I tell my wife, "I have binders full of women," she's gonna say two things.
"What do you mean 'binders full,'" she's going to say. "You mean porn? Where is it? In the basement? Pig!"
Then she's gonna say: "You got porn in binders? You can look at porn on the Internet. For free. No binders. Stupid pig!"
This is why I will never run for political office. My wife, a reporter at the same paper where I work, is my professional equal, which means she can say all kinds of stuff to me. Mean stuff, too. Worst of all, and this makes us communists, we work for a union newspaper, so we make exactly the same amount of money, based on our years with the paper.
I told you we were communists.
Perhaps because she is responsible for paying half the mortgage, my wife is not an endlessly supportive, adoring dumbass who spends her free time either in church or teaching horses to dance. Maybe she'd like to spend her life that way, but we don't have enough money.
And it's not like that's a new thing in our family, women working. My mother-in-law is a retired factory worker. My mother worked in banks and as a dental assistant. My wife's and my grandmothers worked in cotton mills. For the women who came before me, work was not a matter of "liberation," it was a matter of eating regularly. Sadly, I am such a poor provider that my wife has to work, like I have to work.
My wife is working the night shift tonight. It wasn't her choice, either. Every two weeks, the city editor of our paper posts a schedule on the wall near his desk. You work what the schedule says you work, and if your horse gets lonely while you're at work, then the horse has to cry himself to sleep. You work for $45,000 a year, sometimes you gotta disappoint your horse. If the paper we work goes under, we might have to eat our horse, or in our case, our cat, since we don't have a horse
Sometimes, work makes you disappoint your kids. Or your mother in the nursing home.
Being a working person means you have to disappoint people all the time, mostly because you have to be at work or you're tired from work or because you're out of work and you don't have the money to buy your kid a birthday present. Or maybe you work all the time, and you still don't have enough money.
That's what equal pay for equal work is about — needing money and working for it and wanting to be paid every nickel you earn because you need every nickel you earn.
Not being paid what you're worth is not like being too poor to provide sufficient dance training for your horse. If your dancing horse is insufficiently trained, then he doesn't win the blue ribbon, and you feel sad. If you don't make enough money to pay the rent, you sleep under an overpass and your clothes start to smell like garbage. That's a big difference right there.
And God (maybe I'm not such a communist) bless Ann Romney for having married a guy who bought her out of every variety of work-related trouble. It's more than my grandmother or my mother or my wife ever got.
Yeah. Mitt Romney's wife doesn't understand me.
See, my wife works, and we need — really need — the money she makes.
Which, among those of us who do not own dancing horses, is not uncommon.
If I get up at a party and say something stupid about equal pay for equal work, my wife gets to say, "How'd you like it if I didn't make the money I make?"
Which is not adoring or supportive, but which is proud and free.
To find out more about Marc Munroe Dion and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com. You can buy Dion's collection of his Creators Syndicate columns, "Between Wealth and Welfare: A Liberal Curmudgeon in America" on Amazon.com, Nook and itunes.
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