It is a truth universally acknowledged that a married man in possession of a heavy responsibility must appreciate a wife who manages the mundane affairs of their home.[It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.]
“I delegate the small stuff to Alice,” Ralph told Ed, “so I can concentrate on important decisions.”
“Wise choice,” Ed replied and then turned to Ralph’s wife. “How do you feel about handling the small stuff, Alice?”
“Oh, the little decisions seem to fit my temperament.”
She stood, and Ed followed her gaze out toward the driveway.
“How do you like our car? It took me three weeks of sorting through car lots and another day and a half to arrange financing. These little decisions suit me.”
“You bought you and Ralph’s car?”
“But that was nothing compared to picking out a college for Jimmy. I now know most of the admissions officers in three states by their first names. Scholarships, though. That was something else.”
“I don’t understand. You chose your son’s college?”
“Piece o’ cake compared to landing Ralph’s new job. I knew he’d never get the promotions he deserves at Amazon. But it took quite a bit of boning up on my interview skills to get him in with SBG.”
Ed turned to her husband.
“But, Ralph! I thought you said you handle the big decisions.”
“Oh, I do,” he reassured. “I’m on Facebook every day taking care of things. Why just this afternoon I let them know about keeping ‘In God we trust’ on our money. But before that — just this morning — I really told everyone what they need to know about the White House chief of staff. Strange how nobody seems to get it how important a chief of staff is to us. And last week I voted on whether North Korea should be disciplined for its ICBMs. Do you know how far they can fly those things? And like, every chance I get I add my name to the list of pro-life Americans.”
“So by big decisions you mean the…”
“That’s right, Ed. The really important stuff, you know? Like transgender people in the military, how we should be treating Putin, prayer in schools, and if we need to get in there and encourage those Brits — They’re our cousins, after all! — And they’re trying to sort out just how to manage Brexit. It’s not as simple as you might think! And I could tell by the really half-hearted ‘likes’ on my post that most folks out there in Facebook Land just don’t get it. And that’s ’cause deep down they don’t care. But somebody’s gotta take up the challenge. I….”
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“But what about all the….”
“Nope! I never mess with those quiz things. Like today I passed up the chance to name a song with a color in the title. I’ve got bigger fish to fry. And those pictures asking if you remember a hand-cranked eggbeater? Or a dimmer switch on the floor? I don’t let those distract me from the important issues of our day. Lots of folks on Facebook just get carried away with all that trivia, but not me. Healthcare. Now there’s an something to get your teeth into. I’ve got it all planned out how to tell everybody tomorrow that those congress people need to have the very same healthcare as the rest of us or else the rest of us need to have the same healthcare as the congress. It’s that simple.”
“That’s sure a point, Ralph.”
“Course, those ‘How many squares do you see?’ puzzles and those tricky little math tests that look like there’s no real answer — now those are tempting,” Ralph admitted.
Take that one that shows three horses and some horseshoes and cowboy boots. I could have shown up everybody if I’d a wanted to pause there for a minute or so, but, No. I can’t be distracted.
“Uhm, Alice, how do you … ”
“It’s a big load Ralph carries, Ed. Jimmy and I realize this. Did you know last week — it was last week, right Honey? — Last week Ralph told ’em all about spanking. Discipline just isn’t what it … America’s going to the … You know what, Ed? I’m just glad to help my man with the little things. You may not know what my husband is. He’s our Facebook Warrior. That’s why I’ll be flying to Seattle tomorrow to look at houses. It took me a week to narrow it down to three by working the phone and the internet. It’ll be a sacrifice leaving Ralph and the kids for a few days, but I really don’t have a choice, do I? Not if we’re going to have a place to live when we get out there and Ralph goes to work for SBG. And I mean, one of us has got to take care of what’s really important, and I’m just so glad Ralph knows his way around Facebook.”
Ed thanked Ralph and Eleanor for our time of sharing, and they saw him to the door. As Ed was going down the walk, Ralph called after him.
“Sometimes my work gives me a real feeling of tenderness. Three days ago it was my privilege to let everybody know that pets do go to Heaven.”
Ed had to admit after Ralph leaned on his car door to tell him about getting shop classes back in schools and how he’d liked that picture showing old Clint hoping morals would come back in style, Ed slid behind the wheel with a tender feeling about the division of labor in Ralph and Alice’s home.