RULES OF THIS HOUSE

  1. The husband shall always be referred to by the wife in proper tones of humility and gratitude as "Absolute Ruler." He shall never be proffered edibles which offend his palate. Wife is to be struck once for each minute a meal is late.
  2. Wife must so schedule all scrubbing, baby-whacking, woodchopping, grass-cutting, and storm window removal so that evenings and weekends are left free for entertaining and amusing the Absolute Ruler.
  3. Children are under the authoriuty of allwise Absolute Ruler, but the wife will subdue the little monsters in the event the Absolute Ruler is sleeping, eating, reading, drinking, watching T.V. or oiling firearms.
  4. No explanation will be made by the Absolute Ruler for any lateness or absence (up to thirty days) from his house. Wife to be prepared to serve dinner, on telephone notice, to friends or clients of Absolute Ruler. Said friends never to be designated by the wife as "them bums."
  5. The "frau" must not be frowzy. Hair curlers and wrapper strictly prohibited at breakfast. Wifely tantrums to be behind locked doors, and alone. If tears-on-the-shoulder vital to dissipate tension, shoulder must be that of an obliging neighbor, female.
  6. Wife shall never comment concerning alleged superiority of so-called "model husbands," be they from the neighborhood, or on the moon. She shall convincingly praise accomplishments and judgement of Absolute Ruler with no indication of pain caused by Absolute Ruler's twisting of her arm.
  7. Total attention and unbroken silence will prevail while the Absolute Ruler: (a) tells a joke, (b) discusses politics, (c) generously consents to point out some of the wife's shortcomings. The wife will never telephone the Absolute Ruler when he is teaching the science of poker, and will call him at the office only if his personal possessions are threatened by fire or flood.
  8. The wife shall applaud hobby interests of the Absolute Ruler and never suggest accompanying him on hunting or fishing trips. She shall recognize his sovereign right to indulge in girl-watching and rejoice in that certain gleam in his eye, knowing that should it fail to flame in response to a strange female, her own charms will stir not a tremor, but a chill.
  9. In the interest of fairness, Absolute Ruler generously allows the wife to submit three grievances each month to him, each grievance to be written on a separate slip of paper, folded lengthwise and twisted firmly. Twisted strips to be left in close proximity to the fireplace.
  10. The wife joins the Absolute Ruler in condemning "Togetherness" as subversive and each rejoices that male is different from female. each affirms that this apartness creates a delicious biological attraction, which does and will forever, Amen, make marriage as challenging and as threatening as a ten-gallon martini.


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