VIEW FROM THE HILL- Continuing ed options for couples

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN PAUL PENNER
While surfing the Internet for useful topics to write about, I have found that battle between the sexes is a common topic.

In one Agriculture Online chat room, a woman submitted a list of courses she would like her husband to take. I copied the course list and edited it for clarity. They are presented for your benefit.

Class 1: “How to fill up the ice-cube trays.” Step-by-step demonstration and slide presentations.

Class 2: “The toilet paper roll: Does it change itself?” Roundtable discussion.

Class 3: “Fundamental differences between the laundry hamper and the floor: The art of picking up clothes and throwing accuracy.” Graphics and pictures.

Class 5: “After-dinner dishes: Can they levitate and fly into the kitchen sink?” Video presentations.

Class 6: “Loss of identity and losing the remote to your significant other.” Help line and support groups available after class.

Class 7: “Learning how to find things without screaming.” Practicum explores proper search methods. Graduation from this course is determined by a final exam in your own home. Warning: Web cam will record your performance while family watches.

Class 8: “The stove and oven: What it is and how it is used.” Live demonstration.

Class 9: “Health watch: Bringing spouse flowers is not harmful to your health.” Audio and video presentations.

Class 10: “Real men ask for directions when lost.” Testimonials included.

Class 11: “Automobiles: Spouses who drive vehicles and the men who love them enough to remain quiet while a passenger.” Relaxation techniques and driving simulations included.

Class 12: “Basic differences between your mother and your wife.” Learning to live through role-playing.

Class 13: “The lost art of romance: Remembering birthdays, anniversaries and other special moments in her life.” Introductory course in the use of flowers, cards and love notes. Included are methods used to notify spouse when you are going to be late. Shock therapy sessions and lobotomies offered at extra cost.

Class 14: “Toilet bowel fundamentals.” Can one use it standing up? Is the floor a part of the bowel, or not? Is the lid decorative art or a useful tool? Operations manuals and group practice included.

The author concluded with this pronouncement, “Upon completion of any of the above courses, diplomas will be issued to the survivors.”

I confess: I embellished some classes-numbers 7, 13 and 14. On 13, the lobotomy and shock therapy suggestion was the author’s idea, not mine. I added the note about flowers, cards and love notes.

I can relate to the other course descriptions. I know the proper use of the toilet lid. I also ask for directions when lost. As for the toilet paper roll, I am able to identify and put it in its proper place-with the end over the top-even while blindfolded.

The biggest challenge for me is No. 11. I’m still working on that one.

In the interest of have a fair gender-based discussion, I believe it is appropriate to create a list of educational courses a woman might find useful when cohabitating with her spouse.

With all seriousness aside, I continue….

Course 1: “Your space, my space -bathroom shelves and countertops.” Whose space is it? Can a razor, shaving cream, shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrush coexist among mirrors, soaps, lotions and unmentionables? Do all women’s items deserve close proximity to the sink and mirror? Live demonstrations in one- and two-bathroom environments.

Course 2: “Your space, my space -showers, tubs, shelves and ledges.” Whose space is it? Sequel to Course 1. Live demonstrations in one- and two-bathroom environments.

Course 3: “Illusion or love: Shopping trips that began as a romantic night out.” Due to the potentially inflammatory nature of this topic, we recommend all credit cards be locked away for the duration of the study.

I confess, once again, to a failure of sorts. At this time, the course offerings are lacking in number, primarily due to a lack of imagination.

The short list implies an imbalance in gender relationships, that women are closer to perfect than men are.

Before men respond to that assumption, remember: your best option at this point is to remain quiet. After all, who would dare point out the spouse’s “minor” imperfections when date night looms on the horizon?

Bravery in most matters of life is an admirable character trait. In matters of the heart, though, bravery can get you five to 10 in the slammer.

This brings me to course offering No. 4. This is a mixed-gender class where men are invited to model for their spouses. I don’t have all the details written down yet, but the gist of the class work will focus on men’s responses when the cold atmosphere prematurely cancels date night.

Part of the curriculum will include learning to apologize with appropriate sincerity. Sometime ago, a humorist penned a generic apology any man could use whenever he got into trouble. I believe this could be rendered gender neutral, except in extreme cases.

The apology went this way, ore or less: “Honey, I sincerely apologize for (insert infraction here). As usual, you are right, I was wrong. I willingly submit to whatever punishment or dismemberment (insert appropriate part of anatomy here) you deem necessary. Please accept this gift (insert appropriate gift of jewelry, clothes, vacation get-away, hunting trip, car, truck, money, etc.) as a token of my contrite heart.”

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