Saying he was surprised that such a serious hazard wasn’t well sign-posted and cordoned off by barbed wire and electrified fencing, area man Gerald Former came dangerously close to voicing a firm opinion today, while in the presence of his wife.

“There I was, washing a mountain of dishes so I could get down to the bottom of the sink to unblock the drain while trying to remember the last time I felt in control of my life – as per my daily morning routine – when I came to realize my wife was giving me her undivided attention. That was the first indication that I had said or done something horribly, horribly wrong.”

As Mr. Former describes it, he turned around to find his partner of 4 years – and mother of two beautiful resource sponges – quietly smacking the torso of a headless doll against her open palm in a manner that could only be taken as extremely fucking threatening. It was then that Gerald realized he had forgotten to turn his thought patterns back to ‘Opinion Free’ after returning from the office late the previous evening.

“And so – stupidly of course, so fucking stupidly, what was I thinking, stupid, stupid, stupid – sorry, I’m sorry, don’t judge me. Just so stupid.” He pauses, almost unable to repeat his idiocy out loud. “I said I thought the air conditioning was running more than it needed to.”

Understandably, his wife nearly garroted him. Gerald believes his life was spared only by a shortage of guitar strings lying around the house, the last length having been used the previous winter on a postman who had repeatedly ignored a ‘Baby Sleeping’ sign, despite its two-foot high letters, skull and crossbones border, and fact that it was taped to the business end of a sawed-off shotgun.

“She doesn’t ask very much of me,” Mr. Former says quietly from his hiding place in the trunk of the family car, half-hidden under pool noodles and pieces of a stroller, while trying to open a bag of chips with a minimum of noise, “I can voice any opinion I want, on any subject I want, as long as it agrees with all statements previously released by my wife; under no circumstances contradicts any actions previously undertaken by her, or considered by her surrogates thereof; and has been vetted by a psychic for possible conflict with thoughts my wife may have had but never voiced, or may be considering having at some stage in the future. I mean, how can you argue with that?”

After staring into the bottom of his Kettle Chips bag for a while, Gerald says, suddenly and at a surprisingly loud volume for the cramped confines, that he generally tries to just keep his opinions to himself. Or best of all:

“Not have any!” Here he brightens, like someone living beside a railway telling you the trains only come every fifteen minutes.

“Do I like having opinions? Sure. Do I like having peace around the house? Also yes. Would I like to have both? Absolutely. Does parenting make you embrace compromise in the way a man who fell overboard in the Bering Straits in a Christmas storm holds a life ring? Aye. Does compromise sometimes mean total capitulation? I’m ok with that if you are. Will I stop asking rhetorical questions? Who wants to know? My wife? All done.”


Paul Duncan is a Toronto father of two who uses his abundant spare time to run a boutique satirical blog out of a backyard shed. He’d love it if you’d check out The Out And Abouter, or play hide and seek with his children while he finishes a post.


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