My husband is a completely beige person. I’m not talking about his race or his favorite color palate, I mean in terms of his personality. Beige does not mean boring or uninteresting and I happen to love our beige walls, they’re very calming. Just like he can be very calming. But be warned, under the surface there is a splash of something else.
In order to make beige, say, in art class, you have to first make brown by mixing red, yellow, and white with a smidgeon of blue (I love the word smidgeon, it sounds like an exotic but cuddly pet). Once you’re happy with your brown you can add more white and pale, pale yellow to come up with the right shade of beige. Ditto cake icing, which for reasons I don’t have to tell you about I find myself making more than I make paint, although not usually in beige.
So my sweet beigest of husbands hangs out in this life, usually unruffled by the day-to-day crap that sends the rest of us reaching for the bottle. Firing people at work? He can always get a job at Walmart. Car exhaust is intensifying global warming? The animals will adapt to the flood waters by growing webbed feet. A crew of Chilean miners are trapped below ground? Hey, it’s good to get away sometimes.
However, don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by the fact that this man rarely gets animated by anything other than college football, and even then he watches it in another part of the house so the rest of us aren’t disturbed by his exuberance (I love that word, too). Lurking beneath the surface of his beige, that firey red is ready to pounce at an undisclosed time.
For all that he doesn’t seem to be bothered by much, at least out loud, he does love to plot revenge against people who have wronged him, usually me. Or the dog. He never intends to follow through with any of the revenge but it’s almost as if it is very healing for him to plan what he would do to get back at this person if he were the kind of person who would do that. This man is either slightly delusional or smarter than us all.
My husband’s favorite revenge is the Flaming Bag of Poo. When an incident occurs that cannot be ignored because it is just far too heinous (great word, especially when the prosecutor from My Cousin Vinny says it), my husband will draw a deep breath and announce with all the magnitude of Brando’s Don Corleone, “That man needs a flaming bag of poo.” He is referring, of course, to the childhood practice of setting a brown paper lunch sack filled only part-way with dog droppings on someone’s porch, lighting it on fire, ringing the door bell, and running away only far enough to be able to enjoy watching from the cover of shrubbery as the homeowner stomps on the small fire and ruins his favorite shoes.
Problem One: my husband doesn’t do anything on a small scale, so if he ever is going to place this burning poop bomb on someone’s front porch, it will be a brown paper grocery sack. And it will not contain a few dog droppings, it will be filled to the brim.
Problem Two: at this time my husband does not have anyone who has given a verbal or written commitment to be the poop donor. I’m afraid he may have to take on that role himself since I refuse to take part in pottying into a brown paper bag unless I find myself in a horribly unsafe third-world country without any facilities and even then, why am I keeping it in a bag? I also will not scar our children this way, so he will have to have outsiders who are willing to sign on to do this, without compensation I must say. Our dog is a fairly small poodle and we would have to switch to the highest-of-fiber brands of dog food and even then it would take months of saving up the poo. By the time we’ve kept a brown paper bag containing dog poop in our garage for a long enough time to fill the sack in order to exact revenge on someone else, whom have we really hurt?
Problem Three: my sweet beige husband will never, ever adhere to the running away part. That’s for cowards. If he’s going to do something to you, you’re going to know he did it because he’s going to stand there approximately three feet away from you, chatting with you while you stomp yourself knee deep in poop from various sources. There is a very short list of honorable things for which I would bail my husband out of jail—say, he saw a man beating his child and my husband punched him out, which he would do by the way—setting fire to literal crap for his own amusement is not one of those things.
Fortunately, over the years there have been very few times when my husband has announced that he needed to Flaming Bag of Poo someone. Usually it involves something that someone has done that isn’t necessarily illegal but that still reeks of inhumanity. When an elderly member of our church told a fairly shabbily-dressed visitor not to wear flip flops to church, my husband actually looked up the older man’s address (okay, I would have driven the getaway car for that one). When we heard that one area department store wanted to charge the Girl Scout troop a vendor fee for letting them sell cookies in the parking lot on a Saturday morning, those folks were in biohazardous danger. My favorite heroic pooing would still have to be the time the city took all of the swings off of the playground swing sets because teenagers liked to sit in them in the evenings and listen to music played through a car stereo. My husband actually started looking in the pantry for paper bags.
But now, there is an imminent poo on the horizon. The beautiful trees at the campus where my husband and I met were needlessly and horrifically assaulted. The Toomer’s Oaks of Auburn, just two simple magnificent trees that have shaded hundreds of thousands of college students in their one hundred thirty years, were taken out by a probably-drunken and, by all reports from family and friends unstable, redneck. My husband grabbed the newspaper and an extra roll of toilet paper and headed upstairs before I could stop him.
“What do you think you’re doing?” I called through the locked bathroom door.
“Nothing,” he answered, his voice muffled by the sudden whirring of the bathroom exhaust fan.
“I know what you’re doing in there!” I shouted, pounding on the door. “Let the law handle it! This is not your fight! It’s not worth it!”
“Someone has to speak up for those trees!” he shouted back, unfolding the newspaper and settling in for apparently the evening.
“He’s in custody all ready, justice will be served!” I cried.
“Good! Then he’s not home to put out the fire! Maybe his whole house will go!” he answered, turning to the sports section. No, not the sports section. If anything could induce someone to fill a paper sack it’s the news from the athletic world. The steroid allegations alone are poop inspiration, let alone the names from the upcoming college football recruiting class and the amounts of the signing bonuses various NFL draft picks will receive. I cried silently into my dishtowel and left him to his terribly non-beige revenge.