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“That reminds me,” my husband says to the guests at the dinner table, “Have you heard the one about the pig and the dog?”

…Oh God, please let them say they have.

“Oh, you haven’t?”

…Only about a gazillion times.

“ Okay, I’ll be brief.”

…Oh sure. As if!

“So this man is ship-wrecked and he washes up on a desert island. There’s plenty of food and shelter.

…I wonder if I should serve salmon tomorrow night.

“But he is totally alone except for a pig and a dog.”

…I know we have a lot of salmon, but it’s so easy.

I love to be surprised. But as time goes by it gets harder to pull it off. I guess when you rack up all those years of seeing new stuff, coming across something for the first time becomes more and more rare.

When you’re surprised the colors seem more glowing, the sounds more startling, the smells more vivid. I really believe that being surprised is what keeps me feeling young.

It’s why I love travelling. New experiences, new sights, new food. So I’ll put up with the long plane rides, the crazy security searches, the shoes off, shoes on, iWatch off, Kindle yes, no. Dogs sniffing my rear for drugs.

“Well the man is quite content on his island for a while. As I said he has plenty of food and water.”

…You did mention that. I could serve broccoli. It’s great and easy. But we have so much broccoli.

I’m not saying all surprises are good. Case in point, Trump and Brexit. But on the whole I love to be amazed. It keeps me on my toes.

“The problem is after a while the pig begins to take on a totally other persona to the man.”

…On the other hand he really likes broccoli. I guess I could also make a salad.

And so it is with marriage as well. Keeping surprise in a marriage is pretty close to being impossible. I remember years ago there was a book called: The Total Woman: How to Make Your Marriage Come Alive.” And in it the author whose name luckily escapes me recommends among other things, greeting your husband at the door totally naked but wrapped in Saran Wrap.

I kid you not! Saran wrap. Now, this is wrong on so many levels. The first being the happy homemaker just waiting breathlessly for hubby to come in from work has totally disappeared. Secondly Saran wrap is really expensive. And anyway the equivalent in England just doesn’t stick well at all. The third reason of course is, he’s seen it all.

“I tell you, that pig becomes absolutely stunning to the man! But every time he gets near the pig, the dog gets in the way.”

…A salad isn’t enough really. And anyway we have salad every day.

There was an article in The Daily Mail (well it would be in The Mail) about a woman in, I think, Liverpool who wrapped herself up in bubble wrap before she stabbed her husband. Presumably she was worried about soiling her frock with those pesky blood stains.

There are some people who hate surprises. They always go to the same town on vacation. Same room, same food, same beach, same friends. That way things won’t go wrong. They read the same type of books, in the same type of genre. Even their politics remain the same.

Though personally I think if you haven’t changed throughout the years, you aren’t paying attention.

“Well, after a couple of months that pig has become drop dead gorgeous. But every time the man makes a move on the pig, the dog starts barking and growling. It’s driving him crazy.”

…We had butternut squash yesterday. Maybe some corn. Oh, no, we had that Wednesday.

It’s easy to get into a rut. I remember food shopping with my mother and she turned to me with desperate eyes and said: “I don’t know what to cook. I’ve cooked everything!”

“So one day the man spots a dot on the horizon. It’s someone who’s also been ship-wrecked struggling to swim to shore. He jumps in the water and swims out. And there, close to drowning, is a fabulously beautiful totally naked woman. He uses his life-saving to bring her back to shore.”

…Am I becoming my mother? I keep cooking the same things. But there are only so many combinations of food.

I just read an article in the London Times that said one of the symptoms of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a craving for constant stimulation, an addiction to excitement. Is that what my love of surprises is all about?

“The man drags her almost lifeless body back to shore and gives her the kiss of life. When she revives, she thanks the man profusely. She is as I said totally naked and absolutely gorgeous…”

…Yes, you did mention that. Several times in fact, and with a great deal of relish.

“So the woman says: ‘Please, please tell me. Is there anything I can do for you?’”

...Maybe I shouldn’t serve salmon at all. Maybe the way to go is roast chicken. That’s it! Roast chicken, salad, broccoli. Done!

“The man asks: “Anything? Oh yes says the woman breathing heavily, anything!’”

...I watch my husband. He is really enjoying himself. And everyone seems to be listening.

“The man says: ‘Could you hold that dog?’”

Suddenly everyone bursts out laughing. And now I am laughing too.

Because truth be told, sometimes the things you know are just right.

TURNING POINTS from Crowd-Writing

a book by Shelley Katz

Out Now

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