That's why it's good to have female friends, a kind of little self-help group, if you will. Last weekend I picked up my friend Miss P for a walk and found her almost spitting with temper.
"I. Would. Love. To. Slap. Him. Sometimes," she said, enunciating icily in her rage. "I heard a flipping shriek from the kitchen and when I ran in to help him, I found that he'd just knocked over a cup. I thought he was dead!"
Aha. So she'd fallen victim to The Yelp, I noted with pleasure. My father does it, my husband does it and now I know that Miss P's boyfriend does it. Interesting!
What's The Yelp?
Imagine, please, that you're engrossed in something important or delicate: you're correcting grammar exams, chopping garlic or re-attaching the 'end call' button to your ancient phone. Suddenly, your other half gives a blood-curdling yell: "Gnaaaaaaaggggghhhhhhhhh!"
"What's wrong?" you shout.
"What's wrong?" you shout again - but you're met with a deathly silence.
So you toss aside your exams, garlic and/or mobile phone and sprint into the next room, expecting to find your beloved in a heap on the floor, a severed limb protruding from the dishwasher, a pool of blood congealing next to him.
"What happened?" you wheeze. "What happened?"
And your partner-slash-spouse looks at you with big, blank eyes and says: "What? What do you mean?"
"You screamed!" you cry. "I heard you scream!"
"Did I really?" he says, bemused. "I don't remember that."
"You did! I heard you! You said: Gnaaaaaaaggggghhhhhhhhh!"
He shrugs. "Oh, that. Yeah. I couldn't get the olive jar open. So we're having pickles instead."
Eyes narrow and you think about the satisfaction of whipping the pickles out of his hands and sticking one up each nostril. But you don't. You return to whatever delicate matter you tossed away to run to your sweetheart's side in his moment of need. And you bite your fist.
|"You say this was the murder weapon? Why, that's ... gruesome!"|
"What's wrong? What happened?"
I shriek: "What HAPPENED?"
He pops his head around the door, annoyed. "For crying out loud! I just dropped a tomato! Don't be such a drama queen!"
"One of these days," I warn, "you're really going to scream in pain and I won't come running. I'll just blithely ignore you and leave you extricate yourself from the innards of the vacuum cleaner or the drum of the washing machine. Then you'll be sorry!"
He shrugs, unconcerned. And why would he be? He knows that this is an empty threat on my part. We both do. As the old saying goes: Fool me once, shame on you - but fool me twice, shame on me. Or, in this case: Fool me 5,297 times, shame on me.