Chris Johnson: Anyone want a ceramic chicken?

July 27, 2013 

I remember watching "Wheel of Fortune" when I was a kid, and it was a very different show back then.

During the early rounds, when contestants solved a puzzle, they had a thousand or so bucks with which they had to immediately "shop" from sets on the stage that were full of useless junk. They'd get down to about $125 and about one thing left in their budget. Then they'd say something like, "And, I guess I'll take the ceramic chicken for $100."

Now, thankfully, they just say you won the money and move on to the next round.

Back then, I was a kid, and life was simpler. I wondered why anyone would need a ceramic chicken, an empty vase, a decorative pillow or fine china they would never use because they didn't know anyone high-fallutin' enough to use it -- certainly not in their family.

But then I found out why they make such things -- because women want them. Well, wives specifically, which usually are women, though not always anymore. I've noticed that wives, including mine, are all about buying some useless stuff.

And I'm not talking about strange wife purchases like pocketbooks and shoes. Granted, they ought to be able to tote all their stuff around in a plastic Piggly Wiggly bag and shouldn't need more than four pair of shoes, but at least pocketbooks and shoes do have function. Not $250 worth of function, mind you, but function nonetheless.

This all came to mind while I was walking around our neighborhood with my wife, who was wearing shoe pair No. 45 at the time but had left pocketbook No. 11 at the house. We walked by a house where we thought a single fella lived but noticed some fancy initial on the door and all sorts of dainty, useless things around his porch. We knew a woman had invaded.

When a man and woman get married, the woman is immediately installed as chief decorator, while the man gets a small room somewhere to call his own -- or if he's really fortunate, a man cave.

It then becomes a woman's duty to

occasionally check out the man's space, roll her eyes, shut the door to keep others from seeing it and say things like, "A picture of dogs playing roulette is not art!" (Is, too!)

The man's duty is to politely nod when the wife pulls out the new thingamajiggy she bought at the funny smelling furnishings shop and calmly inquire, "YOU PAID HOW MUCH FOR THAT?!"

I make the effort. I even accompanied my wife as she went pocketbook shopping last weekend. She'd ask me how I liked each pocketbook, and I'd offer helpful observations such as, "Well, lookee there: It's got handles to carry it around and you can put stuff inside it."

Meanwhile, women practically have to hogtie their husbands and steal their ratty wallet to get them to replace it. As long as the money is not falling out, we men will hold onto a $10 wallet for decades.

My biggest pet peeve, though, is pillows and placemats.

Our bed is kept hidden under a pile of pillows of various sizes, styles and colors. To get in, we have to move all the pillows around and throw some off the bed. And to make the bed -- which, as a guy, I contend is a useless activity when you're just gonna get back in the darn thing -- we have to retrieve and rearrange the pillows once again. Somehow I manage to do it wrong each time. I'd have better luck rearranging a Rubik's Cube.

Our dining table is hidden under a set of placemats, plates we don't use, napkins we don't wipe our mouths with and fake flowers. So, we have to shuffle all this around so we can eat, then put it all back afterward as if we still haven't eaten. I don't need anything delaying my rendezvouses with food. I would like to make a proposal to the women out there. Let us handle the decorating for a while. There's nothing wrong with end tables made out of plastic milk crates, bean bag chairs or sports posters instead of pictures of fake flowers.

Not only would your man's decorating be simpler and more functional, but think of all the money you'd have to buy more pocketbooks and shoes.

-- Connect with Chris Johnson at Facebook.com/KudzuKidWriting or kudzukid88@gmail.com.

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