The Humor and Life, in Particular Web site
author:  Margie Culbertson

Hard Headed Men


Kristine Lowder

August/September/October 2008 Humor Writing Contest Winner

Best Very Short Humor

I canít decide. Torn between pages 13 and 43 of J.C. Penneyís Spring Home Values Catalog, I flip–flop across pages like a bullfrog in a warm beaker.

The catalogís front cover pictures a beautiful bamboo and orchid comforter set with mosquito netting and gently billowing curtains. The headline claims, "Every day home values that fit the way you live."

Yeah, right. And Iím the tooth fairy.

I suppose I should quit while Iím ahead. But the Belinda Bedding set featured on page 43 wonít let me: "Airbrushed flowers with delicate embroidery accents grace a white background." Now weíre talking.

A veritable femme fatale of cotton and lace drips lavender and lilac over a scalloped bed skirt and floral underskirt. The scene makes my non–guy heart thump like a brass band. The "delicate accent pillows and lilac shams, flanged with scalloped edges" donít slow me down much.Iíve never laid eyes on a more estrogen–enhancing bed set. Then thereís the curtains, soft white and lavender confections that wave in an amethyst breeze like pennants over Safeco Field. A bouquet of lilacs perches nearby, laced with a satin ribbon inside an alabaster vase aboard a pristine ivory night stand.

Finally. A real bed set to replace the sagging denim stuff some Guy selected shortly after the discovery of fire. Yea verily, Iíve died and gone to Lady Land. I resist that Belinda photo like Iíve sworn off chocolate.

Itís the thundering refrain of four guys on patrol that skids me back to my senses. Belinda Bedding with four versions of Dale Earnhardt toting a crate of Pennzoil in and out of our pit stop? I ought to have my head examined.

I sigh ruefully, settling back into my padded cell. Then I flip the catalog backwards to page 13. Donít ask why I do that. I always read catalogs from back to front. Iím not sure how this got started, but I suspect this habit may have its genesis in 18 hours of back labor and an A.W.O.L. anesthesiologist. But thatís another story. So is non–guy anything in our house, which occurs with the frequency of Haleyís Comet.

Catalog and drool wipe in hand, I succumb to temptation and sheer stupidity as Honolulu Bedding bounces off page 13 and into my lap. Anything not mostly white or stainless steel is worth a second glance, yah? Honolulu isnít quite as soft and sleek as Belinda, but it looks a lot sturdier ó a major consideration in Guysville, USA.

The polyester/cotton bed set dribbles "Hawaii" like a Pacific sunset. Brilliant hues of emerald green, island blue and blushing coral splash the downy comforter, ruffled bed skirt, sheets and pillow shams.

"Turn your bedroom into an exotic retreat with this bold tropical bedding," the ad copy enthuses. They arenít kidding. Coordinated like a Fred and Ginger dance routine, tropical dashes of rose, marigold and hyacinth glide across sheets, draperies and a blouson valance. On sheets that breezy and buoyant I figure I can drift off to Maui every night–or at least make it to the nearest mud puddle.

"So, what did you find?" I ask the Big Guy later as he unearths the haul from his latest Wal–Mart run.

"They didnít have much to choose from," he explains, "so I got this." Which is how we got our current bed set, a kind of blue and yellow cross between Salvador Dali and Mary, Mary Quite Contrary on a bad hair day.

"Hey, it was on sale," the Big Guy says. Like that matters. Well. At least itís not stainless steel.

©Kristine Lowder

A recovering Californian, Kristine Lowder makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her five boys: four sons ranging in age from "Jr. Rocket Scientist" to "Oh Mom, I Already Know Everything," along with her oldest boy – a husband of thirty years (although Kristine maintains that she is way to be young to be that old!) She enjoys hiking, reading, camping, (except for the tent part), swimming (except for the water part), Andrea Bocelli tunes and doing most anything other than laundry. Her heroes are the Man in the Yellow Hat, Mike Mulligan, and Mary Anne (donít tell anyone.)

Kristine has no idea what she wants to be when she grows up, but is open to suggestions. She serves as Childrenís Ministries Director for her church and thinks hanging out with five–year–olds is the coolest thing in the world ó because she fits right in. Sheís authored ten books to date and is working on her next title, "How I Got To Be Fifty and Other Atrocities."

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©Margie Culbertson

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