Lovesick Shopping

Editor’s note: This column was published originally March 3, 2005.

I don’t mind saying publicly that my wife is a terrific woman. I know that some of you don’t get that impression by what I write here, but if you read between the lines, you know that she’s smart, beautiful, kind and has a sense of humor. Emphasis on sense of humor, since she’s married to me. Of course, my wife is only human, and just like everyone else she has moments of weakness. Take, for instance, when she gets sick. Now, when a woman gets sick, she is nowhere near as pathetic as when grown men get sick.

I don’t care if you walk around like 007 or Dirty Harry, when men get sick we suddenly act like 8-year-old boys. We like to be babied or mothered, so long as someone waits on us hand and foot for all our sickly little needs. My wife puts up with that and she’s a saint for it.

But when my wife gets sick, I have no idea what to do. It’s not like I can suddenly step into her routine, at least not easily. Appreciation for what she does on a daily basis increases a hundred-fold. My problem is that when she’s sick, I handle it like a work problem calm and laid back. Naturally, she would prefer that I channel some urgency toward her condition. The other week, my wife contracted the flu that’s been going around. One night she was coughing and was miserable. She asked if I would go to the store for some cough medicine. That’s the least I could do, so off I went. When I came back, she asked why I took so long. I answered, “no reason,’ and pulled the medicine out of the grocery bag.

She looked at the bag and said, “Hey, what else do you have in there?” Sheepishly, I pulled out a magazine. She whispered, which wasn’t a good sign, “You mean I’m suffering here with a hacking cough waiting for medication and you took the time out to buy a magazine?”

I apologized profusely, saying that I wasn’t being considerate. She immediately forgave me. Thank God she didn’t see the other grocery bag with the rented DVD and snacks in it.