A failure to communicate

Most of us recall Paul Newman’s iconic movie “Cool Hand Luke.” In that film the warden played by Strother Martin first utters the phrase: “What we've got here is a failure to communicate."

No matter where you have been, lived, worked, slept, eaten, sat, stood or walked, someone somewhere has spoken these words to you when your attention maybe lapsed for a brief instance. These lapses are known in relationships as “being a man” but can also occur in the female of the species on rare occasions.

I was listening to Trixie talk to her dear friend Annie Oakley the other day about Annie's boyfriend. Now neither Annie nor her boyfriend are spring chickens by any stretch of the imagination, both being over 60 --- which is either ancient or young to my readers depending on which side of that mark you find yourself.

Ol' Dutch could follow along with the conversation pretty good until it came to the part about their relationship and how it was doing.

A man faced with asking his buddy about his girlfriend would simply say something along the lines of “How is Mary Beth doing?” To which his buddy would say “Pretty good” or “she ran off with the butcher” and that would end the discussion and they could get back to discussing golf, fishing, hunting or the latest Gold Rush television episode.

But with Trixie and other women I have been around, life is not that simple. You would think a simple “and how are you and Billy Bob getting along?” would suffice but no, that is just not possible with this crowd.

"How is Billy Bob’s spiritual, psychological and physiological health nowadays?” Trixie asked Annie Oakley.

And, with this one question, I began to suddenly understand more about women than I have in my 59 long years. What in the wide wide world of sports did that mean anyway?

I sat there aghast and even though I am not sure what that word means, my mouth was open and I had that far away, can’t believe what I just heard look in my eyes.

And that, my friends, is the problem we have in relationships. Not only is there a failure to communicate, the female of the species has decided to make it almost impossible to do so for us heathen men because they use words not found in common life outside of Graduate School Psych classes.

Plus add that to the fact that even when you agree with a woman you usually end up in trouble. Lord help the man who says “what do you want me to say?” when faced with an unwinnable situation. That question, for the uninitiated, is seen as a smart ass remark.

Recently I was heading out the door for a day away from “the boss,” I mean sweet Trixie, and caught her up in my arms to kiss her in the most romantic fashion. Or something like that.

Trixie pulled away and said “I haven't brushed my teeth yet.” This caught me off guard as a man, I had gone quite a bit out of my way and lowered my manly shields to try and be more than a standard clod in coming back to kiss her face before leaving. Not knowing what else to say I fell back on 31 years of marriage encounters and agreed with her saying, “I know.”

That must have been the wrong choice gentlemen as the kiss disappeared into the sea of forgetfulness and Ol' Dutch had to head out the door dejected.

So if you are in a relationship -- married or not -- realize that you are never going to be talking on the same wavelength as your beloved no matter how many books you buy from Dr. Phil.

Someone gave me a coffee cup the other day that said, “Mr. Right” and I was feeling pretty good about that until Trixie opened hers and it said, “Mrs. Always Right.” And therein is the wisdom of the ages in three simple words.