The running joke in my house between my honey and I, whenever one of us asks the other to do something that they don’t particularly want to do, is for the requestor to pull out our marriage license (which he had laminated for durability…as he tends to pull it out far more than I do) and loudly proclaim, “I have papers on you!” And as old and as tired as this joke gets, it still gets a chuckle out of us both, especially in light of the sort of things that are being demanded requested of the other.
Unfortunately, it was my turn to get the “reminder” this week.
While at work yesterday, I got a call from my honey asking if I would be a second set of eyes on a letter for work that he needed to send out in the morning. Thinking that I’d be perusing some boring (but concise) staff procedural letter, I absentmindedly agreed and went about my work day. When I got home and settled in, he dropped a stack of recommendation letters in my lap and proceeded take his behind upstairs to catch the Knicks game!
On his heels with papers in hand, my mouth was already shaped to do battle like nobody’s business (did he not realize I had just worked a 9-hour day and had spent the last hour on spelling words; specifically, helping the Big Boy to differentiate between the usage of “affect” and “effect”?). But before I could get out my opening arguments, I began to snicker as he spun on me with our binding contractual agreement in hand. Snatching it, I still continued to fuss about how “reviewing” and “constructing” a letter where two entirely different things. Of course he tried to pacify me with the whole spiel about appreciating my wordsmithery and ability to eloquently fasten together words and phrases to effectively convey important opinions and points (I think he even threw a “and liberty and justice for all” in there too).
What I explained to him was that while all of that could very well be factual, people actually did pay me to wield the pen on their behalf (oh, did I mention that my side hustle is a writing consulting business?), so it kind of sucked to have to sit for several hours to re-write a letter of recommendation that one of his students asked him to compose in the first place!
The kick in the head however, was that he tried to pull the big guns out on me. He promptly reminded me off all the times when he turned our bedroom into a spa (complete with massage table, fragrances, warm towels and ambiance music) and gave me massages for free. He went on to say that his side-hustle (therapeutic massage) garnered in excess of $80 per client, but he never charged me or threw in my face the physical toll and exertion massage therapy takes on him. Now, I could have argued the point that rubbing my back due to a stressful day or lugging in enough groceries to feed a football team or toting around a baby child that is actually big enough to be toting me certainly did not compare to him having me write a recommendation letter while he dictated it because he was more interested in seeing how many points Carmelo was going to score, but I didn’t.
Instead, I went ahead and wrote said letter as well as a little communication of my own. And when it came time for him to sign that letter, he blindly went about John Hancock-ing them both. Little did he know, that second document was actually my little contractual ace in the hole. For the next 26 consecutive weekends, Mr. $80-per-client will be kneading, rubbing and shiatsu-ing my taut muscles until my body is a tranquil puddle of mush.
I too have papers honey!