“oh man, oh man.” I mumbled to no one. The cat wondered if I was talking to it and looked at me, interested, then realized I wasn’t speaking to her and went back to sleeping. I, on the other hand, was still facing the serious quandary which had caused me to mumble in the first place. I was looking at an advertisement for a P-51 war plane, a personal favorite of mine. There’s something about the P-51 Mustang that captivates people. Pilots want to fly them, Walter Mittys envision themselves defeating enemies in dramatic dogfights, and I get weak kneed looking at them. Were God to call ‘pssst’ from an alley and offer me a trade between ownership of one of these and permanently giving up sex, I suspect I might reason that I already have three grown children so what the hell.
The ad I was looking at gave the dimensions of a 37.5 inch wingspan and 32 inch length; this was a fairly large airplane. Certainly NOT the 100% scale advertised by any means, but still pretty big. Wouldn’t it be great to get a full sized plane for the hundred and seventy bucks it was on sale for. I could just imagine it dangling from my ceiling on mono-filament line, caught in a permanent pose of rolling into combat, the ambient movement of air caused my the heating and cooling system of the house adding movement –more realism to spawn daydreams of flying the real McCoy.
Even at the discounted price it was a bit of a financial stretch for my miserly budget, but still in reach if I chose to do without something. Like food, maybe. Sure, my wife would have to suffer the consequences of my selfishness, but she always claims she just wants me to be happy. It’s a rigged system of course, exemplified by the framed needlepoint hanging on our entry hall wall bearing the inscription “If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” S’truth, believe me. I once replaced it with a mock-up that crossed out ‘momma’ and replaced it with ‘papa.’ We had to take it down because people reading it were laughing hard enough to choke. One day there was a post-it stuck on it that said “If papa ain’t happy, someone will notice eventually.” I hung the original back in place and retired to my room for a good sulk.
I shook myself, much like a dog wet from a plunge and grabbed hold of myself. There were better uses for the better part of two hundred bucks in our household, and I clicked the mouse to return to the Google search page to find a replacement for my bathroom fan. The one I have works, but is reminiscent of a jet turbine at full throttle. It’s so loud it’s hard to have a conversation. A replacement that guaranteed whisper silent operation turned out to have the exact same price as the P-51. Hrmmmm. I thought that perhaps the thing to do ws buy the airplane and then go hide in the bathroom with the fan running. “What, Honey? I can’t hear you…” My wife isn’t stupid, she’d just switch the fan off and then I’d be trapped in that small tile room, her voice echoing off the hard tiles. Maybe I should just put the P-51 out of my mind. I mean, I’d like to buy a real airplane, put a natural pool in the back yard, and install solar cells on our roof to dampen the monthly power bill. So many things to buy, so little cash. Man, life is really unfair sometimes.
I clicked the back arrow and sat and admired the airplane some more, trying desperately to think of a justification for owning it. My mind stayed a vacuum but for thinking that perhaps I could get my doctor to tell my wife it was a necessary item for my health. “That’s right, Mrs. Kirkpatrick. If he doesn’t get this plane there’s a very good chance he will suffer acute sphincter failure.” Naw, she’d just stop by Costco and come home with adult diapers. I went back to looking at the bathroom fan.
Shutting off the computer I rolled over and climbed into my bed and lay back to consider my lot in life. I concluded that my wife had actually already shown a tremendous amount of patience. In the last five years I’ve managed to go through 12 R/C airplanes and 16 helicopters. Then there are the six quad rotor drones. Of course, I don’t even want to mention the countless robots purchased outright or self designed and assembled from expensive collections of parts. Thinking on it, I realized I’d already pushed pretty stiffly on my wife’s understanding reservoir and perhaps I should give some thought to getting her something. “Selfish bastard.” I chastised myself.
Dinner time came and I was treated to a sumptuous TV dinner of pseudo-chicken strips and buffalo sauce. I was nibbling away when my wife, apropos of nothing, said to me: “It’s been quite some time since you got a new flying toy. I know how much you enjoy them, maybe we should work with the budget a little and get you something new.”
I smiled and felt entirely embarrassed. After dinner I got back on the computer and bought her a clothing and drapery steamer she’d mentioned she wished she like to have. The P-51 had dropped from my radar screen, condemned to be imprisoned in the realms of humility where it belonged. I needed a P-51 about as much as a cow needs a power saw. A bit later I gave her a hug and said the airplane would show up in a couple of days, what with Amazon’s free two-day shipping for Prime members. She looked genuinely pleased.