My husband is deeply in love with someone. Someone with a great personality. Someone that makes him feel like a real man. Someone with a really nice tush.
That someone is my husband, himself.
Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not poking fun. In fact, I’m quite jealous that my husband has so much self-respect and confidence. I’ve been trying my entire life to simply be mildly satisfied with myself, and all I can seem to muster is the fleeting thought that I’m kinda funny for a frumpy housewife.
By contrast, my husband’s ego is ironclad, and completely undiminished by hereditary balding, an ample spare tire, and no mechanical skills. He can’t even walk by a mirror or other reflective object without admiring his image. Every time he catches a glimpse of himself, he stretches his neck out a bit, sucks in his gut, and twists to the side to sneak a peek at his backside. It seems to reassure him that, “Yup, I’m as good looking as I think I am.”
My husband’s self-admiration has reached new heights this fall, thanks to our high school football team. On Friday nights, my husband slips into his Blue Devils replica jersey, double knots his sneakers, and gives himself a wink in the mirror before heading to the high school stadium.
At the ticket booth, he proudly says loud enough for everyone in line to hear, “I’m on the list – Chain Gang.” As a sacred volunteer, he saunters through the gate without paying, as if he is Snoop Dog being ushered through the velvet ropes at Studio 54.
He and the other chain gang dads gather near concessions for their weekly pre-game pow-wow. After handshakes and back slaps, they haggle over team stats and joke loudly, glancing around to see who’s watching.
Just before kick off, my husband slips to the back door of the concession booth to obtain the first of three cheeseburgers he will consume throughout the course of the night. Unfortunately, the volunteer coordinator offered the chain gang dads free food, and my husband takes full advantage, deeming it absolutely necessary for sustenance.
Cheeseburger #1 goes down in four chomps, and my husband disposes of the wrapper in one manly whip at the trashcans before marching purposefully across the lighted field to take his coveted position on the chains. As he approaches the opposing team’s side, he relishes his elevated status. Not everyone can walk onto the field minutes before kick off, but he can because he was chosen to be in the inner circle of football volunteers. Not just any volunteer, but the kind that get in free, can walk on the field, and eat anything they want. My husband has reached the top echelon, the pinnacle, the upper crust of the football volunteer hierarchy, and he knows it.
After a grueling half of standing while holding a pole, my husband makes a shamelessly public display of running back across the field at half time in search of more refreshments. He chugs a can of soda as if he’s just finished a marathon in Death Valley, and tosses the can with a masculine belch. Cheeseburger #2 is consumed with a serious demeanor – there’s still work to be done.
Thankfully, the 600-calorie burger gives my husband the strength he needs to endure standing with a pole for the last half of the game. When the final whistle is blown and the game is called, my husband parades his weary body back across the field one last time, waving and winking on the way as if he was an integral member of the coaching staff.
Despite his exhaustion, he moves swiftly because he knows he must get to concessions before it shuts down. Cheeseburger #3 in hand, he takes his place on the track to allow exiting spectators to get a good look at the illustrious chain gang.
Back at home, my husband carefully hangs his replica jersey back in the closet to await the next game, and readies himself for bed. Another glance in the mirror confirms what he already knows – he’s everything he ever wanted, and more.