Pick Your Battles
There are some things you don’t want to come home and catch your wife doing. Not things like the mailman (get out of the gutter, middle-schoolers!) but things like listening to Karen White’s Superwoman, going through your Facebook, or watching a Snapped marathon. Those things cannot end well.
For me, it’s walking in the house and seeing my wife on Walt Disney’s travel website.
Every year around this time, after 4 months of gray skies and endless rain, my wife gets restless. I start finding little notes around the house that say “All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy.” I damn near break my neck in the middle of the night from the nightstand that’s suddenly on my side of the bed because “the feng shui was off.” I don’t know feng or shui—I wanna know why I can’t see my tv without becoming a damn Cirque du Soleil contortionist. In a few subtle ways, my wife lets me know she needs to get out of the house.
And where better to go than Disneyland?
Look, I don’t have personal feelings one way or another about Disney-anything. Their movies ain’t bad—some of them are actually funny. I loved The Incredibles. The horse in Tangled had me DYIN! Jessica Rabbit had a niiiiiice set of—say what? That wasn’t Disney? Really? With the cartoons and everything—no? Well…nevermind…
Like I said, I’m ambivalent. My wife is an addict. She is a Mousejunkie. She loves all things Disney—Disney movies, Disneyland, keeps trying to make me dress up like the Beast so she can be Belle. Addict. And after being trapped in Snowmageddon for 7 days with the kids while I was tragically “stuck” in Los Angeles, I had no argument when she held out her hand for a credit card to book a TEN-DAY TRIP TO DISNEYWORLD. What could I say?
A long time ago I got into an argument with a man about a raccoon. I used to be a claims adjuster for an Insurance Company That Shall Not Be Named. Suffice it to say I was pretty damn neighborly. Anyway, I had a client who had a raccoon break into his house, piss all over the place, drive his dogs crazy enough to scratch through the walls, and have babies in his attic. It was FAN-tastic! I got him all square except for these expensive-ass artic-rated sleeping bags. Couldn’t replace those—it was against the policy. Few days after I closed the file, the guy calls me to say he figured out how I could pay for the sleeping bags. It’s my job: I’m all ears. The call went something like this:
ME: So watcha got?
HIM: I think I figured it out: Vandalism.
I read the definition for vandalism: willful and malicious intent to cause property damage.
ME: Ummm, I don’t think this is gonna work, man. It says “willful and malicious intent.” It was a raccoon.
HIM: But it willfully and maliciously broke into my house and peed on my stuff.
ME: Come on, man. I don’t think it was malicious—the raccoon didn’t break into your house to pee on your stuff because it was yours. It did it because that’s what raccoons do.
HIM: But it did! It did it on purpose.
We went round and round on this for a while until I had an audience. All my co-workers are crowding around to see how I’m gonna handle the raccoon argument. I make the point that a child under the age of six can’t legally form intent; is he suggesting that the raccoon has greater mental capacity than a 6-year-old human being? Finally I say:
“Well, look, did you have it arrested?”
ME: Did you have it arrested? You say it broke into your house and vandalized your stuff. If you show me a police report arresting the raccoon for vandalism, I will pay for your sleeping bags. Did you have it arrested?
ME: Why not?
HIM: Because it’s a raccoon!
And I hung up the phone.
I spent too much time on that call for something that wasn’t going to happen. Waayyy too much time. And I ruined his day and my own when I should have ended it right before it began. Funny or not, it was a battle I shouldn’t have fought.
In the end, you can’t win them all. I can’t fight the Disney machine (I did hand over the credit card); that man couldn’t get his sleeping bags paid for; Jessica Rabbit isn’t bad, she’s just drawn that way. And some battles aren’t worth fighting. They aren’t worth your time, your energy, your attention. So before you snap over that shitty review, engage in that negative Facebook conversation or speak up in that PTA meeting, STOP. Take a breath. Decide if this is a battle that’s really worth fighting. Everything else is just raccoon piss on sleeping bags: Not Covered.