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Book-smart, but not so good with wallets or can openers

October 16, 2022

My wife loves to make suggestions about how I might perform tasks more effectively.

Sometimes she is incorrect in believing that her way is objectively the best way. A few years ago, for example, we had quite an exchange about the way I store and update my list of Christmas card recipients and their addresses, which, much to her chagrin, does NOT involve a Google Sheet. I had to stand my ground on that one.

At many other times, though, I find myself saying with a sheepish shrug, “Gee, honey, I guess you’re right.” Or if I’m too embarrassed or irritated to concede out loud, I may just shake my head.

Yesterday I misplaced my wallet for the third time in the last four months. When Leila proclaimed that I needed a better system for hanging onto my wallet, I couldn’t really disagree. Whatever the acceptable failure right might be, it’s definitely less than nine times per year.

Later in the day, while we were washing dishes, I hit rock-bottom on the “Yes, Dear” scale.

“Do you wash the can opener after you use it?” she asked.

“Well,” I replied cagily, “I rinse it VERY briefly.”

“I think you should stop doing that,” she continued. “It’s all rusted, and it stopped turning. I had to add a bunch of WD-40 oil to get it moving again.”

Cue the head shake.

I was not ready, and am still not ready, and may never be ready, to admit that I, a 49-year-old college professor, have been misusing can openers for my entire life. But it might be true.

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