Saturday, July 14, 2012

AWOL Chromosomes and Irreconcilable Differences

I've written in the past about some of my  relatives on my father's side. Some are merely eccentric, while others are missing a few critical cylinders.

My cousin, who shall be known as "Brad" in this blog entry, went on his two-year mission, returned home, and promptly married the first girl (in this case, an eighteen-year-old) who said yes to his proposal. Such is a prescription for marital incompatibility.

The branch of the family of whom I write does not believe there is any such thing as marital incompatibility. They subscribe to some idea a now-deceased LDS official floated to the Mormon populace that any Latter-Day Saint man and any Latter-Day Saint woman can be happily married if the two of them  follow The Gospel.

If the LDS official's  philosophy is correct, "Brad" and his bride did not follow The Gospel closely enough. I'd be inclined to cut them a little slack and conclude that with roughly half of all marriages in the U.S. ending in divorce, it's little more than a toss of a coin, anyway. What I learned about this couple's conflict resolution skills, however, leaves me more than willing either to place a bit of blame on the two of them or to have a few laughs at their expense. To illustrate my point, I will share with you two of the most damning  unresolved arguments in their marriage.

Conflict Number One in this poor excuse for a marriage was that the couple could not resolve the issue of cable vs. Direct TV. This would almost seem like a legitimate source of conflict were the couple not so incredibly lacking in means that they didn't even own a TV.

Conflict Number two is similarly grave. It sounds like I'm making this up as I go, but I swear that I'm not, and besides, my brother, my cousin Jacob, my Uncle Michael, my Uncle Steve, or my parents can verify my story. Anyway, back to The Marriage That Could Not Be Saved. The second irreconcilable difference, so to speak, concerned the proper hanging of toilet paper. "Brad" wanted the toilet paper hung with the end coming out from the bottom, while his wife preferred to have the loose end come out over the top. (This is, in my opinion, the right way, but 1) I don't feel so strongly about the issue that I'd end a marriage over it; 2) if I did feel so strongly about the issue that I thought it was a deal-breaker as far as my marriage was concerned, I'd be damned careful to find out on which side of the toilet paper my prospective spouse stood or sat before I took the plunge.)

Anyway, at first each of them would take the roll off the spindle and replace it the way they preferred. Then the wife became so weary of the weird little game that she unrolled all the toilet paper from its cardboard cylinder and placed it in a plastic DollarTree basket so that it was neither over the top nor under the bottom, which, in my opinion, wasn't really a bad compromise even though it was an incredibly stupid argument in the first place. "Brad," however, did not see it as a compromise, but rather, as a challenge to his authority as man of the bedroom/bathroom combo above his wife's parents' garage. He threw all the toilet paper into the toilet and flushed it. Any sane adult, even a recently returned missionary, knows one cannot successfully send almost an entire roll of bathroom tissue down a low-flow toilet in one flush. The only winner here was the plumber.

My mom says nothing about this story taints either  the sanctity or the stability of the institution of marriage as much as it points out that members of my dad's family are just a few genes shy of a full chromosome. My own biological relationship to one member of this former couple notwithstanding, I'm inclined to agree with my mother.

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