By RHONDA SCHROCK
Mr. Schrock came wired with it. In an odd twist of fate, genetics or some inexplicable cosmic mutation, he was born with a unit in place.
Why he showed up in Labor and Delivery like that is beyond me. Before he ever wore a diaper, he had a Garmin. I am not even kidding. Put that guy in a dark room, spin him around ’til he sees the moon, the stars and the other eight planets, and he’ll find the North Star. Then from there, he’ll get us to the closest Krispy Kreme or wherever the, uh, emergency is, and he’s the hero.
I, on the other hand, was only born beneath the North Star. Wait. Maybe it was a more southern one. Anyway, I showed up in Labor and Delivery, dismally lacking any GPS capabilities whatsoever. Put me in a dark room and spin me around until I’m seeing the entire solar system, and it will take me two days to find the door. By then, the donuts are gone, the hot light is off and I’m not the hero. It stinks from here to Kalamazoo, but there it is.
I wish I were more cat like. Cats, we all know, can be thrown up 10 feet, dropped from the fourth floor or flung from an ancient Greek catapult and still land on their feet. Why? And how? To pull that off, you have to know which way is up (that’s north) and which way is down (that’s south). Most days, this is more than I am able to discern, although the fog clears marginally after some coffee. (Marginally. I said marginally.)
Seeing, then, that I wasn’t born with a fur suit and an unerring instinct for direction, it was terribly smart of me to marry a fellow with the aforementioned system. And it was terribly kind of him to purchase a smart phone for this not-feline, teaching me how to download apps (like Starbucks, say) so I can find the nearest store. Meow.
Then there’s this. He may have the Garmin, but I have the “funny eyes.” In other words, I have the ability to see the funny side of life. In the ordinary, boring and mundane, I see it. In the irritating, frustrating or maddening, it’s there. If you have the right kind of eyes.
This ability to see the humor in life has worked out well for us. For four lively and full-of-ornery boys, it’s been a boon for their longevity. Because Mom can usually find something funny in the chaos and mayhem, they’ve not been deported to a labor camp in Siberia or an orphanage in Thailand. Yet.
But back to Mr. Schrock and his not-quite-as-funny eyes. There are times when my own “funny eyes” must be paired with my fastest shoes if I hope to tell you about it later. Take what happened Saturday night. There we were, he and I, shopping in the hair care aisle. We were looking at a men’s shampoo that claimed to be a thickener. And just like that, it came.
“You have to be careful with that stuff,” I said, sober as a judge. “You don’t want it to run down over your tummy while you’re in the shower.” There was silence as he pondered this tidbit. When I started laughing, he gave such a grunt of disgust, it was heard in Plymouth. Sensing a need to vanish, I was all the way over in produce, innocently lurking by the rutabagas, when he found me.
And that’s what I mean. I can see all kinds of funny in this story with my own sharp, little eyes. As for him, I still can’t see anything but the whites of his. Someday, he’ll laugh. But for now, I’m sleeping with my sneakers on.
There was another small incident that happened when we were newlyweds that struck me terribly funny. (It was all an accident, OK, so I can’t be tried, convicted and sentenced to wearing an orange onesie with the numbers on the back. I can’t.) It went like this.
There I was, larking around the kitchen, thinking thoughts of love and romance while mixing something, likely a chocolate cake, in my brand-new KitchenAid. So engrossed was I in my wifely pursuits that when the object of my desire suddenly appeared in the room, I did what girls do. I screamed.
So unexpected was my bellow that he did something I wasn’t expecting, either. He exploded into what appeared to be an Irish jig with moves I’ve not seen before or since.
When the dust cleared, I was still laughing. His ears were still throbbing, and he’d pulled a muscle in one calf from his impromptu dance. That was the day I learned about the healing properties of chocolate cake.
Now, all these years later, we have a lot to be thankful for. We’re still laughing, thanks to my eyes; we can make it to any donut shop, thanks to his GPS; and chocolate cake still heals stuff. “And all God’s people said…” Well, you know.