So my mother hates Joe Paterno. No, wait, that's harsh. My mother hates Joe Paterno's glasses. I mean she has really strong feelings about those glasses. My dad will casually mention Joe Pa, and my mom will go off. "How can you even listen to him when he's wearing those stupid glasses? They're so stupid! I can't even pay attention to what he's saying because his glasses are so stupid." Sometimes she'll even punch her fist into her palm for emphasis. She becomes visibly agitated when he is interviewed. "He is so ridiculous! What is he trying to prove with those stupid glasses?"
The last time my dad was due for new specs, he casually announced, "I'm hoping they have some nice frames like Joe Paterno's."
"I'll divorce you."
They've been married for fifty-one years and have weathered many a storm, but this, apparently, would have been an unforgiveable offense.
"Why would you even SAY that? Oooooh! He looks so STUPID in those glasses. Why he would wear those stupid glasses I'll never know."
I guess there's no accounting for what we decide to get passionate about.
Lately my husband has been demonstrating a similar preoccupation with Chad Ochocinco, wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals. It started out innocently (and logically) enough. "What kind of a douche legally changes his name to his jersey number?" I had no answer for that. It did seem like a sort of - well - douchey thing to do. I imagine many folks asked themselves and perhaps their significant others the same question, or a reasonable facsimile thereof.
But that wasn't the end of it. Almost every time Ochocinco is mentioned, Tom will say some variation of, "What an idiot. Ochocinco. What kind of stupid name is that?" or, "So what happens if he goes to another team and number 85 has been retired? What're you gonna do then, OCHOCINCO? Stupid."
I have taken to answering his outbursts with, "His name is almost as stupid as Joe Paterno's glasses."
Comparing Tom to my mother usually buys me - and Ochocinco - a few moments of respite. But just a few. Because sooner or later, Tom will be shaking his head again and saying, "Ochocinco. Idiot." He tries to say it quietly, but I still hear him.
If I ever want him to divorce me, I'll just have to legally change my name to a number. If I want to be divorced and disowned, I can change my name to a number and get myself some big glasses.
Good to know.