The Honor System

Ron Nagasawa
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Wednesday - May 07, 2008
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The thing about a 20-year marriage like mine is that we have to honor our vows to each other. It’s not an easy thing, I know, and on a few occasions I have walked right along the edge of the holy matrimony border.

Still, as a guy who has little self-discipline, I have overcome some of the toughest of temptations. I know what you’re thinking and no, this has more to do with everyday promises made for everyday occurrences.

I sometimes think keeping those little promises is harder, because you know the consequences are survivable. It boils down to respecting the wishes of your spouse with the hopes that she does the same for you. Then again, what’s the harm?

The other Friday my wife came home with a bunch of ingredients for a snack recipe she had gotten from a friend at work. As soon as the word snack came out of her mouth, she had my undivided attention. The recipe was for some kind of savory garlic pretzels.


The thought of having those with my favorite beverage that evening captivated my mind. My wife went on to explain the process of making them. She would have to coat all these finger-sized pretzel sticks with seasonings and a binding agent made from popcorn butter.

I figured I would just hang around until they were done. She then very seriously stated that they have to “cure” for 24 hours. I said, “You’re joking, right?” To which she replied, “No, and I need you to promise not to eat any until they’re done.”

A bit insulted, I answered back, “What do you think, that I’m 5 years old? Of course I can wait and, yes, I promise.” When she was done, she left this huge bag of “curing” snacks on the counter in the middle of the kitchen.

This was diabolical on her part, as she knows this is the room in which I spend the most time. Like watching a pot of water to boil on the stove, I kept going up to the bag every half-hour to check on its progress.

After several hours, you start to rationalize with yourself and calculate the degree of harm that tasting the snack would cause, especially if no one knew about it. The risk would be zero, but then I started to wonder if my wife weighed the bag or even counted the number of pretzel sticks.

Just then my wife walked into the kitchen and out of instinct I started to defend myself without even having committed the crime. She looked at me and laughed and said to help myself. Keeping my dignity, I refused. A couple of hours later, I went into the kitchen. She looked at me and said, “I just made brownies for our daughter’s hula class tomorrow.” Man, I thought, my wife is pushing this marriage to the limit.

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