When it comes to the proper role of a spouse in praising his or her partner for things that he or she does well, my wife and I come from two very different schools of thought. Melissa subscribes to the “I’m Here To Keep My Spouse From Getting a Big Head School.” The motto of this school is: “He’s already prone to arrogance and pomposity, why would I add fuel to the fire?” I’m a devotee of the “Spouses Should Be Loving and Supportive School,” but that’s just my personal and probably crazy take on things.This dynamic has created a situation where I point out to Melissa pretty much every single tiny thing I do well throughout the day. Whether it’s weaving like a gazelle through traffic on my Vespa or singing amazing high harmony to “Winds of Change” by Scorpions, I’m prone to turn to Melissa immediately afterward, widen my eyes while nodding slowly, and say, “Nailed it.” In those instances where I’ve nailed something beyond my ability to comprehend, I’ll accompany my verbal “Nailed it” with a hand gesture mimicing the action of hammering a nail in slow motion, just to drive my point home.
This is the face my “Nailed It” word/action combo typically elicits:
An example: Since Melissa and I moved into our first place a few months ago we’ve made a real effort to decorate it and make it feel like a home. This has entailed doing things that I’m not naturally good at and don’t have much experience doing. Like using tools.
I was once able to stomach half an episode of “Extreme Home Makeover” before the combination of Ty Pennington’s face, voice, and puka shell necklace gave me a case of the heroin junkie trembles. The large and elaborate homes on this show are built from scratch in a week, largely by volunteers. I am sure that among the large group of volunteers every week there are a few guys like me, which is why I’m also sure that in a year or so we’re going to be seeing news reports about Extreme Home Makeover homes collapsing because the chimney was duct-taped on or because someone tried to caulk a tub with a hot glue gun.
Back to our apartment: We don’t have a lot of counter space, so I thought it might make sense to mount a paper towel roll dispenser onto the cabinet rather than have it take up space on the counter. I went out and bought a dispenser and installed it, and the whole thing went off without a hitch. Here’s a photo of my handiwork:
As you can clearly see, this was a great success. Having ably conquered a task I found intimidating, I turned to my wife and gave her a solid, grave “Nailed it,” complete with the accompanying hand gesture.
After gazing at my triumph for a minute or two, I opened up the cupboard to which the dispenser is attached to retrieve a glass (for some richly deserved root beer). Here’s what I saw:
Turns out I didn’t “nail it.” I actually screwed up. Hey-ooooooooo! Just nailed that.