Rusty Mitchum

Rusty Mitchum

I was lookin’ at myself in our bathroom mirror the other day when Janet walked in.

“What are you doing?” she asked.

“Just wonderin’,” I replied.

“Wondering what?”

“I was just wonderin’ whatever happened to that skinny young boy you married.”

“It looks like you ate him,” she said.

I turned and gave her with one of “those looks” like she gives me all the time. They never work on her. They bounce off of her like bullets do off of Superman. I turned back to the mirror.

“I’m serious. Can you believe I once had a 28-inch waist?”

“I can remember when you had a 28-inch neck,” she said.

Ignorin’ her comment, which is best for all parties involved, I continued to look at myself.

“Do you remember my first beard?” I asked. If truth be known, I was askin’ myself more than Janet.

“Oh yeah,” she said. “How could I forget that? It looked like you needed to be dipped for the mange.”

Keepin’ my composure, I continued. “But look how thick it is now.”

“If you think your beard is thick, you should see the hair on your back.”

“Hey,” I said, finally losin’ it. “You’re not helpin’ matters, you know.”

“What matters?” she asked.

“I’m just thinkin’ back to when I was young. I was thin, and had thick hair.”

“Now your hair is thin, and the rest of you is thick.”

“Boy, you’re on a roll, aren’t you?”

“Yeah,” she snickered. “I guess I am.”

“You didn’t used to be so sarcastic, you know. You used to be shy. What happened to that shy girl I married?”

“By the looks of it, you may have eaten her, too.”

“Hey, I’m serious.”

“Rusty, you are never serious. And, for your information, you are the one who drove me to sarcasm.”

“Me?”

“Yeah, you. It was either drive me to sarcasm or go crazy, and I chose sarcasm.”

“Drive you crazy? Me? Like how?”

“What do you mean like how?”

“Give me an example,” I said.

“Hmmm,” she said as she thought.

“Cat got your tongue?” I smiled.

“No, choosing one is like choosing one jelly bean out of a whole bowl of them. They’re all good, but trying to decide which one is the best is hard.”

“Funny.”

“Oh, how about when we were at the grocery store the other day?”

“What about it?”

“You said, ‘Hand me that can of sardines up there.’ I said, ‘What’s the magic word?’ You said. ‘Abracadabra.’ I said, ‘No, the magic word is please.’ You said, ‘Please what?’ I said, ‘Please hand me that can of sardines.’ You said, ‘You’re closer to them than me, get’um yourself.’ And then you said, ‘And while you’re at it get me a can, too.’”

“Well, you were closer,” I said.

“The point is you didn’t say please.”

“Please what?”

“Please hand me a can of sardines,” she said, through gritted teeth.

“Look around woman,” I said. “We’re in the bathroom. There ain’t no sardines in here.”

Anywho, as I write this, the knot on my head is healin’ nicely.

Rusty Mitchum lives in New Harmony, Texas, where he writes a regular column for The Lindale News and Times. He says the only reason he writes is to keep the voices away.