This morning I have a headache. I have a backache. My right hip hurts. My left foot is throbbing. I should probably go to the gym and work through all of this but I am too busy feeling complainy to do anything positive for myself, though one would think I’d at least take some Tylenol.
Almost every morning, my husband and I participate in this contest called “who has the most pain”. He usually wins because he is bigger than me so there is more of him to hurt. Sometimes we just make dramatic, martyrish, ouchie noises as we raise ourselves from our twenty something year old mattress, seeing who can sound the most in pain without actually having to go into detail. Grant is really good at making pain noises so I usually end up having to go extreme by listing every single part of my body that hurts in great detail. “It feels like someone is pushing needles into my toenails and pounding with the claw side of a hammer on the arches of my feet. Plus I am pretty sure aliens drilled a hole in the right side of my brain while I was sleeping. They must have been taking brain matter collections from super smart people last night”. But sometimes we are short in time so I will say something like “I am mostly just paralyzed by pain from my eyebrows down” which sums it up pretty quickly and allows us to get on with our day quicker. I do so very much hate it when Grant only makes the moaning pain noises without using his words because that means he is being stoic and all self-righteousy with his pain. That’s an automatic win. I can almost never do that. I would have to be in a coma to be stoic.
Neither of us has even hit fifty yet so really it’s silly for us to be acting like we are old. We just stiffen up easier than we use to. I think it’s to prepare for rigor mortis later, when we’re ninety eight, and dead. We should probably just buy a new bed. But also, we are naturally competitive people so it’s hard for either of us to let go of the challenge, which has been going on since we were in our twenties.
Sometimes when we feel like the other one simply doesn’t understand or appreciate our pain well enough we take the contest to a new level: ‘who has the worst deadly disease’. I can sometimes win this one. Yesterday I had a slow-moving aneurysm. I was told by Grant that aneurysms don’t move slowly, that the whole definition of an aneurysm is: Boom! You’re dead. “Well, yes, but mine is a special NEW kind of aneurysm where my family gets to say goodbye to me and apologize for all the mean things they said and did so that they don’t have guilt when I am dead.”
His reply: “That’s just stupid. I’m not saying sorry for anything. Besides I am too busy dying from throat, ear and eye cancer. Pretty soon I won’t be able to talk to you anymore. Or hear and see you. I won’t even KNOW if you’re dead.”
I say. “It’s a damn good thing then that I updated my obituary early this morning, despite the agonizing pain I was in from this deadly aneurysm headache.”
That’s when the ‘discussion’ goes to how ridiculous he thinks it is that I have even written my own obituary, and how foolish I am to think he will actually PUBLISH it in the paper. “I’M the one who is going to write your obituary you dork. That’s the spouse’s job. Besides, you seem to have recovered from all the tumors you had in your stomach last week, so I bet you don’t die this week from the aneurysm. It’s not like you have congestive heart failure like I do right now.”
I say: “I think they were temporary tumors from all the Taco Bell I ate. And you’re going to get it all wrong. You’ll leave important things out. And so you know, number-two son has promised me he would see to it that my most recently updated obituary gets put in the paper. He has the password to my computer and I told him he no longer has to pay me back for those two parking tickets. And you shouldn’t have eaten that spaghetti last night. Red sauce gives you pain.”
“Yeah, well knowing you, it’s going to cost him more than $79 to put what you have written about YOURSELF in the paper. You’re such a narcissist.”
“I’m so taking all the good things I say about you out of my obituary the next time I update it.”
That’s about when we usually move the discussion to more productive topics like: wondering which kid keeps blowing food up in the microwave and not cleaning up the mess; or why do they all insist on going outside in just their socks, when we have bought them perfectly good SHOES; or WHY do we always have to feed them… the ‘us against them’ life stuff where we tend to flourish as a team. We can only focus on the pain and dying competition for so long before it just gets weird.