San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

In praise of wives

Jack O’Brien

Jack O’Brien

I feel sad for gay males who marry other gay males under the new law, because they are denying themselves a starring role in the greatest show on Earth: The Battle of the Sexes.

Were it not for our wives helpfully reminding us from time to time to demand a higher salary, to move to a classier neighborhood or to send the kids to a better school, we males would still be in caveland throwing rocks at saber-toothed tigers for supper. It’s not that we are unalterably opposed to progress; it’s just that our womenfolk, being the ones who have to actually manufacture the new and improved models, are naturally keen to give them the best possible chance in life. In other words, they believe that change, and particularly progressive change, is an undeniable Human Right to be granted no later than midnight tonight, while we men believe it should wait until next week or; better next year.

So the question is, with attitudes like that, how did we ever manage to leapfrog over our cousins the earthworm, the warthog and every one of the great apes to reach our present pinnacle of perfection, while they remained stuck in the same old groove. The answer is so obvious that it scarcely bears repeating, but I shall nevertheless repeat it in case you missed Cosmology 101. The slow rotation of the Galaxy carries our solar system far to the north side every 220 million years where, unprotected by the main bulk of the galaxy, it is exposed to the fierce ionizing radiation put out by the Virgo Cluster. In consequence, there are regular mass extinctions of those unprepared for the deadly onslaught, and a vastly increased mutation rate in the germ plasm of the survivors. Thereafter, all manner of strange beasts are born, the majority of which are sterile or unsuited to the new conditions.

But just now and again a radiation-resistant animal develops and that grand old regulator, Natural Selection, takes over and propels the new model over the heads of the less fortunate, hence us. So where does that get us? Well, mainly it gets us another 220 million years to consolidate our position and during that time Woman learned to talk and Man learned to hold his tongue, permitting her to invent outrageous concepts such as monogamy, ranch housing and the prenup.

Men protested from time to time, in what is called the Battle of the Sexes, though only up to the point where the dread phrase Denial of Conjugal Rights was uttered, after which all resistance ceased abruptly and both parties withdrew to go over designs for new and improved models.

I know it is hard to imagine any improvement over the current models, but recalling the fate of the earthworm, the warthog and the great apes, whose ladies never learned to talk, we should count our blessings.

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