Cutlery impaired

Rick Ryckeley's picture

When I was growing up, my dad told me more times than I could count, “Life’s just too short to worry about the little stuff. You only need to worry about big stuff.”

I was reminded of that gem of wisdom as The Wife and I sat down for dinner last night. Like we often do, we cooked the meal together and everything was going along just fine, until she asked me to set the table. My sweet wife had forgotten momentarily that I’m cutlery impaired.

She slowly shook her head as she looked at the table. “Haven’t you learned by now how to set a table correctly? I’m sure your mom taught you better.”

I assured her that Mom tried, but after a few years she just gave up. I’ve been cutlery impaired since childhood, and there’s no known cure.

Besides it really doesn’t matter to me how many forks there are on the table as long as there’s at least one. In the grand scheme of things, I’m not too worried about the position of the glasses in reference to the bread plate, knives, or spoons. That’s little stuff — Dad told me all my life not to worry about the little stuff, only worry about the big stuff.

The fine art of a proper table setting wasn’t the only thing my parents tried to teach me and failed. Mom tried to teach us boys a myriad of things over the years, but sometimes we never quite grasped the concepts.

For example: dirty clothes don’t just walk themselves to the dirty clothes hamper. Clothes have to be turned right-side-out, especially if you are wearing them to school and don’t want to look like a dork. The bedroom smells better if dirty clothes are not stored under the bed for months at a time.

Even today I still struggle with the concept that clean clothes stay wrinkle-free if hung up right after they come out of the dryer instead of being wadded up and thrown on the floor of the closet, or under the bed to keep the dirty clothes company.

Mom also tried to teach us that crayons and marbles don’t go up little noses. They really do, but how I got three marbles stuck is another story. I’m proud to say that by the time I reached Briarwood, home of the mighty Buccaneers, I’d learned that marbles and crayons up one’s nose aren’t socially acceptable.

Neither are fingers for that matter. They’re okay, unless seen by Mom or a potential girlfriend. Thinking back, that could explain why I never had one. Girlfriend, not mom — I had one of those.

Dad tried to teach us things, but was equally unsuccessful. No matter how loudly he told us, we never could remember to put his tools back after we used them. It got so bad that he actually painted the outline of the tools on the peg board, so we would know where they came from. I knew where they came from; that wasn’t the problem. It was the “putting them back” part that was the problem.

Dad told me a hundred times, “Tools just don’t walk over and hang themselves back up.”

“Nope, they sure don’t,” I replied, “But if they did, maybe they could teach the dirty clothes how to walk over and jump into the washing machine. Then Mom would be happy.” Dad whooped me for the comment, but I don’t think he disagreed with it. He never really stopped laughing.

The Boy has the same affliction. He borrows my tools and never returns them. At least he comes by it naturally. The forgetfulness gene must be an inherited one. Next time I see him, I’m going to tell him to start stocking up on small hand tools – that is, if I don’t forget. One day he’ll need spares.

Don’t ask me if he knows how to set a correct table; I’m sure he’s as cutlery impaired as his father.

Over dessert I clarified my stance on knowing the correct place setting to The Wife. “The only thing that really worries me about dinner is if there’s gonna be any. Utensils aside, if it’s on my plate, I assure you, it’ll find a way to my mouth.”

After “discussing” this issue for awhile, she changed the subject and said, “If you don’t teach those dirty clothes of yours to walk their way to the laundry room and turn themselves right-side-out as they go, then I assure you, you’ll have something big to worry about. If The Wife’s not happy, then husband’s not happy.”

Truer words were never spoken. The husband not being happy, now that’s big stuff, and like Dad said, the big stuff is something to worry about.

Anyone know where I can get a refresher in Laundry Care 101. Maybe that’ll be the next class I’ll take in college.

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