The Prairie Spy

Alan “Lindy” Linda

Men are trouble shooters by nature, by design, by, well any trouble somewhere else, and not with us. Step aside. Let me fix that.

Whether we know it or not…and we usually don’t….it’s one of the things about us that drives women crazy. With which we drive women crazy. It’s in our nature.

For example, she says: “Hon, there’s a funny noise in the car.” It isn’t so much that she really cares about the noise. It’s talking about the noise or talking about her diet–and she already knows how interested in hearing how tired she is of trying to hold her stomach in.

“Well, take it in. Get it fixed,” he replies. A typical response, one which any male worth his zipper would give. If he seemed slightly curter than usual, it was due to his just noticing the pain in his chest. Now how long had that been there….

She’s totally satisfied that, with a response like that, she’s conversing with a brain gliding toward death-by-obnoxiousness on autopilot. She tried again. “It doesn’t do it all the time…”

His pain had become a spreading numbness. “That’s the way these things spread…er, go, dear.” The pain seemed to be spreading to his left arm. His right arm seemed normal, though.

She was becoming disgusted. This certainly wasn’t her favorite subject. Men talked about this car crap with each other. She’s darned if she’s going to let him avoid discussing it with her. “It doesn’t do it all the time,  you know…”

He was at the moment trying to remember all the symptoms of a heart attack: Numbness…check; Breathlessness…check; Chest pain…check; Nattering in the ears…what was that? He noticed then his wife standing there before him, but kind of far away. He said: “Shoot the damn thing if it isn’t any good, then.”

She half jokingly said, “First the car, then me. Oh not you don’t.” Maybe humor would wipe that condescending look of male superiority off his smug face.

The room seemed way too warm to him. He wanted to say something about this arm thing, but he knew anything like this would call for a trip to the emergency ward. She’d had that stupid car in three times looking for some noise she says she hears. Doctors and mechanics are all alike. Once they get their hands on you, who knows what they’d do. The thing was not to panic. A drop of sweat ran down his ribcage. 

He was panicking.

She pulled out the stops: “Sometimes at a hundred miles an hour, the noise goes away.” There.

He had an overpowering urge to lift his left arm to see if it still worked. He felt the same urge not to, because maybe it wouldn’t. Was she moving further away? She was sure intent on riling him up. What if he said: “I think the noise is wonderful, but excuse me, I’m having a coronary here.” Instead he said, “Ummm, hmmm.”

“You don’t care if I kill myself in that car,” she spat, To her mind, a large mayonnaise sandwich seemed suddenly hard to resist. To heck with her stomach.

His breath seemed almost gone. He saw a doctor saying, over his dead body: “They always wait to call me. Could have saved him otherwise.”

He couldn’t hold back any longer. He croaked: “Help me…I’m having a heart attack.”

About as angry now as she could ever remember being, she said: “Well, are you going to have a heart attack just to get out of talking to me? Or what?”

Then for the first time she noticed how pale he was. Awash with guilt, she hugged him and said: “Why didn’t you say something?”

About then, he remembered that double enchilada with hot sauce he had eaten about an hour ago. Could that have anything to do with his….?

Should he say something about this? Common sense–male common sense–seemed to indicate not. She did seem to be enjoying the headlock she had him in, as if she could squeeze him away from death’s door.

“About that noise, dear,” he said. He tried to say more, but a huge Mexican hot sauce burp swept out of him and overwhelmed the words.

She backed away from him and said, not in a kind way: “Alright! What in heck did you eat?” She was a farmer’s daughter. She learned early that what you ate was usually responsible for any apparent ill effects.

He burped again. “I’ll fix that noise first thing.” 

Like I said, we’re natural born trouble shooters.