Observations and Ramblings from a Cranky Old Guy – An Xperience Column

Written by on February 10, 2024

Observations and Ramblings from a Cranky Old Guy – An Xperience Column – by Jeff Spaulding.

As February is considered the “Month of Love”, I thought this would be a good time to share my observations and ramblings on something many of you can identify with, especially if you are married or in a relationship, and even more especially if you are in a long marriage or relationship. Additionally, what I am sharing DOUBLES when one if not both people are retired. The universal topic? What to watch together on television. This differs from going to the movies since money is involved, along with the desire not to mingle with people anymore.

My wife and I will be celebrating 25 years of wedded bliss in December, and actually 27 years of being a couple. We understand our differences and in general allow each other space. When it comes to the idiot box, however, it’s Israel and Hamas. We acknowledge there are many things one person loves to watch the other would Kevorkian themselves before viewing. For example, my wife would never watch (in no particular order): The Three Stooges, anything related to The Godfather, most anything on Turner Classic Movies, anything that’s “dumb” in her words (think Larry The Cable Guy etc.), any Western, anything with Country Music (think twin fiddles and a steel guitar), and that’s just scratching the surface. Meanwhile, I draw the line (but can remain in the living room, since I am the mature one, and won’t I hear about that line) at cooking shows, home improvement shows, cute animal shows (dogs are the exception), and anything that has the word Lifetime in it.

Now we have to determine what to watch together. As Entertainment Boy, I program a lot, 90 percent of which will only be for me (see above list). If there’s something I think she will like (meaning something I really want to watch), on occasion she will give me the Five Minute Decision. That means she is on the fence, but is willing to try, only on the condition that if she’s not into it in the first five minutes, (A) we watch something else, (B) I save it to watch when she’s sleeping, or (C) I think it blows too and I’m deleting it first.

This has been said many times, but it’s worth repeating, the main difference between what men will watch and what women will watch is easy, for women it has to be “good,” for men it has to be “anything,” We don’t care. God made remotes for men to hold, control and surf with. Even if we have seen it a thousand times, we stop and watch. We know the dialogue. We know what will happen next. It just doesn’t matter.

Now, a word about finding a movie to watch at home. Hostage negotiators are more successful in saving people than I am at trying to get my wife to decide on a movie. Honest to God, I have to hit the bathroom first, and get a little snack before my blood sugar drops to coma levels.

Please understand, I love my wife eternally, and will do whatever she asks, but her idea of choosing a movie is not the plot, not the genre, not the stars, she chooses on what (A) the title is, (B) what the little picture of the movie shows. An example of which, let’s say one of the choices is the classic “Citizen Kane.“ It’s rejected because she thinks Orson Welles is old and fat, or it’s in black and white, or she doesn’t understand what the title means, or she prefers carnations to rosebuds, well you get the picture.

On the positive side, she is predictable when it comes to genre. Her first choice is always Suspense or Thrillers. I can skip past comedies, documentaries, anything to do with sports, action, crime, animation, musicals, historical, war, and satire. With Suspense and Thrillers, that’s still a wide range and gives me something to work with, but then we go back to the “look at the picture” thing and I break out my Xanax.

Finally, before you may think I am a horrible beast for sounding so mean to my dear darling wife, I will end this by saying she’s the bravest woman I ever met, for putting up with my crap all these years, and I can’t believe how lucky I am that she continues to be in my life…is s she still reading this?

Be hearing you.



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