My wife, along with being beautiful, charming and forgiving of what I write about her, is also an innovative businesswoman. She runs out of our home a unique furniture and home-design enterprise in which she purchases items and later resells them for less.
But none of her past purchases, returns, resells or barters prepared me for the piece of "art" she recently brought home and hung above our couch. It was one of those vintage classroom botany posters -- which, I'm told, have a cool, sort of old-school, naturalistic feel to them. I can see that -- if they're of pretty flowers or handsome fungi. Less so if they're of a "root structure" guaranteed to make Dirk Diggler blush.
"We can't possibly hang this here in the living room," I said to my wife, after giving the root structure an, um, long, hard look. "It looks just like an enormous ..."
"Oh, c'mon, it doesn't look like THAT," my wife answered.
I traced the outline of the root structure, then pointed to various identified parts -- most notably the "growing tip" at the end of the "root cap." Yes, generations of schoolchildren had definitely spent hours snickering over this poster behind the backs of their teachers.
"Hmm, maybe that's why this one was the last poster the store had left," my wife offered.
"That definitely seems like a possibility," I replied.
"Do you think I can get a discount because of it?"
"Or better yet, you could return it."
"Well, maybe we should hang it in our bedroom," my wife suggested.
"I don't know. I fear I'd seem so insignificant in comparison," I said.
"But, seriously, Mark, if you just look at it, the colors are perfect for this room," she said.
"They are nice colors," I agreed.
"And it's the perfect size," she said.
"You'd probably be the better judge of that."
My wife, then, got a little angry/defensive. "Mark, it's a scientific chart." She proceeded to call out past art I'd brought home. In particular, the Manischewitz poster. It's her go-to when discussions of my taste or maturity level arise.
Manischewitz, for those lucky enough not to be familiar with it, is a sickly sweet kosher wine served at the Jewish holiday Passover. Making matters worse, God commands you to drink four cups.
All of which made the promotional poster I bought from a liquor store so terrific. It featured two black models, a male and a female, very buff and posing in swimsuits. The text read "This Is How You Set It Off!" and, in bigger letters, "Man Oh Manischewitz."
Manischewitz was giving its wine -- which, again, is so bad it would seem we Jews drink it to commemorate our ancestors' affliction -- a hip "urban" spin. If the campaign took off, would Manischewitz next try to get jars of their gefilte fish placed in rap videos?
The poster demanded a place on my wall. My wife was revolted; I had it framed. Over the years, the poster moved to less and less prominent locations, until eventually it was in a spot guests would only see if they decided to throw in a load of laundry. And then it was taken down, living on only in our fights.
Anyhow, we bickered about the Manischewitz poster and whatever other topics we could think of for a few minutes. Then we fell quiet, our eyes drawn back to the root structure. We stared at it so long I felt I was invading its privacy. Then my wife broke the silence:
"It isn't growing on you?"
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