Dear Ms. Lonlihearts,
My wife Kim is hard to understand. Now I have to figure out what to do before she leaves me. I need your advice.
What’s happened in the past year or so is very unnerving. First Kim complains that I’m just laying around the house on weekends, and that if I don’t want to take her dancing I should at least get myself a hobby. ‘Okay, okay,’ I agreed. Since I was already a tool-and-die man, I thought I’d set up a little metalworking shop in the garage. You know, putter around and maybe build some lawn furniture? But then we had this big argument over China dealing with North Korea. Me, I was flabbergasted to hear Kim take the wimpy Democratic side, and so soon after yelling her lungs out over me laying in our hammock while the grass grew half an inch higher than Ed’s next door! Pointing out this flaw in her logic, I even started calling around to various aerospace contractors and computer stores. Believe me, it was just a gag to watch Kim wig out. But then this guy over at the junkyard takes me serious and tries selling me sixty sheets of surplus titanium he just bought from the CIA, along with six cases of vodka. Before long I’m dipping into our vacation fund so I can buy an old Minuteman booster engine that’s been collecting rust in a warehouse in Huntsville, and enough Simms chips to upgrade my Dell to fifty gigs. After that I’m assembling a fuselage in the back yard–and boy, did that really shut Kim up! Trouble is, she stopped talking to me completely. Especially when she found out I’d also taken a second mortgage on the house.
Kim did like the publicity for a while, I must admit. The first time I gave my missile a four-second test burn for the benefit of the police SWAT team who’d surrounded us, she actually stood up for me. You shoulda heard her argue about how I was saving the American taxpayer millions by helping them update our “depleted military reserves” as a private citizen. She praised my fiscal accountability too, letting them know that I don’t pay eighty bucks for a screwdriver like the wasteful Pentagon boys do. I was so grateful and proud of her at that point that I only interrupted to admit that although my contribution wasn’t much, if EVERY neighborhood handyman and ex UPS driver upgraded their computer and built an ICBM beside his bird bath, the world would be so much safer as a result. Then, I said, all the terrorists out there would know we can be as insane as they are, and we’d have the world’s respect at last!
Luckily, we managed to calm everyone down by serving fried chicken. And by the time I started talking about how I was helping the government concentrate on big issues like health care and out-of-control-celebrities some of them had even lowered their M-16s. Soon after the question and answer period of my lecture, I did confess that my missile didn’t really house a warhead—just a canister of some spent nuclear fuel rods I’d picked up along the interstate. Not only were they calmed by this point, they promised to take up a collection to see if they could help me buy a decent second-hand Cold War nuke.
I think Kim was most proud, though, when Trump visited to congratulate me for invoking the spirit of “private enterprise.” The Donald, as I recall, said over and over how this might put him on the History Channel as a hero, too. His fondest hope, he said, was that my spirit of cooperation would spread. Not only did Kim smile for the photographers as the prez rattled on, she took great pleasure in showing them my launch facility, which consists of my now sentient Dell (nicknamed “Dr. Strangelove”) linked to a shortwave radio in my greenhouse. What’s more, I even overheard her discussing how my efforts might make Putin take a powder once the Ruskies confirmed what was going on. At this point the VP interrupted to reward me with a canister of nerve gas, circa 1958, to enhance my arsenal. The only stipulation was that I had to get a Doberman to protect it. Naturally my neighbor Ed was so jealous by then that he swiped my Congressional Medal of Honor off the barbecue grill.
Yet it was Kim’s ejection from the Garden Club that subtly renewed our rift. It was all right while Bill Clinton was consoling her, but when everyone left in Avis Rental cars she had to deal with the ladies of our community, who hadn’t slept for days, and insisted that our beaches were being targeted by Cuban cruise ships for a toxic waste strike. . . “Castro oil,” they call it.
Unfortunately for my defense, my missile would probably prove ineffective in a retaliatory strike because I’d estimated it would take three hours to launch it. My problems were compounded when during the night Chuckles–my three month old Doberman–suffered a mysterious malady which left him paralyzed from the muzzle down. I remember I called the White House that morning on the suspicion that my nerve gas was leaking and one of the aides there informed me Mad Dog Mattis was visiting Floyd Cramer, a plumber in Baton Rouge who’d successfully assembled a makeshift Cruise Missile out of galvanized pipe. To make a long story short, I quickly dialed Scuba World and ordered a wet suit and air tank. By nightfall I’d buried my leaky canister in a landfill outside of town, on top a’ which they didn’t plan to build a tenth Starbucks until January of 2018. Soon breathing easier, I replaced the missing canister with a tank of laughing gas so no one would suspect.
Ever since this incident Kim has been sleeping in the guest room. Women have always been a mystery to me, and she’s no exception, Ms. Lonlihearts. She won’t listen to me when I explain to her that I’m only doing this because Washington needs all the diversion it can get. I’ve even tried to make her proud of me–my launch time is down to twenty-two minutes and my missile range is up to as far as Kanye West. Nothing seems to work. Do you have any suggestions for me?
‘At Wit’s End’
I have no suggestions for you, but for our readers I suggest calling for our latest book, HOW TO TURN YOUR SWIMMING POOL INTO A BOMB SHELTER. Operators are on duty . . . this may be your last call.