Two of the dearest people to my heart are my wife of 15 years, Tina, and my best friend since high school, Sam. Thankfully, these two get along wonderfully, especially when they get a chance to gang up on me. Between the two, they know every secret, every foible, every embarrassing moment that has happened to me over the last 25 years, and neither of them pass on a chance to take me down a peg or two.
Out of love, of course.
But I know these two people better than I know anyone else in the world, and I could see, looming on the horizon, a possible confluence of events that could bring them into a conflict for the ages, a perfect storm of personalities. One day, I knew, this would happen. But in order to understand, I must explain a bit about these two.
First, know this; Sam has no shame. None. Zero. The man is physiologically incapable of embarrassment. Once, when we were in college, he stood in for someone as a pickle vendor at a local renaissance faire. He then proceeded to pick up a girl by screaming across a crowd, “I KNOW YOU WANT A PICKLE, AND YOU WANT ME TO GIVE IT TO YOU!” (it worked, BTW). He has appeared in public in tights on multiple occasions. He gives out free hugs to random strangers. This is just who he is, and I know this better than almost anyone.
Second, know this; Tina is German. For the most part, my dear wife is a very shy person, but she has a (self-admitted) stubborn streak a mile wide. One thing I learned about her years ago is to never, ever, EVER tell her she “has” to do This or that she “can’t” do That. An almost physical transformation comes over her when she hears those phrases. I swear she grows about two inches and her eyes start glowing electric blue. If you tell her she can’t, she will do it simply to spite you and prove you wrong. If you order her to do something, no matter if she wants to do it or not, she will outright refuse. This is just who she is, and I know this better than almost anyone.
And now, my wife’s stubbornness and my best friend’s shamelessness have run headlong into each other. And it all started with yarn.
Tina is a stay-at-home mom, and around the time our younger two kids started preschool she decided to take up crochet. What started as a way to pass the time while the kids were away has now turned into a nice little online business called Froggy Princess where she sells geeky crochet stuff and hair bows. So obviously, whenever a friend finds a picture of something yarn-based and horrible, they send it to her as a joke. A few weeks back, this one came across her Facebook feed, via Sam.
So of course, Tina starts joking that Sam is making requests. They banter back and forth, and then Tina implies that Sam would never actually wear one.
That was the first mistake. Not only would Sam wear one, he would flounce down Michigan Avenue and post pictures online about it. So he comes back with this gem:
“Knit one up for me and I will send you pictures.”
That was the second and third mistake. As anyone who has crafty friends knows, you NEVER want to confuse knitting and crochet. It’s the yarn equivalent to running your fingernails down a chalkboard. Knitters knit, and crocheters crochet, and never the twain shall meet. It’s like the Hatfields and the McCoys. Sam knew this perfectly well, and said it just to get under Tina’s skin. But worse was the implication that she wouldn’t do it.
So I get home from work that day and Tina is sitting there on the couch, two inches taller and eyes glowing, working her dusty old pair of knitting needles through some horrible purple variegated yarn. I know something’s up.
“Hey love… what’s with the knitting?”
She doesn’t say a word, she just hands me her phone. I read, and something inside me shrinks back in horror.
“Oh no,” I say.
“Oh yes,” she replies. “I WILL win this.”
Thus has begun what I call the Battle of the Purple Shorts. A war of texts has broken out between these two titans, each one waiting for the other to back down. Every few days Tina drops Sam a pic of her latest few rows of purple horror
So I really don’t know how this is going to end. Tina has no desire to see Sam in this monstrosity, yet she will not stop working on it. Sam has no desire to wear, let alone own something this hideous, but he won’t ever cry uncle. I just hope to God I’m not there when the final product changes hands. There are some things that can’t be unseen.
But that’s what happens when you dare a woman with needles.