Duh Hubby’s slightly older, single friend “Otis” had a surprising reaction when Duh told him, after years of him begging and me insisting it would make our living room look like a sports bar, I had presented him with the big TV of his dreams for his recent ends-with-0 birthday.
Duh was shoot-your-eye-out Red Ryder BB gun levels of excited but Otis (not his real name; c’mon!), was subdued. And then this twice divorced man who has probably never closed a cabinet door in his entire life, looked at Duh with sorrow. Which is how I imagine he looks when leaving the Wish You Were Beer karaoke lounge alone. Again.
“What’s wrong?” Duh asked. “Why do you look like I just told you she got me some old-man metal detector?”
“Be better if she did get you a metal detector or even a rain gauge,” said his friend with the been-there, done-that weariness of a man who everybody thinks was the vice principal when he goes to his class reunion. I imagine.
“You think that TV was for you? No way, man. That’s how they operate.”
“What do you mean? I wanted this TV for a long time. She bought it for me with her own money earned from years of snarky commentary or whatever it is she does. I’m not entirely sure…”
“Uh huh,” his friend said, now scratching an imaginary beard to appear wiser, more vice principalish.
“Tell me something,” said Otis. “I’m just spitballin’ here but has she mentioned y’all will need to buy a new couch because the old one looks tacky with that nice TV?”
Duh’s eyes widened. Had he not peeked over my shoulder this very morning and noticed my finger hovering over the “Place Order” button on the Joybird website.
“We need a couch?” he’d asked. “What’s wrong with the old one?”
“Hmmm? How long have you been standing there?”
“That’s not an answer,” Duh said. “You just answered a question with a question.”
“Yes, I did. Just as a certain Savior did many times in the Bible. Maybe you’d like to quibble with Jesus! Here. Make yourself useful and hold this tape measure. I’m thinking a sleeper sectional if we can get one in teal velvet that’s at least 38 inches tall…”
Duh looked all “Ah-ha!”
“Otis said the TV was really more of a gift for you because next thing you’ll be getting new furniture and window treatments and a storage ottoman and artwork that doesn’t come from Hobby Lobby.”
“Are you seriously going to listen to decorating tips from the guy who covered his entire fridge door with Chiquita banana stickers?”
Duh didn’t respond, distracted by something in the room behind me.
“Wait. How long has that rug been there?!”
“Oh, that! Well, the color saturation is so good on the new TV, it made the rest of the room appear washed out. The rug is a design element, just like The Property Brothers are always talking about. Although, they don’t always get it right. They tend to over stage everything. How many white vases with a single philodendron leaf in it does one house need?”
Duh accused me of babbling to distract him from the wisdom of Otis. Which, to be clear, are four words I never thought I’d type.
“He was right!” said Duh. “The TV was a ruse and now there’s going to be J.B. Hunt trucks lined up around the block bringing all the stuff you’re ordering online.”
“Well, that’s just ridiculous,” I said, then barely audible, “Some of the stuff is coming from Old Dominion.”