Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Story of Compromise

Dear King of Filibuster Abuse:

Since I know writing to you is a total waste of time and my only hope for change is by reaching the people who support you, I’m reconsidering how to proceed with this project. There’s also that nasty problem coming in January – Rand Paul. I ignored Senator Bunning for the most part but that won’t be possible with this one.

You might have to share space. That seems likely since your party gives the impression that you share a brain. Then again, he might surprise me and demand his own space. I guess I have a few weeks to see if this becomes Life With Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul (otherwise know as hell), or if I have to come up with a new blog name for my letters to him.

Meanwhile, I offer this short story for your supporters. In order to get them to see it, I’m sure I must include appropriate buzz words, so here goes:

If you believe Jesus died for you, this country is falling apart because we took prayer out of school and Christ out of Christmas, and the troops are fighting for your freedom, please copy this story and send it to everyone on your mailing list:

The Story of Compromise

Mary put the kids to bed and mopped the kitchen floor before she approached John with the bad news. “Because of your boat accident, we’re a little short this month.”

“How much is a little,” he asked.

“Three hundred.” To avoid seeing the disgusted look she was certain must be on his face, she picked at the nail she had broken on the dryer door earlier. “The amount of your deductible. I thought maybe you’d skip the golf trip this time.”

John snorted but didn’t miss a play on his video game. “Think again, Mary. I’ve gone to Florida one weekend a month for as long as you’ve known me. Way it’s always been. Way it’s going to stay.”

“But we don’t have the money, John. And we can’t keep borrowing from the retirement account. Soon, there won’t be anything left.”

“It’s my money.” He slammed the game on the arm of the chair. “Thanks for making me lose.”

“Your money? I thought it was ours,” she said. “I have a future to consider here, too.”

“Maybe you should consider making deposits,” he said as he picked up Sports Illustrated and settled on a page. “If you want to claim the savings, you’ll have to put something in. Far as I know, my hard-earned dollars are the only ones going in there but you keep taking them out.”

“Maybe I will,” she said. “Soon as you start paying me for washing your clothes, cooking your meals, hauling your kids around, keeping your books, sweeping your floors . . .”

“Cut the drama, Mary. Nobody made you marry me.”

“You wanted children. And you wanted me to stay home with them,” she reminded him.

“You made your bed.”

“Literally,” she said. “No matter how you change the subject, the fact remains that we don’t have the money for your trip this month. We’re scraping bottom and the kids need school clothes.”

“Guess you’ll have to find somewhere to trim the budget,” he said. “Cut on groceries. Cancel a dance class or a sports team. Drive less. You’ll figure it out.”

“You think the whole family should do without so you can play golf? It’s your fault we’re in this bind. Your boat, remember?”

“Give up your manicure,” he said, burying his nose deeper into the magazine.

Mary looked at her hands. “John, that’s the one thing I do for me. I go once a month. I’m gone two hours and you’re gone two days, and my outing costs less than you spend on one meal while you’re gone.”

“Whine, whine, whine. Is that all you can do? You always want something from me, Mary. Instead of thanking me for all the other manicures you get, you’re whining about the one I’ve asked you to give up.”

“One manicure won’t fix this problem, John. Five years of manicures won’t fix this problem. And it’s your boat.”

“And it’s always going to be my boat, and I’m always going on the golf trip,” he said. “Tell you what, though. I’m willing to compromise.”

Mary’s heart skipped a beat. Could it really be? “Compromise? You’d really do that, John?”

“Yes,” he said. “Here’s the deal. You give up manicures for the next year, cut salads from the grocery list because I hate them anyway, cancel dance classes and soccer teams, and I’ll make sure the kids get their school clothes by borrowing from my dad. You won’t have to touch the retirement.”

She thought it over, wrote it on paper, reviewed the deal, and considered carefully. “That’s a compromise to you? It feels terribly lopsided in your favor. Can’t you give up a dinner or share a hotel room with Rob until we’re out of the hole?”

“Mary, get over yourself.” Bob lowered the magazine and smiled. “Both sides find something they aren’t happy with in every compromise.”

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