Like most couples that have been together a long time, my husband and I like to play the game “Who is Right,” just good old-fashioned we-spend-way-too-much-time-together fun. Some fact will arise where we have a differing opinion of the answer, like who the actor is in a movie. Usually a back rub is bet between us, and then Goggle is fired up for fact checking. Sure, the winning back rub is nice. But really, it’s the gloating the winner gets to do that is the best reward. That and pronouncing those sweet words we all like to say so very much: “I told you so.” (Are there four words strung together in the human language more wonderful to say? Perhaps: “I won the lottery.”)
Not to brag, but I usually win Who is Right. Not because I know so much more than my husband, but because he believes he is right (like, all the time), and his superior confidence trumps his rational mind. I, on the other hand, have less confidence in general and definitely less faith in my often-flaky brain. Therefore I only bet when I’m pretty sure I’ll win.
Sometime in the future we want to paint the outside of our house, thus my husband keeps picking up those paper paint color strips when he’s at home improvement stores. Soon we’ll have so many we could just shellac them to our house and not have to paint at all. The last time he brought some home, he said to me, “Listen to some of the great names of these colors: Beach Foam, Permafrost, Sunken Pool.”
“Got to be the best job on the planet, naming colors of products,” I say to him. I imagine a windowless office room full of funky-looking writers in stained clothes getting loopy while eating massive amounts of candy and bad fast food, just giggling away while throwing out kooky and obscure name ideas. This is a corporate job I could get excited about! And these people get benefits! What a gig!
“The people who pick paint colors have got to be the most creative naming people out there,” he says. I counter: “From my experience I’d say nail polish name writers are way more creative.” My husband, a man who has never looked at a bottle of nail polish in his life nor asks to do so now, makes this bold statement based on absolutely nothing (except a healthy ego, of course): “I doubt you’re right.” These are not words that endear one to one’s partner. No, these are the words that cause me to raise my eyebrows and think, “Oh, you are going down, Mr. Smug Pants.” Instead I smile at him sweetly (okay, passive-aggressively), and say, “Shall we bet on it?”
Let the games begin! On Mr. Smug Pants’ side, along with the aforementioned Beach Foam, Permafrost and Sunken Pool, we also have Waterfall, Woodlawn Blue and Ice Cap. All pleasant sounding names. But to me they all seem a bit meh: There’s no spice, no humor, no soul. They could just be called Bob and have the same impact. (Actually I would prefer Bob. At least I could remember Bob.) On your fair writer’s side, I put forth the names of some of the nail polish found in my bathroom drawer: Heart and Coal, Death by Chocolate, Red-y for the Holidays, The Beige of Reason, Chick Flick Cherry and Vampsterdam.
Of course, it’s blatantly obvious to my husband and me whom the winner is of this round of Who Is Right. But I don’t gloat. Well, not too much. But really, how much is too much?
By Mary Lynn Bruny is a Colorado freelance writer. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.