I Stand Before You, To Stand Behind You

When I was a kid, I had a wood shop teacher named Mr. George Meuser. His humor and quick wit were matched only by his handlebar mustache. He would frequently breakout into his rendition of this poem, although I don’t remember the “Ladles and Jellyspoons” portion.

For a long time I would frequently spend time searching Google to find the rest of the poem since I could only remember his first line. Initially, each search came up empty. Then, just recently, I search again and I found multiple entries of people looking for the words to the same poem.

books

Ladles and Jellyspoons

Ladles and Jellyspoons,
I come before you, to stand behind you,
To tell you something I know nothing about.
Next Thursday, which is Good Friday,
There will be a mothers’ meeting for fathers only.
Admission is free, pay at the door,
Pull up a seat and sit on the floor.
We will be discussing the four corners of the round table.

Author: Unknown

The other point that was interesting to me was the number of variations of the poem that exists. You can see some of them here, as well as the debate as to who was the original author.

I just purchased the paperback version A Rocket in My Pocket, Carl Withers, where it appears, according to Google Books, it has the original poem. I’m looking forward to reading that when it arrives.

I’m curious if you’ve heard of this poem and what version did you hear originally? Was it different from what is list here? Give me your feedback – I’d love to hear it.

16 Ways I Blew My Marriage (Repost)

Note: This post has resonated with many folks. Dan Pearce, the author of the “16 Ways” piece did a great job. I don’t know Dan, but I’m glad I was able to find his story and pass his information along. He has a blog titled “Single Dad Laughing”. I’ve been surprised about the amount of traffic this post has garnered (although, it’s exciting too), but I don’t want to take credit that isn’t mine. I came across Dan’s post back in October. I encourage you to check it out. Thanks for sharing so many comments – go over and tell Dan, I’m sure he’d love to hear the feedback too! (TP)

Recently, I had a friend who just celebrated his first anniversary, then the birth of his first son all while starting his own business. He asked what advise I’d give him on topic of marriage (obviously demonstrating his level of desperation by asking me), but my list included:

  1. Be the first to apologize.
  2. Be quick to forgive.
  3. Your wife and your family is your first ministry – more important than all others.
  4. Remember that obedience is better than sacrifice. (1Sam 15). It will help set your priorities.

What would you say?

Then I came across “16 Ways I Blew My Marriage”  from a friend who posted it on Facebook. I thought it was an interesting insight by someone who has “lived it”. Even if I don’t necessarily agree with all of his points or reasons, there is some great insight here. Warning – some of the points may be more “adult” than what is appropriate for everyone to read. I’m just sayin’.

You know what blows big time?

The other night I was sitting with my family, most of whom are very successfully married. We were going in a circle giving our best marriage advice to my little sister on the eve of her wedding. It’s somewhat of a family tradition.

But that’s not what blows. What really blows is that I realized I don’t have any good marriage advice to give. After all, I’ve never had a successful marriage out of the two marriages I did have.

And so, when it was my turn, I just made a joke about divorce and how you should always remember why you loved your spouse when you first met her so that when times get tough you can find someone new that is just like she was.

There were a couple courtesy giggles, but overall my humor wasn’t welcome in such a beautifully building ring of profundity.

They finished round one, and for some reason started into another round. And that’s when I realized. Hey. I don’t have marriage advice to give, but I have plenty of “keep your marriage from ending” advice (two equivocally different things), and that might be almost as good.

It eventually came to me again, and what I said would have been such great advice if I were a tenth as good at saying things as I was at writing them.

And so, that night, I sat down and wrote out my “advice list” for my little sister. You know… things I wish I would have known or done differently so that I didn’t end up divorced (twice). After writing it, I thought maybe I’d share it with all of you, too.

I call it my “Ways I Blew My Marriage” list. Also, for the list’s sake, I am just going to refer to “her” instead of “them” even though they almost all were true in both marriages.

1. DON’T STOP HOLDING HER HAND

When I first dated the woman I ended up marrying, I always held her hand. In the car. While walking. At meals. At movies. It didn’t matter where. Over time, I stopped. I made up excuses like my hand was too hot or it made me sweat or I wasn’t comfortable with it in public. Truth was, I stopped holding hands because I stopped wanting to put in the effort to be close to my wife. No other reason.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I’d hold her hand in the car. I’d hold her hand on a star. I’d hold her hand in a box. I’d hold her hand with a fox. And I’d hold her hand everywhere else, too, even when we didn’t particularly like each other for the moment.

BONUS!

When you hold hands in the winter, they don’t get cold. True story.

2. DON’T STOP TRYING TO BE ATTRACTIVE.

Obviously when I was working to woo her, I would do myself up as attractively as I possibly could every time I saw her. I kept perfectly groomed. I always smelled good. I held in my farts until she wasn’t around. For some reason, marriage made me feel like I could stop doing all that. I would get all properly groomed, smelling good, and dressed up any time we went out somewhere or I went out by myself, but I rarely, if ever, cared about making myself attractive just for her.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I’d try and put my best foot forward throughout our entire marriage. I’d wait to fart until I was in the bathroom whenever possible. I’d make myself desirable so that she would desire me.

BONUS!

When you trim your man hair, guess what. She returns the favor.

 3. DON’T TELL YOUR SPOUSE HER WEAKNESSES.

For some reason, somewhere along the way, I always ended up feeling like it was my place to tell her where she was weak and where she could do better. I sure as heck didn’t do that while we were dating. No, when I dated her I only built her up, only told her how amazing she was, and easily looked past all of her flaws. After we got married though, she sometimes couldn’t even cook eggs without me telling her how she might be able to improve.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I wouldn’t say a damned thing about anything that I thought could use improvement. I’ve learned since my marriage ended that there is more than one right way to do most things, and that the imperfections of others are too beautiful to try and change.

BONUS!

When you tell her what she’s doing right, she’ll tell you what you’re doing right. And she’ll also tell her friends. And her family. And the dentist. And even strangers on the street.

4. DON’T STOP COOKING FOR YOUR SPOUSE.

I knew how to woo a girl, for sure. And the ticket was usually a night in, cooking a nice meal and having a romantic evening. So why is it then, that I didn’t do that for her after we got married? Sure, I’d throw some canned soup in the microwave or fry up some chimichangas once in a while, but I rarely if ever went out of my way to sweep her off her feet after we were married by steaming crab legs, or making fancy pasta, or setting up a candlelit table.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I’d make it a priority to cook for her, and only her, something awesome at least every month. And I’d remember that meat in a can is never awesome.

BONUS!

Candlelit dinners often lead to candlelit bow chica bow-wow.

5. DON’T YELL AT YOUR SPOUSE.

I’m not talking about the angry kind of yelling. I’m talking about the lazy kind of yelling. The kind of yelling you do when you don’t want to get up from your television show or you don’t want to go ALL THE WAY UPSTAIRS to ask her if she’s seen your keys. It really doesn’t take that much effort to go find her, and yelling (by nature) sounds demanding and authoritative.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I’d try to go find her anytime I needed something or wanted to know something, and I’d have both gratitude and manners when I did. I always hated when she would yell to me, so why did I always feel it was okay to yell to her?

BONUS!

Sometimes you catch her doing something cute that you would have missed otherwise.

6. DON’T CALL NAMES.

I always felt I was the king of not calling names, but I wasn’t. I may not have called her stupid, or idiot, or any of the other names she’d sometimes call me, but I would tell her she was stubborn, or that she was impossible, or that she was so hard to deal with. Names are names, and calling them will drive bigger wedges in communication than just about anything else.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

Any time it got to the point that I wanted to call names, I’d call a time-out and come back to it later. Or better yet, I’d call her names, but they’d be names like “super sexy” or “hotness.” Even in the heat of the moment.

BONUS!

She’ll call you names in better places. Like the bedroom.

7. DON’T BE STINGY WITH YOUR MONEY.

As the main bread earner, I was always so stingy with the money. I’d whine about the cost of her shampoo or that she didn’t order water at restaurants, or that she’d spend so much money on things like pedicures or hair dye jobs. But seriously. I always had just as many if not more things that I spent my money on, and in the end, the money was spent, we were just fine, and the only thing my bitching and moaning did was bring undo stress to our relationship.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I’d tell her I trusted her to buy whatever she wanted, whenever she felt like she needed it. And then, I’d actually trust her to do it.

BONUS!

Sometimes she will make bad purchase decisions, which leads to makeup purchase decisions. Like that new gadget you’ve had your eyes on.

 8. DON’T ARGUE IN FRONT OF THE KIDS.

There was never any argument that was so important or pressing that we couldn’t wait to have it until the kids weren’t there. I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist or super-shrink to know why fighting in front of the kids is a dangerous and selfish way of doing things.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I would never, ever, not even once fight in front of the kids, no matter how big or how small the issue was. I’d maybe make a code word that meant, “not with the kids here.”

BONUS!

When you wait to fight, usually you both realize how stupid or unimportant the fight was and the fight never happens.

9. DON’T ENCOURAGE EACH OTHER TO SKIP WORKING OUT.

I always thought it was love to tell my spouse, “I don’t care if you don’t take care of yourself. I don’t care if you don’t exercise. I don’t care if you let yourself go.” But that was lying, and it was lying when she said it to me because the truth is, we did care and I wish that we would have always told each other how sexy and attractive the other was any time we’d go workout or do something to become healthier.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I’d ask her to tell me that she cared. I’d ask her to encourage me to go to the gym. I’d ask her to remind me of my goals and tell me I’m strong enough to keep them.

BONUS!

Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. And happy people don’t kill other people. (Name that movie!)

10. DON’T POOP WITH THE BATHROOM DOOR OPEN.

I don’t know why, but at some point I started thinking it was okay to poop with the bathroom door open, and so did she. First of all, it’s gross. Second of all, it stinks everything up. Third of all, there is literally no way to make pooping attractive, which means that every time she saw me do it, she, at least in some little way, would have thought I was less attractive.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I’d shut the damn door and poop in private.

BONUS!

When she does think of your naked body, she’s not going to be thinking about it in a grunting/squatting position.

11. DON’T STOP KISSING HER.

It always got to a point when I’d more or less stop kissing her. Usually it was because things were stressful and there was tension in our relationship, and so I’d make it worse by refusing to kiss her. This of course would lead to her feeling rejected. Which would of course lead to arguments about it. Other times I had my own issues with germs and whatnot.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I’d kiss her in the morning when she looked like people do in the morning. I’d kiss her at night when she’s had a long day. I’d kiss her any time I felt like she secretly wanted a kiss. And, I’d kiss her even when my germ issues kicked in.

BONUS!

She feels loved when you kiss her. That’s bonus enough.

12. DON’T STOP HAVING FUN TOGETHER.

Age shouldn’t matter. Physical ability shouldn’t matter. Couples should never stop having fun with each other, and I really wish I wouldn’t have gotten into so many ruts in which we didn’t really go out and do anything. And, I’ve been around the block enough times to know that when the fun is missing, and the social part of life is missing, so also goes missing the ability to be fully content with each other.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I’d make a rule with her that we’d never stay home two weekends in a row.

BONUS!

Awesome stories and awesome memories come from doing awesome things. And so do cherished embarrassing moments.

13. DON’T PRESSURE EACH OTHER.

Pressuring each other about anything is always a recipe for resentment. I always felt so pressured to make more money. I always felt so pressured to not slip in my religion. I always felt so pressured to feel certain ways about things when I felt the opposite. And I usually carried a lot of resentment. Looking back, I can think of just as many times that I pressured her, so I know it was a two-way street.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I’d make it a point to celebrate the different views, opinions, and ways that she had of doing things. I’d find the beauty in differentiation, not the threat.

BONUS!

Authentic happiness becomes a real possibility. And so do authentic foot rubs.

14. DON’T LABEL EACH OTHER WITH NEGATIVE LABELS.

Sometimes the easiest phrases to say in my marriage started with one of three things. Either, “you should have,” “you aren’t,” or “you didn’t.” Inevitably after each of those seemed to come something negative. And since when have negative labels ever helped anyone? They certainly never helped her. Or me. Instead, they seemed to make the action that sparked the label worsen in big ways.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I would learn to stop myself before saying any of those phrases, and then I’d switch them out for positive labels. Instead of “you should,” I’d say “you are great at.” Instead of saying “you aren’t,” I’d say “you are.” Instead of saying “you didn’t,” I’d say, “you did.” And then I’d follow it up with something positive.

BONUS!

The noblest struggles become far more conquerable. And you don’t think or believe that you’re a schmuck, which is always nice.

15. DON’T SKIP OUT ON THINGS THAT ARE IMPORTANT TO HER.

It was so easy in marriage to veto so many of the things she enjoyed doing. My reasoning, “we can find things we both enjoy.” That’s lame. There will always be things she enjoys that I will never enjoy, and that’s no reason not to support her in them. Sometimes the only thing she needs is to know that I’m there.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I’d attend many more of the events that she invited me to. I would actively participate and not tell all the reasons why I’d do it differently or how it could be better or more fun or time better spent.

BONUS!

Go to something she knows you don’t enjoy and the gratitude gets piled on later that night, like whipped cream on a cheesecake.

16. DON’T EMOTIONALLY DISTANCE YOURSELF AFTER A FIGHT.

I never got to experience the power of make-up sex because any time my wife was mean or we got in a fight, I’d completely distance myself from her, usually for several days. Communication would shut down and I’d avoid contact at all cost. This never let things get worked out, and eventually after it had happened enough times I’d explode unnecessarily.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I’d let myself communicate my emotions and feelings more often, and I’d make sure that she knew I still loved her any time we had an ugly bout. Sure, we’d give each other some distance. But not days of distance.

BONUS!

Fantastic make-up sex. Or at least that’s the theory.

I had lots more, but the list started getting super long so I’ll stop right there. It’s amazing when you’ve had relationships end, just how much you learn and know you could have done differently, isn’t it?

My sister and her new husband will be amazing. Hopefully she’ll always be giving amazing marriage advice in the future and never have to hand out the “keep your marriage from ending” advice like I get to.

Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing

PS. Would love your comments on today’s posts. What do you agree/disagree with? What did I miss?

PPS. If you’re new here, we would love for you to follow along with Single Dad Laughing! We have a ton of fun around here. A great place to start is with my top posts from the past.

You can view the article here and Dan’s blog here.

Commercials That Made Me Laugh Today

A new one (to me) and one that’s been around for a while

iPhone Santa

2012 Honda Pilot “Road Trip” TV Commercial

You can also see the extended version here.

A few Dilbert Pick-Me-Ups

When things get busy, I’m so thankful for my Dilbert Desk calendar.

Para… what?

The Letter PI came across this at my office the other day. With a little research, I found that it was posted on anther WordPress site, although theirs is expanded from what I read in the office with some fantastic additions. Thanks to the folks at PA Pundits – International for a good laugh. While they all can make you smile, I highlighted a few of my personal favorites in bold. (#31 just might be my No. 1 favorite.) Enjoy!

Paraprosdokian sentences

A “paraprosdokian” is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part. It is frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect.

  1. Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.
  2. I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather. Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.
  3. The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on the list.
  4. Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
  5. If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.
  6. We never really grow up; we only learn how to act in public.
  7. War does not determine who is right — only who is left.
  8. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  9. The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
  10. Evening news is where they begin with “Good evening,” and then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.
  11. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.
  12. A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. My desk is a work station.
  13. How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?
  14. Dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish.
  15. I thought I wanted a career; turns out I just wanted pay checks.
  16. A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don’t need it.
  17. Whenever I fill out an application, in the part that says “If an emergency, notify:” I put “DOCTOR.”
  18. I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
  19. Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?
  20. Why do Americans choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America?
  21. Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.
  22. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
  23. You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
  24. The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas!
  25. Always borrow money from a pessimist. He won’t expect it back.
  26. A diplomat is someone who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you will look forward to the trip.
  27. Hospitality: making your guests feel like they’re at home, even if you wish they were.
  28. Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.
  29. I discovered I scream the same way whether I’m about to be devoured by a great white shark or if a piece of seaweed touches my foot.
  30. Some cause happiness wherever they go. Others whenever they go.
  31. There’s a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can’t get away.
  32. I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not sure.
  33. When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water.
  34. You’re never too old to learn something stupid.
  35. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.
  36. A bus is a vehicle that runs twice as fast when you are after it as when you are in it.
  37. If you are supposed to learn from your mistakes, why do some people have more than one child?
  38. Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

Texas Beer Joint Sues Church Over Lightning Strike

Lightning StrikeTEXAS BEER JOINT SUES CHURCH OVER LIGHTNING STRIKE

Drummond’s Bar began construction on an expansion of their building to increase their business. In response, the local Baptist church started a campaign to block the bar from expanding with petitions and prayers. Work progressed right up until the week before the grand reopening when lightning struck the bar and it burned to the ground.

After the bar burned to the ground as a result of the lightning strike, the church folks were rather smug in their outlook, bragging about “the power of prayer,” until the bar owner sued the church on the grounds that the church “was ultimately responsible for the demise of his building, either through direct or indirect actions or means.” I

In its reply to the court, the church vehemently denied all responsibility or any connection to the building’s demise. The judge read through the plaintiff’s complaint and the defendant’s reply, and at the opening hearing he commented, “I don’t know how I’m going to decide this, but it appears from the paperwork that we have a bar owner who believes in the power of prayer and an entire church congregation that now does not.”

Comment:

I know this has been passed around the internet multiple times, but I still think it’s funny. Everything I’ve read, this is not a true story, but it does cause me to consider. When you are in the day/time/situation when you’re challenged in what you believe what will you do. Also, a great warning to believers concerning arrogance and pride.

Dilbert…Strikes Again

My Daily Dilbert desk calendar is “in the zone” right now. Another home run from Mr. Adams.

Dilbert 06-11-2008