My Hat

“Where’s my hat?”

What I ask is more than a question.

It is an accusation.

I had set my hat down on the counter, as I always do after returning from my walk. My wife hates my habit of doing this. In her opinion, a sweaty hat on the kitchen counter is gross – so she flicks it on the floor.

So every time I set it there, I find it on the floor. But this time it is not on the floor and I fear she has resorted to a more strident means of training me.

Couples do that, they train each other.

In fact, one can view the entire enterprise of marriage as a training exercise, one designed to wear down the little annoyances.

But no.

I am not talking about the foolish few who see their partner as a project. This is always destined to fail because lives cannot be molded, the best we can expect of each other is to file off the rough edges.

It is what defines a happy marriage.

Marital bliss is found in the little things, not the big things. Too many of us fall in love based on a shared appreciation of inconsequential things that at the time seem important, like music, taste for food or adherence to the same views – but these things rarely endure the passage of time.

People evolve. They mature.

What matters most is that we don’t get on each others nerves and it is the little habits that are the most abrasive– like tossing a sweaty hat onto a kitchen counter or scattering mail about the house.

That is what my wife does. She never throws junk mail away and as a result, piles of postal litter cover every conceivable surface in our house.

Whenever I set my coffee mug down, I must first move mail. Whenever I search for the TV remote, I must sift through piles of newspapers, catalogs and grocery store fliers.

It drives me nuts.

So I do as she does. I have my own little ways of training her. Whenever mail gets in my way, I add it to the heap of junk mail that rises to an astounding height from the kitchen counter right near where I toss my hat…..


I sift through the junk mail and there it is – my hat. I had buried it under a pile of month old newspapers.

My wife sees this and smiles triumphantly.

It always annoys me when she smiles like that – but she is trainable.