"Hey, Tommy," you say to one such friend. "You hungry?"
"Yeah," Tommy says.
"Let's get a pizza," you say.
"Yeah," Tommy says.
Based on this fast, shrewd bit of communication, pizza is ordered.
Not so when you are married.
"I thought I'd have a can of soup for supper," I say to my wife.
"That's not much for supper," my wife says. "We have some leftover beef stew."
"I don't know," I say. "All I want is a can of soup."
"What kind are you going to have?" she says, petting the large calico cat sleeping next to her on the couch. The cat purrs.
"Chicken noodle," I say.
"We have beef noodle," she says.
"Don't we have chicken noodle?" I ask.
"Oh, yes," she says. "But we have beef noodle, too."
"I was thinking about the chicken noodle all day," I say.
"I bought the beef noodle because you asked for it," she says.
"I know," I say. "I just feel like chicken noodle."
"Well, if you don't like the beef noodle, just tell me and I won't buy it anymore," she says. The cat twitches its ears and settles deeper into sleep.
"Oh, I like the beef noodle," I say. "I just feel like having the chicken noodle."
I open the can of chicken noodle soup and pour it into a pan. I turn on the stove.
"Are you going to have bread with that?" she says. The cat rises from the couch and comes into the kitchen to investigate the chicken smell.
"I don't think so," I say.
"We have English muffins, too," she says.
"No," I say. "I'm just going to have the soup."
The cat attempts to climb the kitchen cabinet next to the stove, trying to get closer to the chicken smell. The cat is not physically able to climb up on the counter but she tries whenever I cook anything.
"Getouttahere," I say to the cat.
"Don't be mean to her," she says. "She's just a little kitty."
My wife is a newspaper reporter. She is a good writer and does not choose the word "kitty" over "cat" for no reason at all.
I pour the hot soup into a mug with a large picture of Elvis and the words "Love Me Tender" on the side. It was full of candy kisses when I bought it for her last Valentine's Day.
I take a spoon from the kitchen drawer and walk into the living room with the cup of soup. The cat follows.
"Napkin?" my wife says.
I return to the kitchen, still carrying the cup of steaming soup and the spoon. I get a paper napkin. The cat follows.
When you're married, it takes a long time to get anything done because negotiations are frequent. But at Christmas, and throughout the year, I am damn grateful I didn't have to spend the rest of my life ordering pizza with Tommy.
To find out more about Marc Munroe Dion and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com. Dion's books, "Between Wealth and Welfare: A Liberal Curmudgeon in America" and "Mill River Smoke," are available for Nook and Kindle.
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