Arguments between husbands and wives are just part of the landscape.
Super Bowl Sunday
LONG AGO, my old economics professor, the superteacher C. Lowell Harriss, started our first class on Money and Banking by saying simply, “Economics is about the allocation of scarce goods.” This perfect definition has stood me in good stead all of these years, and especially today.
Today I was able to put into practice my own observations about the allocation of the scarcest and most precious of all goods: love. Today was an opportunity for me, the economics teacher, to teach about my favorite subject, the economics of love.
A very close relative, a young man married about four years now to a simply stunningly beautiful young woman, came down to our home in Rancho Mirage to watch the Super Bowl with me. I was happy to see him. He knows sports incomparably better than I do, knows all rules and practices, knows all about the players and coaches—in a word, just knows the subject cold. I am a fan. I am especially a fan of the Ravens because I am a native Marylander. But my very close relative, whom I will call T., knows the whole story, while I know bits and pieces. So again, on Sunday, as I drove home from my 12-step meeting, I was excited to see T. and to watch the game with him at a Super Bowl event at our beautiful club, Morningside.
However, when I walked in the door of our home, I beheld an agitated and worked-up T., frantically upset about a contretemps he had had that morning with his wife. According to him, she had responded to a question about why she was taking a shower in the morning instead of at night with a comment that harshly accused him of serious mental flaws.
He was, again, just agitated beyond words.
I told him that my interpretation of his wife’s words was exactly the opposite: she was merely defending herself against his seeming criticism and not mocking him at all. She was just making a joke about how much she liked to take showers.
He said he didn’t believe it. He was still hysterical.
However, football is football. And this was a very big game. We went off to the Super Bowl party and he started to slam down vodka drinks at a rate I have rarely seen. This calmed him remarkably, as did watching the game.
I have often thought to myself that the greatest pro–mental health program in the nation, maybe in the world, is the television broadcasting of top-notch sporting events. Even the most powerful and insightful therapist cannot provide the release from tension and the escape from anxiety that watching sports does for most men and some women. All of those sports shows probably keep tens of millions of American men from serious mischief against themselves or others. There is something powerfully liberating and empowering about watching athletes do something magnificently well.
My old Pop used to listen to the Washington Senators—outside, in the dark, on Caroline Avenue in Silver Spring, in, say, 1949, on a Silvertone (Sears Roebuck) radio with an extension cord. He called it “the great American anodyne.” Now, it’s an incomparably bigger, better phenomenon, and I suspect it takes away far more pain.
Very importantly, no one watches a football game and then says, “Hey, I want to kill people.” Viewers watch and then want to watch another game. But the experience is not like playing a multi-player shoot-’em-up where the experience might make the player want to shoot someone in real life.
So I love sports on TV and consider it a genuine national miracle. God bless the NBA and the NFL and MLB, say I. Also the NCAA. They are mass-producing mental health. And this was a great game, with my beloved Ravens racing to an early lead, and then a seesaw struggle after the lights went out.
BACK TO T. He kept telling me he wanted me to call his wife and say something drastic that would upset her and make her apologize. And so, I gave him this little speech:
“My boy, arguments between husbands and wives, especially young husbands and wives, are just a part of the landscape. They are inevitable. When married couples are young, they have not yet learned that the real asset in their lives is not their individual ego or pride. The real asset is the marriage itself.
“The idea that you in some way ‘win’ if you can bully or con your wife into apologizing is appealing but wrong. She will resent you for making her apologize for something she didn’t do wrong, and it will be a burr that will pop up somewhere else in the saddle of the marriage.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online