Generally, we do what we need to do.
For instance, I've been working with the new puppy. Seems the only way to get her to come to me is by falling over and faking my own death. In those cases, she races to lick my face, hoping to revive me.
This goes over very well at the dog park. Several other owners have adopted this same training tactic, and now the park resembles a Civil War reenactment. A sense of doom hangs over the entire enterprise.
But we all do what we need to do, right? I've been a little under the weather lately, making everything a challenge. The coffee I just made tastes like cigarettes, and my brain — such as it is — seems to be resisting the mystical whack of excessive caffeine.
Even my favorite breakfast, a smear of gluten-free gluten on a gluten-free bagel, fails to stimulate me in the usual ways.
This minor illness set in after a very successful yard sale that sapped much of my strength. We grossed $71.62 on the sale, which involved three weekends of cleaning the basement, the garage and several closets. A sense of accomplishment now hangs over the entire estate.
As I told my wife, Posh, we had a choice: We could either add a 20,000-foot warehouse to the property, or hold "a big, fun yard sale!"
We debated this for almost a month, in the way longtime married couples can debate the most-obvious issues. In the end, I simply fell over, faking my own death. It worked as well as it did with the puppy, except Posh wouldn't attempt to revive me. Instead, she merely said, "OK, you can have your dumb yard sale."
So, I sold off the Christmas ornaments and those plastic sleds we never use anymore. There was this bone-colored beaded thing — kind of a flapper outfit — that I pawned off as "Posh's beautiful wedding dress… so many memories. I'll take a buck."
For $2, I sold a bunch of stupid stemless wine glasses I never much liked. I think stemless wine glasses are total frauds. Some items simply require stems: tires, tulips and, most of all, wine glasses.
Posh bought them as backups for the garden parties we seldom throw, so for five years the glasses sat in the garage, getting kind of filmy.
When my pal Joe showed up to the yard sale, with his too-pretty wife, Lynn, I sold him the case of 12 stupid wine glasses, with the understanding that we could borrow them back, as needed.
Joe, who has also been married a long time, understood my predicament. Essentially, Joe paid me $2 for the privilege of storing my wine glasses.
I thought this an exceptional deal. Posh saw it as me giving away the wine glasses. Somewhere in between lies the truth.
To be honest, my wife was also a little teed off that I sold all the Christmas stuff.
I explained to her that all yard sales, like all marriages, are innately a little ridiculous, so you have to embrace them for what they are: imperfect mercenary transactions involving largely desperate and dispirited individuals.
Indeed, yard sales exist in some alternate universe. I'm pretty sure half the stuff we sold is junk I'd purchased at other yard sales over the years. The other half was unused sweaters Posh and I had gotten each other as birthday gifts.
The other highlight to the yard sale was the moment I turned around to see a customer holding up the old T-shirt I'd been using as a rag. I sold it to her for a quarter and urged her to wash it three times.
So, obviously, the yard sale was a super success, just like everything else I touch lately. I ended up with a wad of singles, like a Bourbon Street stripper. Looking to buy a car soon, I set some of it aside, and re-invested the rest on a dozen naked oysters at a nearby saloon.
My buddy Miller, who eats naked oysters almost exclusively, was happy to join me there. A successful business exec — almost a tycoon — Miller was impressed at my crumpled salad of yard-sale singles.
I explained that I'd sold off the Christmas ornaments and Posh's "wedding dress" in a flurry of transactions that might on Monday affect world markets. I also confessed that the real costs would probably come later, in restraining orders and major legal fees.
"The only standards I've ever lived up to were my own," Miller said by way of advice.
And, look, he's done very, very well.
"We do what we need to do," I said.
MORE MIDDLE AGES: