Recently, my husband and I have had the 5,263,276th petty squabble of our marriage regarding what exactly happened in some non-event in the recent past. We argue like this a lot. “No. That’s not what she said.” “No, we had the steak.” “Um, no, it was the Batman ride at Six Flags that I threw up on.”
These are stupid arguments. But I’m positive I’m right. Mike is just as convinced. One of us has to be wrong. (It’s him.) I’ve been involved in any number of trial technique classes that demonstrate how unreliable eye witnesses can be. Sometimes there will be a guy who comes in and takes someone’s jacket, and then fifteen minutes later there is a quiz about the guy. No one remembers him the same way. Same goes for car colors in a video. The blue car ran the red light. No, the yellow one. It was a Ford. It was a Chevy. It was a Lamborghini. It was an SUV. It was a minivan. No one agrees.
Least of all spouses like us who are so far beyond the newlywed stages that pre-marriage life is kind of faded and grey; the memories more like a ghost of a film I’ve seen decades ago than something that has actually happened to me.
All of which is a very long introduction to this fabulous idea I just had. Pay attention Merv Griffin or Mark Burnett or whoever is in charge of game shows these days. This show is going to be Must See TV. It is going to make “Survivor” look like a day at Chuck-E-Cheese. It will make Jeopardy! look as challenging as the TV Guide crossword puzzle.
Picture this: you get your basic couple, and follow them around on a random Saturday. Nothing exciting needs to happen, but it all gets filmed. They go to the grocery store. They take the kids to a soccer game. Someone mows the lawn. Nothing you would normally consider television worthy happens, but plenty of stuff happens. A referee makes a bad call, or someone does something stupid in traffic, you buy the lean or the cheap ground beef, one of your kids spills his milk, or any number of minor incidents.
Then the show opens. The couple is sitting on a sofa. The host is in an armchair. It looks sort of like a talk show. The host says something like, “So, Bob, Mary, I understand you went to your daughter’s gymnastics meet last week.” Bob and Mary nod, though their names are actually Steve and Dina, but they don’t want to embarrass the host on national television. “Which one of you forgot the camera?” Bob and Mary start arguing. Normally Bob brings the camera, but he has a very clear memory of telling Mary to grab it off the kitchen counter. Mary heard no such thing. Cut to the film. We see Mary in the kitchen washing the breakfast dishes. Bob says, “Hon? My hands are full. Can you get the camera? It is on the shelf in the office.” Mary makes a noise that sounds like, “mmph” and Bob says “thanks.” Score one for Bob.
The host then says, “Our cameras showed you all looking for the remote control for the living room television. It was found on the kitchen counter next to the cookie jar. Who put it there?”
“I know this one,” Bob says. “Our daughter Emily is always stealing cookies out of the jar and moving the remote.”
“It wasn’t Emily,” Mary says. “It was you. You carry that thing all over the house and then blame everyone else when it gets lost.”
“No,” Bob says. “I always put it back on the coffee table where it belongs because I’m tired of looking for the thing.”
The host rolls the film. It shows Bob going into the kitchen, laying the remote down on the counter, and cramming a fistful of Oreos in his mouth. Score one for Mary.
I would watch that show like it held the secrets to the universe. I would also watch the follow up show where the couples are revisited six months later. It would be interesting to see how many are still married.
I would never be on that show, though. I prefer the sure knowledge that I’m always right. If only my husband would buy into that as well.
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Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Told You…” is set to be released in the Fall of 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here.