My buddy Stan has a habit of dropping things off at my house when I am not around.
Last spring, he returned a rotor-tiller. It wasn’t mine and I never did find out who it belonged to.
Before that, he left his psychotic Pomeranian, Chester, lashed to my porch and it cost me most of my patio furniture.
I once returned from vacation to find a bulldozer napping in my yard.
And earlier this month, Stan dropped himself off.
“Daphne kicked me out of the house,” he whined.
“Because she caught you cheating on her,” I reminded him.
“She did not,” he insisted..
“Okay, she caught you before you cheated.”
“Exactly,” he said.
“Well, you can’t stay here.”
“Because you are totally unstable, completely unreliable and utterly untrainable.”
“You really think so?”
“It makes no difference what I think,” I said, “it is what my wife said when she put her foot down about you coming to live with us after Daphne kicked you out.”
“I’ll prove her wrong,” he said.
And he did.
I have never seen Stan so considerate, so reliable and so well-mannered. He helped with the cooking. He did the dishes. He made himself useful around the house.
He started by doing all the little chores that my wife has been nagging me to do for months. He hung pictures. He cleaned the garage. He fixed a big crack in the sidewalk. He got all of our major and minor appliances humming in perfect harmony.
It was like night and day.
Things got quiet around the house. With all the little things taken care of, there was nothing for my wife to nag me about and the instant she thought of something new, there was Stan ready, willing and able.
It began to worry me.
It was not natural.
Things got so extreme that Stan started watching The Bachelor with her on Monday nights while I watched Kung Fu movies in the basement.
In desperation, I called Daphne.
“You got to take him back,” I told her.
“Fat chance,” she said.
“Don’t you miss him?”
“It is peaceful here now,” she said.
“But that is just it,” I told her, “it’s peaceful here too and that is scary as hell. Our house is becoming like the Hallmark Channel and I fear the worst.”
“That is scary,” she agreed.
“Daphne, couples need to crab at each other,” I told her, “they need conflict to balance out their happy times.”
“Uh-huh…” she said, not believing a word.
“Think of it this way,” I said, “happiness is like water, it seeks a certain level. When life becomes too peaceful, take care because there is a tsunami building out there. People are simply incapable of living in peace, it just don’t work like that. It would be like all Ying with no Yang and sooner or later something has got to blow. I know you and Stan, you both need someone to hiss and snarl at.”
“Interesting theory, “she said, “it might explain the calls I keep getting from your wife.”
“She calls twice a day to beg me to take him back.”
“I am begging too,” I said.
She sighed a long sigh into the phone. “All right,” Daphne said, “just drop him off…”
I thanked her.
“But when you do,” she said, “make sure I am not around.”