S GOING TO BE MORE VIOLENCE BEFORE SOVEREIGNTY AND MORE VIOLENCE AFTER SOVEREIGNTY, WHEN IS THERE NOT GOING TO BE MORE VIOLENCE?!” And with that, she threw my bowl of popcorn through the TV.
You can imagine, Dr. Phil, that was when I came unglued. I called her a Democrat and un-American and a liberal and a few other things that I’m ashamed to repeat. We argued long into the night, and for the first time in our 32 years of marriage, I slept on the couch (not counting the times she made me move because I was snoring).
This morning, I woke up and found this note on the kitchen table:
Gone to work for the Kerry campaign. Might be back by dinner. Hope the couch is comfortable--it’s going to be a long year.
Dr. Phil, I don’t know what to do. Something has come over my wife and I don’t have a clue what it is. Do you think you could talk some sense into her? Maybe she’ll listen to you.