CD Number: 23
Track Number 15
Song: “You Don’t Know Me” by Ben Folds ft. Regina Spektor found on my self-made mix Dual Speed Mixer
This was a disaster. A disaster unparalleled in her lifetime. At least, that is how Hannah felt.
Yes, of course, there was 9/11 and Katrina and some other things, too. She got that. But in terms of her life? This was the worst thing ever. Even worse than that time she threw up on Jimmy Wells’ shoes because she got too drunk at that high school graduation party. If she hadn’t done that, they totally would have made out. And probably got married, thus, sparing her this indignity. Okay, that one was worse then, because it led to this one. But otherwise…just wretched.
She and Larry were married eight months ago and while on their honeymoon, some guy, a producer, apparently, approached them and asked them if they wanted to be on a game show. It was some “Newlyweds” clone called “Just Tied the Knot” or “The Better Halves” or something. Honestly, the name had changed to at least five things before the taping and in her current condition, she could hardly be expected to remember which one they ended up going with. Oh! Maybe it was “Spouse Joust?” Except she hoped not because that was a monumentally stupid name.
But not nearly as stupid as it turned out Larry was. What kind of university would give that man a doctorate in chemical engineering, she did not know. Clearly, MIT was just coasting on reputations these days.
Anyway, this producer person asked and they had said yes. “Sure, why not?” they proclaimed, giggling like the kid who keeps eating paste without anyone noticing. Oh very naïve they were, Hannah reflected bitterly.
It had started out just fine. “What’s your spouse’s favorite room in the house,” the charisma black hole of a host with the heavily shellacked hair had asked. Easy, Hannah thought and wrote “The Kitchen” without a second’s hesitation. Of course it was the kitchen. It is where they chatted every morning before work. Where she caught him up on her day when he got home. How could it not be the kitchen?
Well, apparently, Larry is a pervert because he said the bedroom. And kind of guffawed when he did it. He was less a man and more a 12-year-old whose teacher had just said “duty.” Still it was nice to have her work acknowledged. She always did do her best to leave an impression. Besides, she knew they were not going to get every answer right. They were not perfect. The couple to their left, the husband with straight, gleaming teeth and a tight t-shirt and the wife with a beautiful lilting speaking voice and perfectly perky, pneumatic breasts? They might be perfect. But she and Larry, she thought, were good enough. One to two questions wrong good enough.
And perhaps that would have been good enough. Alas, she would never know because they quickly proved to be not one to two questions wrong good enough. Larry got that her favorite color was mauve and she guessed that his childhood idol had been Tom Cruise—so dreamy—so it seemed like they were on a roll. But then the bottom dropped one. He didn’t remember that the first time they met actually was not at mutual friend’s beach house, but rather a year early at a corporate retreat. She thought his number pet peeve related to her was the way she chewed gum. He said it was how she never hung her coat up when she got home from work.
They disagreed on where on where the strangest place they had ever made “whoopee” was. He said a moving car, but she was fairly sure that just oral sex was not what they were looking for so she guessed a Burger King bathroom. And yes, the Humpty Dance was the first single she ever bought. Also, do they still really need to say “whoopee?” She understood that they probably could not say “banging” or “boning” and certainly not the “f” word. And yes, “making the beast with two backs” would probably be a bit too literary for the kind of audience watching this kind of game show at two o’clock in the afternoon on a Wednesday, but “whoopee?” Would “sex” be too shocking? Had “making love” fallen out of favor and no one told her. Larry and her might be the world’s worst couple, but boy, this game show did have some lousy questions.
After the whoopee question, it was like they were in freefall. Hannah was convinced that Larry was just throwing the game to be a jerk now, to pay her back for all those times she had not hung up her coat. By the way, what a stupid pet peeve! Anyway…how else to explain him giving 15 as the number of previous partners she had when he knew damn well it was 14! Or insisting that Wedding Crashers was his favorite romantic comedy when he had clearly laughed harder at My Best Friend’s Wedding and it had more heart and Julia Roberts was so pretty and Wedding Crashers wasn’t really a romantic comedy anyway. No matter what Perky and Tight T-Shirt had to say about it!
But the worst moment was when Larry, all swelled up with unearned pride said that Hannah did not have an imaginary friend when she was growing up. She could have killed him in that moment. She most certainly did have one! Her name was Penelope and save for the time that Penelope had decided that Tiffany was a better singer than Debbie Gibson, they were the closest of friends! How could Larry not know that?!?! Hannah was sure she had mentioned Penelope to him as recently as last year when they went to the planetarium, since, as all imaginary friends do, Penelope had always been a HUGE planetarium fan. His mumbled excuse that he had just assumed Penelope was someone she knew from grade school just pissed her off more.
But she supposed, she did not marry Larry because of his brains or his memory. She didn’t marry him because he’d recognize that “whoopee” referred to the act of intercourse not oral. Hell, it was a dumb word anyway. She married how because he was funny, he smelled good always, even just after working on the lawn, and he knew when she needed to talk and when she needed him to maybe go out for a few hours. So, worst couple or not, she’d keep him.
As long as he agreed not to complain about her coat ever again.
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