There I was, facing two angry men – one of whom was holding a pool cue. I twirled the glass in my hand, listening to the clink of the ice and thinking to myself, “How did I get in this spot?” I’d just wanted to get some pho. And now my big mouth had written a check I might not be able to cash.
It was on a Saturday afternoon about a year ago when I heard about a great pho place off Main Street. It was called Pho King #7. Pho is a delicious Vietnamese noodle soup made with a broth full of flavor. So I talked my wife into trying it out.
We entered Pho King #7 and made our way to the booth with the least duct tape covering tears in the blue upholstery. There was an old 19” TV playing some type of game show on the glass counter facing us. There was a Buddha statue next to it with many food offerings. Pho King #7 really looks just like every other pho place in America.
Kym slid next to me in the booth. “Did you see that nail place next door? If they have an opening, I might get a pedicure after lunch. My place has been booked for a week.”
I sat my phone down on the table. “That’s a good idea; I’ll pass the time at that dive bar across the street. Did you check us in at Pho King on your phone?”
Kym nodded that she had. The waitress took our orders and quickly brought out our pho. The broth was amazing and fragrant. We tried the durian smoothie after a dare or two. It didn’t stink and tasted, well, not that bad. After we finished eating and the check was paid, I left a couple of bucks on the table and put the coins in my pocket. That is another great thing about pho – it is very inexpensive. We then walked next door to the nail place. Kym verified they had an opening, so I made my way across the street to the dive bar.
This particular dive bar had old saloon-style swinging doors. The floor had seen several transformations, as there were at least two sections of white tiles and one section of brown tiles. In the center of the room were a couple of very used pool tables. A jukebox playing Johnny Cash was attached to the far wall. The place smelled like old cigarettes and musty socks.
I sat on a bar stool close to two men engaged in a heated conversation. I looked toward the bartender, who never looked up while texting on her phone. “Whiskey and Coke, please.”
While pouring my drink, she asked the other two guys if they needed anything. Their names were Jim and Jack. At first I thought she was asking about the type of whiskey, and then I figured out they must be regulars and she knew them by name.
“If I put a nickel in a bucket for every time my wife and I had sex before marriage and then I took a nickel out of the bucket every time my wife and I had sex after marriage, I would never empty the bucket,” said Jack.
Jim pounded his fist on the bar, “That is so true!”
Jack was an average-looking guy with a red tie, white business shirt, black slacks, and freshly polished wingtip shoes. He was having a conversation with Jim, a guy whose very impressive beard made him look like a lumberjack. We were the only ones in the small bar except for the bartender, still texting on her phone.
“Would your wives say the same thing?” I asked.
Both men turned on their bar stools to face me. A look of disgust was apparent on their faces from my intrusion on their conversation. Jim stood up, stroking his beard with one hand, and reaching for a pool stick with the other.
“I don’t know,” said Jack in an angry tone.
“I don’t think anyone really understands women,” said Jim.
I very energetically said to them, “Hang on, bear with me here, and just listen to this analogy. Let’s say your wife is like one of those old-style water pumps. You know, the type with the handle you have to pump? When you first install the water pump, you have to drill deep in the ground. You have to put the pump together. Once the pump is properly positioned with the pipes attached, you have to lubricate the pumping arm. Then you have to prime the pump with a little water to get it going. Once the water starts flowing, it is easy to pump, and the water runs clean. But after a while, you have to do maintenance on the pump. The pump arm will again need to be lubricated. The hole might need to be drilled again. The pump will need to be primed often. But if you do some work, you will always have easy-flowing, clean water.”
I revealed a big smile, thinking they understood, but they just looked at me like I was trying to sell them a Caitlyn Jenner sex video. Jim gripped the pool stick tighter, his knuckles turning white.
I persisted, “If you do the things for your wife after marriage that you did to get her to marry you, you will have easy-flowing clean water. The pump doesn’t just keep pumping without work.”
“Why should I do all the work? What about my wife?” Jack asked with a look of disdain.
I slid a nickel down the bar toward Jack. “Be happy with taking your nickel out of the bucket on your birthday and an occasional holiday, because that’s all you’re going to get with that attitude.”
Jim suddenly set the pool cue back on the pool table. “So how do we fix it? How do I get my wife to treat me like she did before we got married?”
I stood up from my bar stool and walked closer to Jim. I took out my phone and showed it to him. “How much do you really know about your wife? If you remembered tomorrow was your anniversary, would you know what she really wanted?”
Jim took my phone and held it a few inches from his face. “What is this you’re showing me?”
“That is my Wife Journal.”
Jack started laughing hysterically. “That has to be the stupidest thing I have ever heard.”
Jim and I both looked at Jack. I could tell Jim really wanted to have a better relationship with his wife, while Jack obviously couldn’t care less.
Jack, still laughing, downed his drink and walked toward the swinging doors. “I’m not listening to this crap.”
I took my phone back from Jim. “I can give you seven tips on how to appreciate your wife and make her think you are a kickass husband.”
Jim sat back down, and I moved over to the barstool where Jack had been sitting. I told Jim that I was so passionate about being a kickass husband, I wrote a book.
I wrote this book.