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Maggie Lamond Simone Headshot

March Into Madness

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March Madness strikes again.

It happens every year at this time ("this time," obviously, being March), when every college basketball team in the American universe gets plotted on a mind-numbingly busy chart which indicates who will play whom and whom the winner of that game will play and so on, until there are only two teams left.

My guess is that it's called "madness" because even die-hard basketball fans could not possibly watch that much basketball without experiencing some sort of mental breakdown. Alternatively, it could be used to describe the spouses of such fans.

I'm not such a spouse, however. It doesn't make me crazy. In fact, I find it somewhat amusing that my husband, who recognizes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar only because he was in a Bruce Lee movie, is suddenly rearranging his schedule to accommodate a game between "The Unknowns" and "This Really Is A College Somewhere."

He, of course, suggests that in Maggie-world, "March Madness" simply explains how I could pick up a two-liter soda bottle, drop it, pick it up again, drop it again, pick it up a third time, and then open it, thereby demonstrating the principle of carbonation.

In his mind, when it comes to me, March is only one of twelve such designated months.

Be that as it may, I decided this year to get in on the action, in a manner befitting my own priorities. I took the mind-numbingly busy basketball chart, and above each team I wrote down a chore such as moving the living room furniture to vacuum underneath it or watering the plants -- you know, things I don't normally do in any given year.

When each game is over, the losing team's task is written off while the winning team and its corresponding task move up on the chart . Oh, sure, this means some of the chores won't get done, but hey -- they're on losing teams. I hardly think that's my fault. And I find the element of chance so exhilarating, don't you?

This adds a whole new dimension of togetherness for my husband and me. We can watch the games side by side and cheer for our teams (my team being the one associated with the least offensive cleaning task), and it really is exciting. For instance, we watched a game together the other night that came right down to the wire.

"Come on, you moron!" my husband shouted at the referee. "He traveled! He walked around the block, for Pete's sake!"

"All right, no. 42!" I shouted. "Make a basket! Mommy doesn't want to take all the food out of the cupboards and refrigerator and clean underneath and put it all back in! Wooooo!"

"Oh, for crying out loud!" my husband shouted. "That wasn't a shove -- he lost his balance! It was an accident!"

"No no no no no!" I shouted. "Get that rebound! There are things in that cupboard that were here when we moved in! Let the mini-blinds advance! I don't mind cleaning the mini-blinds!"

And so it went. Fortunately the mini-blinds advanced; unfortunately they play "use the edge attachment of the vacuum cleaner on all of the stairs" some time this week. That will be a nail-biter, let me tell you. I mean, worst case scenario, you can always buy new mini-blinds, right?

And then it will come down to the final two, which may or may not include "get on my knees and dust the three miles of oak baseboard in this demon house." Even that would be okay, though; my plan has already paid off in the number of chores I don't have to do. But I told my husband not to worry. They'll get done eventually.

Baseball season's just around the corner.

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