Oh, and in case you are interested, the centipede is still at large in our house, laying in wait to pounce from the shadows and attack the Normal Mormon Wife when she puts her guard down. By “her guard” I mean the meat cleaver and nun chucks she has been wielding since the centipede disappeared. I would rate her nun chuck abilities somewhere between Napoleon Dynamite and Bruce Lee at this point. My wife’s got skills, but she is still living with some fear of that evil, lurking centipede.
To eliminate the NMW’s worry I have been half tempted to throw a gummy worm on the floor and pretend it is the murderous centipede. When the NMW enters the room where the gummy worm is laying I would yell, “Look! The centipede!” Then I would attack, smash, mangle, destroy and otherwise pummel the gummy worm/centipede before the NMW got a good glimpse and realized it was a fake. She could then put down the meat cleaver, hang up the nun chucks, and resume living her normal centipede-free life.
I’ve also heard that nothing on earth tastes better than a gummy worm smothered in spousal deception. Mmmmmmm…..deceit-a-licious.
Since my last post I have been reflecting on my insane fear of heights and laughing with the NMW about the one time I tried to man up and conquer my phobia. During the summer of 2002 the NMW and I moved to Las Vegas for my internship between my first and second years of my MBA studies. While we enjoyed our time in Vegas as much as a married Mormon couple with a small baby and no money possibly could, there was one attraction the NMW knew would be off limits:
If you have never heard of the Stratosphere before, it looks like the Seattle Space Needle and is about four million feet high. As if that’s not terrifying enough for a heights wimp like me, it also has two death-defying amusement park rides on the roof. Putting scary rides on top of the Stratosphere is like putting deer antlers on a great white shark. Sure, the shark is even scarier and more dangerous with the antlers, but does he really need them?
Being the life-loving thrill seeker that she is, the NMW really wanted to conquer the Stratosphere before we left Las Vegas. But she also knew the odds of me going up there were as likely as her going on Fear Factor and eating a plate full of Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches.
Whudd’n’t gonna happen.
But then the Normal Mormon Wife’s birthday rolled around.
Despite my better judgment (read: bladder control) I surprised the NMW by going out on a limb – literally – and taking her to the top of the Stratosphere on her birthday. The NMW was grateful but also shocked that I would confront my fear of heights so head on. “Hey, babe,” I reassured her. “That’s what real manly-men do for the women they love.”
I then discretely slipped on a pair of Depends.
The first sign of trouble was when the Stratosphere employee informed us that it was $5 per person just to take the elevator ride to the top of the building. An unexpected $10 is a lot of money when you are living on student loans. So much for being able to take the NMW out to a nice place for her birthday dinner. You know, a nice place like Arby’s. Thanks a lot, Jerkosphere!
After begrudgingly forking over the $10 we got in and the elevator ascended toward space like Willy Wonka's glassy suicide elevator. Thankfully it stopped before launching us through the roof and into orbit. The doors slid open and as we stepped out of the elevator the NMW saw one of the most beautiful panoramas of her life. The night was dark. The moon was bright. Hundreds of miles of beautiful desert landscape was visible in all directions. The lights of Las Vegas flickered below us like the sparks from a discarded cigarette hitting the pavement. The Normal Mormon Wife loved what she saw.
I, on the other hand, could only see death.
In all honestly, I could not stop envisioning myself falling over the rail and hurtling to my untimely demise. My head started to spin. My knees shook uncontrollably. I nearly vomited.
And then THE JERKOSPHERE - THE ENTIRE BUILDING - STARTED SWAYING IN THE WIND!
That was enough for me. I grabbed the chain link fence behind me, which was as far as possible from the ledge, and held on for dear life. I could not physically make myself let go of that life saving fence. And then – and I’m not ashamed to admit this – I felt a few tears well up and spill down my cheek. It’s not like I was sobbing like David Hasselhoff on America Idol or anything, but tears were definitely shed. And to make matters worse, I couldn’t physically make my hands let go of the chain link to wipe the tears away. I felt so exposed that I thought Nelson Muntz was going to come around the corner and sucker punch me in the gut at any moment.
I was honestly paralyzed with fear. Nothing in my body was working. Except for the muscles that end in “—incter”, that is.
Several minutes and a few Depends later, I finally did come to realize that I would not die. I managed to pry my fingers from the fence and even went on the rides with the NMW. For me, conquering the Stratosphere was like eating a Zero candy bar – I did it once and I will never, ever, ever do it again.
But, hey. That’s what manly-men do for the women they love.
Especially manly-men who hide boxes of Depends in the closet.
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