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Keeping the fun in marriage

with Dr. Muffy Hollandaise, MSW, PhD, ASAP, LSMFT

Part 162 – Creative Disagreement — Keeping It Civil

As my fifth husband always used to say: “If you can’t fight standing up how do you expect to make love lying down.” While many of us here in the business are not clear as to what he means, we will go to the wall to defend his rite of common passage. Given: Everyone, with the possible exception of white doves, hermits, the dead and laudanum addicts locks horns sometimes. Nowhere is this phenomenon more interesting than within the sacred bondage of marital harmony.

You may ask: How then Dr. Muffy can two people learn to tolerate each other when the green grasses of secularism beckon and the chains monogamy rattle throughout the night. The answer: Don’t just sit there like a rusty old war memorial. Kick up some dust. Here’s how to do it:

Most people would agree that it’s far easier watching someone else explode than to hit the ceiling yourself. That’s our first direction: Shut the hell up. Sure, it’s tough but generally your opponent will continue to hold the floor at least until they have exuded all primary hostility. Everyone thinks they know what they are talking about but no one has a clue. Blah, blah, blah…and so on. Rocking from toe to heel with a knowing smile can be very effective in this realm.

During this peripheral exchange be sure to keep a serious look on your face (laughing will only succeed in making matters worse). Don’t make eye contact (it is often seen as a sign of aggression and yet can simultaneously denote fear). Back away slowly attempting to make yourself seem larger and more formidable (running will convince the predator that you are food).

While surfing the primrose path it is wise to make lots of noise so as not to startle your mate, especially if he or she is traveling with cubs (off-spring).

When the confrontation reaches phase two — the actual dialogue, it may help to circulate a print-out to the participating parties. This helpful sheet can provide guidelines, parameters and information that will be covered during the brawl. This way nobody feels blindsided by issues introduced in the heat of battle. Hint: Always hold back just a little in case backstabbing is the only recourse. For example: Personal attacks on in-laws and personal hygiene are good while implications as to the lack of integrity and/or obesity are less effective.

Always take time to choose a setting that benefits both sides. The kitchen is often better than the bedroom, even though that’s where the knives are housed. The garden may work well for the combatants but what about the tomato plants? Squash can be very sensitive to upheavals and often wilts on the vine in the face of entanglement. (And that says nothing of endive and/or periwinkle). Referring to the set as the battleground does not carry with it the indication that one is serious about solutions. Waiting for the other partner to be drunk is not a good idea as one runs the risk that he or she could pass out during your rebuttal.

Timing is important too. She should throw out a contentious line during, say, the final game of the NBA Playoffs. He could do well waiting until the VISA bill arrives, unless of course he is the big spender. Bringing up an old mate is a valid approach only when he is in jail or her hair is falling out.

Never presume that you are a better lover unless you were actually present during their tender moments. Don’t accept guilt connected to such evangelical surprises as: “After failing at several suicide attempts she joined a cloistered order and was hit by a bolt of lightning while on her way to vespers; He passed away after contracting leprosy, you know, working with the poor in India; or the old standby he jumped into a small bucket of chilled white table wine from a squat piñon tree atop lover’s leap and it’s your fault!”

Along with the setting one should consider the general ambiance. The sound of a distant lawn mower or chain saw can be relaxing. The sound of a dog barking can lead to further frustration. Make sure no faucets are dripping or digital beeping is present as distraction can cause breakdowns of the communicative process.

Music is very important. Country and Western works well, especially compared to the annoying repetitions sometimes inherent in progressive jazz. Samba is good. Salsa is too much. Rap is not a beneficial option since it is often loud, repetitive and crude. Love songs may not be appropriate either. Save them for the making up part, if it ever comes.

Body language should not be a consideration and physical response isn’t a solution, even for lower primates. The habit of repeating verbatim every sentence uttered by your opponent is childish and can provoke further duress.

At some point in the proceedings there should be a period of dead air when everyone is finally exhausted. This is the right time to terminate the argument. The best way to do so is to throw your arms around your partner and hug them till they turn blue. Most people find this extension less attractive than facing a bayonet but moments after the initial fear of rejection is conquered anger is usually replaced by relief. Never leave during an argument since it can be taken as a retreat and you may have to go through this discussion process all over again.

Now that the argument has come to a halt it is time to start gathering ammunition for the next big fight which we will undress in the next episode. Too-DA-loo…

Dr. Hollandaise graduated from some school back east & uses a lot of words she doesn’t understand. She can’t cook, has over 40 mirrors in her abode and is lousy in bed, according to undisclothed sources.

An encounter at Baker’s Park

It started out warm but the monsoon summer hung heavy in the afternoon sky as they made their way up the Animas toward what prospectors called The Forks, where traces of gold had been discovered the year before. It was 1861 and the two trappers had made the journey from Taos north to the San Juan in search of treasure that had eluded most previous expeditions. Although it was late July hints of winter could already be felt in the early morning.

John MacGregor and Charles Healy were an unlikely pair. They never got along in civilization but somehow, when cut off from it all in the mountains they were friends, respecting each other’s ability to survive in the wilderness.

“I hear they gonna have ’em a war back east,” said MacGregor. “Guess the South has had enough. I read a paper from back in February when I was in St. Joseph. They say they had to sneak Lincoln into Washington for his own Inauguration.”

“Yeah, even before John Calhoun was elected to the South Carolina Senate they’ve been at each other’s throats,” said Healy. “The South has its point but you can’t be ownin’ people outright…”

“Oh, you one of those abolitionists?”

“One of those what?”

“Abolitionists. One of those fellers that is out to end slavery.”

“I don’t know nothin’ about that all I’m sayin’ is…”

“And if you showed up on the battlefield with that headdress on nobody would know which side you was fightin’ for. Hell, the way you hold onto that red hat you’d think it alone could protect your scalp.”

“What about you prancin’ around St. Joseph half naked, drunk as a dog? singing those naughty French postcard songs… ‘Woke up the whole whorehouse, didn’t you,” chided Healy. “The only reason you made it out alive is that the Madame liked your harp.”

“That’s right. My music saved us both.”

“The poor woman loved the way you played the harmonica, even though I can attest you have a long way to go before you master the instrument.”

“At least I’m not walking around in a silly red hat,” said MacGregor.

“That silly red hat is part of the family tartan, fool. If you had the least bit of breeding you’d understand legacies and the like. You just walk up and down mountains blowing on that mouth harp, looking to get rich.”

“We’d better get at it too,” said MacGregor. “We’ll be having a lot of company just as soon as they sort out their problems back in Virginia and Massachusetts.”

As they reached what is now California Gulch, MacGregor stopped playing his harp. It became apparent that they already had company. A small band of Ute had appeared on a ridge to the south. Although the Utes kept at a distance it was clear that the two men had been seen.

“They couldn’t help but hear us comin’ what with that harmonica noise,” whispered Healy…”

“Who could miss seein’ us with that red hat sittin’ on your head?” spat MacGregor. “Tartans be damned. Now we’re in for it.”

The Utes got a little closer as the prospectors looked for cover. They found a small outcropping protected to two sides by a sheer cliff.

“We’d better stop here and make a stand if need be,” said Healy. “Otherwise we’re caught out in the open.”

“How much powder you got left?” asked MacGregor. “They don’t look all too friendly.”

Perched in the enclosure the two watched the Utes surround their position. It was beginning to get dark. The wind picked up and the blue sky turned purple. Prepared for what could be their last fight Healy and MacGregor again checked their arsenal.

“If they come at us after dark we’re fried,” gasped Healy. “There are at least twenty of them that I’ve spotted so far.”

The night dragged on slowly with every little sound foretelling an attack, but none came.

“Remember what they did to that scouting party up here last fall?” said Healy. “It wasn’t pretty.”

“Maybe they just want your mule,” offered MacGregor. “An animal like her is worth a lot up in this country.”

 “I think they want more than the mule,” retorted Healy. “I think they want our scalps.”

As the morning arrived the men could see smoke from a large campfire up above. The Utes had not moved. Now it appeared some ten to fifteen more warriors had joined the original band. As the sun crept higher into the sky MacGregor began playing his harmonica.

“What are you doing!” screamed Healy.

“What’s the harm in a little tune? They know we’re here. Maybe they’ll leave us be if they think we’re crazy enough.”

The music flowed; Darlin’ Clementine bounced off the rocks and whirled upward, seducing one Ute out into the open.

“What’s he doing? I got a clean shot if…”

“Wait,” said MacGregor. “I think he likes my playin’.”

As the man approached it became clear that indeed, he liked the music. He was smiling. When he got closer he stopped, put his hand to his mouth, stomped his foot and began spining in a circle. Then he stopped and stared and repeated the ritual again.

“He wants you to play more music,” said Healy. “I can’t believe this.”

MacGregor put his harp to his lips and began a scattered rendition of Dixie. Now several Utes popped up their heads. MacGregor performance grew bolder as he now had an audience. He followed with Sweet Virginny, Healy joining in harmony of sorts despite a wad of tobacco in his cheek.

The first Ute approached gesturing that he wanted to examine the harmonica. He was still smiling and MacGregor turned it over to him.

“I haven’t seen one of these outfits since my last trip to Paris,” said the Ute in perfect English. “What will you take in trade?”

Healy and MacGregor were stunned. Paris? This was 1861. Nobody from these mountains had been to Paris. Was he talking France?

“What will you take in trade?” repeated the Ute now holding the harmonica tightly.

“Water,” bellowed Healy. “We’ll take water and maybe some tobacco.”

MacGregor was not pleased. The harmonica was his and he didn’t cotton to parting with it.

“Why don’t you offer him that stupid red hat instead,” he asked. “Maybe we can trade that for water, or maybe your mule and the hat for free passage.”

Two others, quite mesmerized by the instrument, now joined the Ute. Each took his turn blowing into the harp, laughing and wrestling with each other for another go at it.

MacGregor stood up gesturing at his canteen. Within moments the deal was consummated. Healy looked at MacGregor, saddened from the loss of his harp.

“Here’s a little icing,” he said. “I’ll throw in my red hat too.”

He walked over to the Utes and gave them his tartan hat gesturing that it was theirs to keep.

“I haven’t seen one of these since I was in Edinburgh,” said one of the Utes, placing the red hat on his head happily.

You can keep it as a gift,” said Healy. “I can always get another one but this here scalp is one-of-a-kind.”

Soon the two men were alone. The Utes had disappeared and were not seen again.

“I’d love to see the look on the faces of the next white party that runs across these Utes, what with the harmonica and head gear,” quipped Healy.

“We should have held out for more than water,” said MacGregor, “but at least we are alive. I’ll buy a hundred new harmonicas and even get you another red hat after we strike it rich.”

– Kashmir Horseshoe

      

          

Mega-Tourism Demise of Rome

(Vienna) Archeologists returning from a massive dig in northwest Italy say the Roman Empire was driven to its knees by too much of a good thing. Dribbles of tourism seemed to be just the thing to aid the ailing economy drenched from Caesar’s jaunts into Galicia and the building of navy to match the nautical capacites of Egypt.

That opened the doors and soon the entire peninsula was flooded with the defeated on vacation. Yes, the very people subjugated though the Roman conquests over the past century had come home to roost. There were Carthaginians and Belgicans and Judeans and Numians, all crowding the markets. all asking dumb questions.

Rampant, out-of-control mobs soon seeped from beneath the walls of the Coliseum infecting neighborhoods in peace since the days of Romulus and Uncle Remus. And that was before they put the sunroofs and vomitoriums in over at the Senate annex.

From the East came the Lycians, Macedonians, Cretans, Armenians, all with their odd ancient ways despite the efforts of the Empire to bring them along in the Roman way.

Then there were the cruise ships and the geeks from Britannia and camera-wielding munchkins from the molehills of pretty Lockleara and the hallucinogenic meadows of San Pedro. There were even Germanic tribes like the Visigoths, the Saxons and the Franks who would someday bring apocalyptic terror to these very streets and bazaars. But today they were on vacation too, mobbing the restaurants, taking all the parking spots, drunk by noon.

For a quasi-related piece please turn to “Pray Away the Hay Backfires” in The Weekend Rancher.

KNOT HOLE NEWS

PHOTOS BANNED IN WILDERNESS AREAS

(Lake City) The use of cameras or other mechanical machinery aimed at recording images will no longer be permitted in Wilderness Areas as of January according to a press release from the feds. Persons engaging in this illegal activity after the said date will be fined and prohibited from visiting these environs in the future.

“In regions where other machines are banned we have now caught up to ourselves,” said the memo. “Soon blenders, chain saws and generators will be taboo as well. Our goal is to rid the forests of people by next summer and cut down all the trees. Then we’ll be done with all this controversy once and for all.”

Shutterbugs from all across the West plan to block entrances to wilderness regions in an attempt to generate support for their hobby. They equate the ban to the helter-skelter of China’s Cultural Revolution that shadowed our own chaotic hippie era. The Geiger counter marches on.

“But the kind of alpha particle chaos detected by Hans William Geiger and his nuclear physicist  buddies in Germany in the 1920s is not what is relevant here,” said Doc “Trail” Kneewalker,  “We are talking about mindless restrictions and blockage of what most would agree is positive social behavior.”

However, Kneewalker agrees with experimental bans on selfies and what he calls the ignorant practice of snapping close-ups of predators. He equates stupidity to downed branches of ponderosa and aspen, desperate but inevitable.

“Taking a picture is not harmful in any way to the forests and/or their inhabitants,” said Nellie Nikon, heiress to the Studebaker fortune. “There’s no pollution, little noise and no impact on the earth. We just like to take pictures of mammals, birds and trees and flowers. We’re not bad people!”

The federal government, all wrapped up in another bells-and-mirrors presidential election has not had time to review the restrictive agenda. Multiple use advocates have already threatened a filibuster. Persons wishing to attend the proceedings should simply follow the brown forest service signs found all over the woods.

Department of Interior to start big fires

(Ouray) In a turnabout from an original plan to mechanically thin and burn about 10,000 acres near here, the USFS has decided simply to burn down 100% of the forests.

Operation No Trees-No Fires is already in place and a series of uncontrolled burns will start in mid-November.

Saying that the agency has finally found a way to silence all of the critics of our forest fire policies, a spokesman for the wardens of the woods called the plan foolproof.

Originally the USFS had charted specific problem areas for destruction with prime harvests going to lumber companies for a nominal fee. Then, after reconsidering the complaints of many citizens the agency decided to light a match.

“We expect the blaze to last 40 days and 40 nights leaving a heap of ashes that should mix well with the rocky soil,” said the source. “Then, after about five years we can begin growing cash crops like hemp where trees once stood.”

Radicals within the ranks say the initial plan called for the fires to be set during hunting season so as to send a message to the firearm lobby.

Biosphere III Filling Up

(Crested Butte) The massive glass dome built last month to accommodate  herd refugees is filling up fast with an abundance of applicants showing up in person, their meager belongings strapped to their backs. Deer and elk, even bear and lion, are all willing to live peacefully together at least until the end of hunting season.

According to the ground rules endangered species have first crack at the digs followed by political refugees from the Rocky Mountains. Later, if room permits people will be included on the roster.

“It’s a sort of Noah and the Ark deal here,” said Estelle Marmotbreath, from behind the scenes. “We probably need two of everything just in case the world ends over the next couple of months.”

This biosphere is the third of its kind. The first two were employed as test cases involving an incredible assortment of living items from centipedes to barrel cactus. The shells were then donated to the modular housing industry.

Plants and mammals wishing to hide out here should call their elected officials or the President at home.

-Fred Zeppelin

   

Ghost of Col. Sanders Haunts Chicken Plant

(Wimpton) He prowls the coops of the processing plant dressed in his white linen suit, a cadaverous, ghastly smile across his pasty face. His goatee is death-white too and almost starched, his glasses slip down his nose as he makes his nightly rounds. He casts no shadow as he monitors the last hours of the feathered inhabitants.

Sightings have become almost commonplace here in a land of thoroughbreds, Ezra Brooks and Kentucky colonels.

“We saw him one dawn after a night of plucking,” said Andrea Capone, who has worked at the processing plant since flunking out of Lee Harvey Oswald Middle School back in 1966. “He was real creepy and didn’t touch the ground. He just drifted through walls, clucking to himself.”

Para-psychologists say the appearance of apparitions such as Colonel Sanders are rare but do occur often in places linked to traumatic memories and unresolved guilt.

“We’ve had almost 300 reported sightings since summer,” said Dr. Wince Ardvarke, of Cal Amari College. “Certainly all of these witnesses can’t be crazy.”

Ardvarke, Professor of Macabre Economics at the well respected Pacific Coast institution gained fame after recording a posthumous conversation with the ghost of Jean Laffite on the River Road near New Orleans in 1980. He is author of the best selling novel Phantoms in the Pudding (Testosterone Brothers, Boston) in which he clearly states:

“Why are people so surprised at the presence of ghosts like these roaming around after dark? Do they think the afterlife is so glamorous? Imagine sitting around playing cards or dominoes with a bunch of pale riders all morning then shuffleboard with more spooks in the afternoon. Anyone would want to break free of this bond and do a little exploring.”

Ardvarke laughed when asked by one cynical reporter if ghosts were dangerous.

“No more dangerous than eating a diet of grease-fried chicken and instant mashed potatoes,” he said. “Just so long as ye warsh it down with a toss of Basil Hayden’s.”

Local police have promised to increase patrols in the vicinity as well as around the nearby turkey processing plants buzzing with pre-holiday activity.

Who knows,” cackled one officer, “we might even see Miles Standish or that Longfellow character out for a stroll looking for a gob of moonshine giblet gravy.”

     

Local farmer blows up vineyard with chili paste

(California Mesa) A local grape farmer’s seasonal salsa really hit the mark taking with it three acres of vines, a small metal shed and some abandoned yard appliances. Local law enforcement personnel joined frightened neighbors this morning to sort things out.

The explosion, on the mink farm operated by Earl Bloodcell, was heard all the way to Haley Draw, rattling the more than 4000-piece glass menagerie in a ramshackle, yet revered mud hut that borders Wingfield National Rocket Test Range. No injuries were reported although one unicorn bruised his nose slightly.

Maybe just a pinch less on the Serrano-gunpowder paste and a little more cilantro, heh Earl?

“That salsa has quite a kick. It blew the top off my metal shed My wife told me to use the measuring apparatus but my neighbor said he could eyeball the concoction so as to avoid cleaning more dishes after cooking. It was them damn habaneras!

Local authorities blame dormant Carolina Reaper peppers for the blast. Both are illegal in Colorado and Utah. The strain is usually crushed up and blended with other less noxious vegetables. It is widely employed as a topical aphrodisiac by Spartan tribes in New Guinea.

“I didn’t intend on breaking the law,” said Bloodcell. I only used a little of the Scotch bonnet to keep mountain lions out of my petunias. The rest I fed to the bear to keep them from raiding my still.

Concocted and cooked in a brand new cattle trough the spicy mixture should be classified as a weapon.

“Technically his hot sauces should be classified as explosives and classified in the gunpowder family,” said one gentleman caller, a retired ATF agent who lives up the hollow from Bloodcell.

“We were experimenting with dilution when the whole place lost its cool,” whisked Bloodcell. “It’s half an eyedropper to a gallon of water from now on.”

According to SF Gate: “The green chili group includes all green peppers that are hot, including “Anaheim” (Capsicum annuum “Anaheim”), “Jalapeno” (Capsicum annuum “Jalapeno”) and “Cayenne” (Capsicum annuum “Cayenne”). Technically, there is no difference between a green chili and a jalapeno. However, many chili fans are referring to the large, mild New Mexico peppers, such as “Anaheim” when they use the term green chili. These chilies are used to make green chili and canned chilies. Because these chilies are so mild, they can be used in large amounts in recipes. Jalapenos have more heat and they are often used as a condiment, rather than a main ingredient.”