Unhappy hour

If you’re a country music fan, like me, you’ve no doubt heard the song, “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off.” Well, my wife doesn’t like Tequila but white wine does make our VISA card run hot.

You know how wives are always complaining that their husbands never take them anywhere? Well, for the 40 years I was a road agent I took my wife places even she didn’t want to go, like the cocktail parties I drug her kicking and screaming to the night before big cattle auctions. 

“Do we really have to go?” she’d plead.

“Yes, it’s part of my job and if I didn’t show up it would hurt the host’s feelings who just spent $3,000 advertising his production sale with me.” 

Usually these events were harmless but I also took her to happy hours the night before big cattlemen’s conventions that were usually sponsored by a big drug company and featured a no-host bar. I usually found these events to be a big bore because alcohol hasn’t touched my lips for over 30 years and my wife has never been a big drinker either, although she’d have a glass of white wine or two. Such events were also harmless unless they also featured a silent auction. WARNING! DANGER! The combination of alcohol, an angry wife and a silent auction can put you in the poorhouse!

I blame the problem on purebred cattle breeders. If you’ve ever taken the time to notice at cocktail parties the men are usually hovering around a purebred breeder who is talking about what bulls a rancher should breed his cows to. (His of course.) I found such discussions stimulating because I learned a lot about what bulls were hot and which ones were not and because I found the subject of animal breeding very interesting. The problem arises because wives would rather have their fingernails ripped off than listen to men talk about EPD’s, sire summaries and DNA. My wife is a really quiet person and she’s the best listener I’ve ever met but even her eyes start to glaze over and roll to the back of her head after listening to 10 minutes of EPD numbers. I realized this and so I try to turn the subject around to something the wives would be interested in but I have no idea what that would be. I try to talk about sports and computers thinking this might interest them but all the men turn the subject back around to pedigrees, rate of gain and loin eye area. This is when things can go terribly wrong for a family’s fortune.

Too late, the men will notice that their wives have wandered off and where do they always go? Stupid question. Where do wives usually go when they’re mad? Of course, they go shopping! This is where the silent auction comes in. Wives have somehow figured out how to turn a harmless cocktail hour into a competitive shopping event.

Knowing this in advance I try to corral my wife the minute she starts meandering towards the silent auction where all the other wives are congregating and taking taking turns bidding against each other. The reason I quit going to cocktail parties was because I couldn’t keep tabs on my wife 100% of the time. Realizing too late she’s escaped the scintillating discussion we menfolk are having, I’ll rush over towards the silent auction. “Where have you been?” I ask.

“Oh, I’ve been doing a little shopping.”

“Uh, okay. Did you find anything to buy?”

“A few things.”

“I’m tired. Don’t you think we ought call it a night? You’re the one who didn’t want to come to this party in the first place,” I remind her.

“You go ahead honey. I’ve got to wait around until 10 when the silent auction closes.”

“So far how much would you estimate this free cocktail hour is gonna cost?

“Thus far I bought a four-wheeled wheelbarrow for only $1,200, one night at Motel Six for only $350 and five 100 pound bags of dog food that we’ll have to take to our room when the auction closes. And I’m in an ongoing battle to see who gets the $100 gift certificate to that new restaurant I’ve been wanting to try. I’m ahead but I’m afraid Gloria is gonna up my $700 bid.”

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Lee Pitts

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