News and Tribune

March 19, 2013

BEAM: No time like the present

By AMANDA BEAM
Local columnist

— No. Non. Nyet. Nai. Nein. Nahi. Aniyo.  Pardon all the negativity, but according to my husband, I need to practice saying no. You’d think a man would like a wife who always says yes. Not so in the Beam household. 

Progressive spouses do at times have their drawbacks, his unsuccessful attempts to change a well-established personality trait being one of the most recent. 

Last week, the discussion over our busy schedules came to a head, or to be more accurate, an upper lip. As he was shaving, my husband said that I do too much. For all the men out there, let me tell you a few things. First, when a woman is trying her darndest to accomplish work and family matters while still taking time to volunteer for goodness only knows what, it’s best to offer assistance rather than accusations. 

A bigger point to remember, don’t start a verbal quarrel while shaving. Anger has a way of causing hands to be unsteady. Drawing first blood in the dispute could take on a whole new meaning. 

After grabbing some tissues to cover up those karmic nicks, my husband continued to rail against my plethora of projects. Usually, I’d be too busy writing or returning emails or reading up on the dating life of Taylor Swift to actually listen to his concerns. Keyboard clacks are quite loud, you know. They tend to bury the low baritone voice of a man without much difficulty. Ignorance is bliss. 

But this time around, I couldn’t help but pay attention. If you know me, you know I love a good argument. Marrying an attorney has provided me with enough training in this art that the state should award me an honorary law degree. So I deliberately countered his points with the greatest technique ever invented in the history of relationships.

I blamed him. 

Ha! Take that husband. Let me throw out every out-of-state work trip and island assignment and other employment related outings and see what sticks. Past absences can bite like daggers, especially when the one aiming them is someone you love. 

Am I proud of what I did? No. Well, maybe a little. But it did stop the bickering, partially because he was so incensed by my well-played counter-accusation.  

Later we both apologized, yet the bigger problem at hand still remains. Write this in the record books folks because you’re likely not to hear this again for the next 50 years. 

My husband was right. 

You cannot understand how much it pains me to admit this fact. Although I rarely do, I imagine it’s like swallowing crow, only with fewer calories and no throat-scratching feathers. No doubt the hubby has already ordered a wooden frame to mount the newspaper clipping of this column on our living room wall. 

Number 10 of the famed AA’s 12-step program is promptly admitting when you’re wrong. Sure, it took me a couple of gin and tonics to earn up to it, still I succeeded. Correcting the problem comes next.

And that’s where I have some issues. 

You can read all the self-help books in the world and still can’t help but agree to everything proposed to you.

Adopt a crocodile to help the zoo raise some funds for a new man-eating animals’ exhibit? Why not? Coach the lost art of Kendo to toddlers? Sign me up.

Supervise 30 hyper, 8-year-old dog handlers and their pups around an unlimited chocolate fountain at a charity’s posh dinner? You had me at chocolate. 

People offer advice on how to stop being so agreeable. I tell them yes to trying their solution and move on, the idea trailing behind me like a piece of toilet paper stuck to a shoe. The tagalong gets caught in a crack of the pavement and I lose it by the time I turn the corner. 

So yes remains my word of the day. At least I said no to saying no. That counts as progress, right?

— Amanda Beam is a Floyd County resident and Jeffersonville native. Contact her by email at hoosiermandyblog@gmail.com