“Every absurdity has a champion to defend it.” Oliver Goldsmith
As much as I try to understand my wife, sometimes she’s a little too out there — even for me. The other day she decided fruit flies are aliens. I’m sure this came after many seconds of deliberation. Still, I’ve lived with her long enough to know her explanation will be entertaining if not completely freakish.
“How do you explain this,” she said the other day, trying to crush another fruit fly between her palms. “See?” she said. “They disappear right into thin air. They must be aliens.”
I tried to explain that smacking her hands together vertically sends them skyward by the updraft. If she slapped her hands together horizontally, the fruit flies would go headlong into a wall. I pointed to one wall that could stop a fruit fly no trouble at all.
Based on my theory, the walls must be a graveyard of fruit fly carcasses. Only she didn’t find any.
She wasn’t buying it. Based on my theory, the walls must be a graveyard of fruit fly carcasses. Unfortunately, she didn’t find any. Which brought her back to alien fruit flies again, this time explaining their entry into the Earth’s atmosphere and why we haven’t noticed this.
“Instead of looking for flying saucers,” she went on, “we should probably be look for something resembling a banana. That’s how they’re sneaking in here.” She even believes world domination is possible if we let them breed like, well, fruit flies.
Needless to say, Winona — my wife — has a serious war going on with fruit flies. Not only are they a daily irritation, she’s convinced they carry serious alien pathogens. These could lead to—her word now — fruitflyitis.
She’s even taken to putting everything in the refrigerator, including—as she should know by now—possible fruit flies.
“Then they’ll die of the cold,” she says.
I point out that if they’ve travelled millions of light years through intergalactic temperatures, they aren’t going to be bothered by the comparitively tepid climate of our refrigerator.
“Well, obviously they don’t have their space suits on,” she says, figuring they had to take them off so they could fly around unimpeded.
She figures the entry point is a small hole near the stem, or possibly underneath, hidden brilliantly by some brilliant fruit fly.
The space suits — and space ship, for that matter — are probably secreted away in a big fruit somewhere, she explains. Perhaps the two hundred pound pumpkin that won the Blue Ribbon prize at our local fair. She figures the entry point is a hole near the stem, or possibly underneath, hidden brilliantly by some brilliant fruit fly.
“And you figure the whole idea is world domination?” I ask.
“Absolutely,” she says, putting my bananas in the fridge along with the silverware. “They breed on utensils,” she explains. “Let’s see how much breeding they get done in the crisper.”
She’s committed to destroying any attempts at these fruit flies copulating, even if it means all our cutlery arrives at the dinner table frosted.
My wife’s also in constant battle with spiders and squirrels, the first take the usual pounding with her Swiffer, the second she tries to intimidate by stomping her feet and shouting threats. One squirrel — since named Rocky — decided he wouldn’t be intimidated. He got up on his hind feet and raised his little dukes to Winona.
“What’s he doing?” she asked me.
“I think he’s leading with his left,” I replied.
I appreciate Rocky’s pugilist resolve, or I did before he tried raising his dukes to a car. It missed him, fortunately, but now he’s not so cocky. I’m sure he didn’t appreciate Winona clapping the whole time. She’s a bitch that way. He’s also pretty bitchy.
Squirrels and fruit flies aside, my wife’s real Waterloo is a centipede. He a bold little fellow who sends Winona into fits of rage. “Get that horrible creature out of here,” she screams when he scurries across the rug. I tell centipedes are a blessing. They clean up all kinds of riffraff like silverfish and other creepy crawlies. “I don’t care,” she screams again. “He’s ugly and I don’t want him in this house.”
I have so little luck as it is, and if that centipede — since called Greg — is my one blessing, I’ll fight to the death defending his little existence.
I stand firm on this one. I have so little luck as it is, and if that centipede — since called Greg — is my one blessing, I’ll fight to the death defending his right to exist.
As I’ve explained to my wife, “I couldn’t catch him, anyway. He senses movement and dashes under the baseboards.” Winona goes on the internet, asking how to make a centipede trap. The responses support my claim.
“Centipedes are incredibly effective in reducing silverfish and other bug populations,” they say. “Leave them be.” She gives them the raspberry.
“How do you know centipedes aren’t aliens,” I ask. “Maybe they’re planning a full frontal attack on your fruit flies at this very moment. You could be having Star Wars right here on the living room rug.”
“Hooey,” she says.
Winona plants herself in the living room, Swiffer handy, a box of crackers in case she needs bait. “They eat bugs,” I say. She tells me crackers and bugs have the same consistency. I doubt that very much. It doesn’t dissuade her, though. Once she’s said, “Hooey,” all doors of reason are closed.
The centipede knows this, of course. He’s probably in the basement now, eating silverfish. Centipedes are wily little creatures. My wife, on the other hand, is more of a slow-motion iconoclast. I leave her in her chair eyeing the baseboards with the resolve of a centurion.
In her dreams, she’s either creaming it with the Swiffer or running for her life through an alien land of fruit flies and centipedes.
In the morning, I find her sound asleep in her chair. No point waking her. As I say, that centipede is her Waterloo. In her dreams, she’s either creaming it with the Swiffer or running for her life through an alien land of centipedes and fruit flies. From her perspective, it’s the worst dream of her life. Add a spider or two and she’ll tell me life isn’t worth living. “I’m a goner,” she’ll say.
Anyway, the battles continue, even if they’re in her dreams. As for the fruit flies, they remain alien. She’s pretty sure it won’t be long before they start carrying people out of their houses.
To appease my wife, I join her as she watches nightly for banana-shaped objects crossing the sky. I’ve seen a few that look more like melons. “Any chance they might be coming in on melons?” I ask.
“I’m telling you it’s bananas,” she says. “Now stop distracting me or I’m going to get my Swiffer.”
She’s pretty sure the fruit flies have a queen.
She’s deadly accurate with that thing. Right now, she’s after Greg, the centipede — or the Fruit Fly Queen. She’s pretty sure the fruit flies have a queen. I’m thinking my wife needs to see somebody, preferably a professional—or George Lucas. I’m sure he’s heard it all. Then again, Winona might surprise him. A Fruit Fly Queen is an interesting twist. Add Greg, the extraterrestrial centipede, and I think you’ve got a movie. Maybe a whole series. Wouldn’t that be something?