“Total Submersion” Part One

Spouse psychology“I think we should take a trip to the Poconos this weekend. Whatta ya say, stud muffin?”

“Have you lost your mind?” John answered, disbelieving the question he just heard.

“No, I’m completely serious. We could rediscover one another. Immerse ourselves into each other’s souls. Learn each other’s favorite poem. Share memories from our first date. A weekend to be one again,” she promised.

“Hello-o-o-o-o? Anyone home?” he asked sarcastically. “You sliced off my penis last night and then tossed it out the window of your car into a field! The entire world knows about it. So there’s a 90 to 95 percent chance I might not feel like going to the mountains this weekend!” he yelled, spitting violently as the words burst out of his mouth.

Lorena sighed, second-guessing for the first time if she married the right man.

To achieve the goal of becoming a perfect husband, think of yourself as a submarine. No, not that specific part of you! I’m referring to your entire self. I discovered that men better understand the concept of total submersion if they compare it to something athletic, mechanical or military. Sure, you could underachieve and settle for a life as a U-boat or a Coast Guard cutter but, to really become the essential spouse, you must submerge yourself into the life of your one-true love. And you should reciprocate by opening up a porthole into your innermost self and allowing her to peer inside the strategic command center. Take this plunge, even if your ship is abandoned and infested with barnacles.

Be the submarine. Submerge yourself.

I don’t desire a "lite" version of my spouse – I want her “biggie sized,” in reference to the amount of information that my mind consumes about her. I’m talking about knowing her dress size, her preferred blend of coffee and the name of her favorite perfume. Who does she think is the all-time sexiest Secretary of the Interior?  What’s her favorite prime number? If she could kill you and get away with it, what’s her weapon of choice? Does she value the inalienable rights protected in the eighth amendment of our nation’s constitution? Does she believe that instant replay will slow down the game of baseball? And what’s her theory on why Bruce Banner’s purple pants stay on after he expands into the Incredible Hulk, while on the other hand his shirt and shoes disintegrate?

When you totally submerge into the essence of your wife, then and only then can you understand why she’s always right and why, on your best day, you are still always wrong, even if you’ve taken the firm position that Christopher Columbus is dead.

Look for opportunities to submerge yourself in details of tiny proportions. Take, for instance, the spelling of my wife’s first name.  Traditionally spelled, it contains two "n's." But hers has only one “n.” Why? What does it reveal? Who’s responsible? Which “n” was dropped – the first or the second? Did her parents decide the spelling nuance would socially separate her  from all the ordinary kids in town? I must know the answer. I will research this mystery. I submerge.

Back in the early 1950s, parents were still spelling their babies’ names with traditional grammar – like James, Brian, Mary and Kate, rather than the newer, more eccentric versions such as Jaymes, Bryan, Merry and Cait. For some strange reason parents became disenchanted with conventional spelling of children’s names. I guess adults felt that perverting the alphabet would somehow create an advantage or distinction for their kids. Simply distort a few letters and launch your child henceforth to Hollywood stardom, political fame or the top executive position of a Fortune 500 company. Was this the reason for the one “n”? I’ll answer that later.

I’m personally ready for the next wave of iterations, when we transform the names of children by using new science that combines math, logic, anthropology and art. And I’m willing to lead by example and offer my daughter’s home and future children as the behavioral laboratory and test subjects.

We’ve lived through the fad of no given name or surname, just Sting, Cher and Madonna. Then Prince attempted to forego any name at all and become known as an artistic symbol, much like my middle finger. I wish we had a bunch of babies to name, because I’d choose from a whole new set of options, including names with no vowels such as Kghwrcng or Xlmnbsv. Imagine the fun listening to school teachers and news anchors trying to pronounce them. Or names like AllisonButterworth@aol.com or Buford269@gmail.com to make it easier for friends to remember email addresses. Or names with more action, such as Gripping Smith, Jousting Gyewski or Climbed Everest.

I also think our legislature should enact a law making it illegal for two people to own the same name, like Mary Johnson and Mary Johnson. Two cars don’t share identical license plates, so why can’t we learn from the Division of Motor Vehicles and introduce names such as Lyle Grabowski8 or Sue Smith24087. I’ve shared these ideas with my state senator and still await his feedback. It’s been five and a half years, but I’m patient.

After all my analysis, wandering off course from my assignment, my hours and days of mental overtime, the answer I sought became crystal clear when my wife’s mother revealed the secret about the missing “n.” Her name was simply misspelled on the birth certificate. I never suspected an answer this intricate.

(next post: continuing “Total Submersion” and sharing dreams, even the one about Elvis)