Stay out of the poop


Earlier this week, I noticed my wife was in a bad mood. This is not like her, so I asked about the problem. She told me, and I offered some suggestions.

This was a mistake in the same category as that of the person who thought they could win a political argument on Facebook.

Idiots now smile as if they know something and tell me that I should not try to fix my wife’s problems. Pop psychologists (aka “idiots”) gleefully remind us that men like to fix problems and that women do not want men to fix problems, which is about the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Every women I have ever known more than casually was an expert problem-solver. My grandmother solved every problem I had, and still solves many of them though she has been in heaven for some time. If it is true that women are not interested in solving problems, then it follows that women enjoy problems, which I can assure you they do not. The women I know prefer the state of problem free, and so do the well-adjusted men I know. Moreover, if we are to believe the rampant nonsense that women do not want men to help them solve problem, then why do they keep telling us about their problems and – better – why do they keep electing men to offices with responsibility to solve problems even though we (men) are no good at it? Is a man’s only role to softly pat her hand as she drifts off to a land filled with unsolved problems?

Maybe. But let me rant a bit more.

I am a problem solver by trade. I’ve made living out of solving problems—a very nice living. I believe the difference between people who make a very nice living and those who are stuck in poverty is the level at which each solves problems. This is why your plumber makes more money than your lawyer, and your lawyer makes more money than your massage therapist. Bigger problems demand bigger paychecks to solve. 

The exceptions are many, but the rule holds. You and I pay and are paid to solve problems.

Unless we’re married.

In marriage, we solve problems together, or so I am told. I have no internal mechanism by which to understand this concept. God injected me with testosterone, which pushed to the margins the togetherness aspect of problem-solving. (Every man just nodded.)

So, I tried to do my problem-solving job and got into trouble. That’s not to say my wife is entirely at fault or that I am the victim, here. In fact, my approach was terrible and I accept full responsibility.

I asked the right question, which was something like you do not seem like yourself, my beloved. What is wrong, oh light of my life?

And then, I did not listen well to her answer. Had I listened well, I would have instantly known that she was feeling “in the poop” but she did not say “poop”. She said a word that is incredibly rare for her to say unless she spilled something. My wife does not have a well-refined potty mouth like I do.

Had I listened, I would have understood immediately that she was in the poop and simply complaining about the state of being in the poop, which is what most of us do when confronting an unsolvable conundrum like teenagers or airline miles or traffic or whatever it was she was in the poop about.

Here is a wise lesson from Mrs. Allen: When someone is complaining about being in the poop, and you or I try to help them in any way get out of the poop there is only one possible outcome.

You get poop on you.

When you customer comes to you, they want a problem solved. That's when you, like the wealthy plumber, get some of their poop on you. Otherwise, stay back.