“Honestly, I thought I was just doing you a favor,” I plead with my wife.
“A favor? I don’t need help like that! I’m ruined,” Emily responds, shaking her clenched fists at me.
I have never seen her this mad. Not even when I bought the sailing kayak because I was going to train to sail around the world. That reminds me. I need to open the sail. It’s been in the garage for months, and the rats may have gotten to it. Focus! Your forty-two-year marriage is at stake here. I force myself back to the conversation, although I’d rather be riding my electric bike, my new hobby. Focus!
“Dear, I’m sure it will be alright. You always say you post stuff, and no one ever reads it.”
“Go ahead. Pile it on. First, you post that horrible video, and now you remind me I’m a terrible writer and no one reads my stuff.” Emily paces back and forth in her stilettos. We are in the kitchen, so there’s not much room. It’s back and forth in the same place on the hardwood floor. Maybe I can get her to move to the living room.
“Let’s sit down and try to figure this out.”
“Sit! You think I can sit? I do my best thinking pacing.”
“Let’s call the kids. They’ll know what to do,” I offer without much hope of saving the fine wood. When she cools off and sees the pockmarks, she’ll blame me for ruining the floor.
The phone rings, and I grab it, thankful for the distraction.
“Dad, have you seen YouTube? Who posted that?” It’s my daughter. The only person I fear more than my angry wife is my crazy daughter, Mabel, the dictator.
“Hey baby, how you doing?” I say, trying to win her over before she hears the story from her mother.
Emily seizes the phone. She tells Emily what I’ve done, which I don’t think is such a big deal. Emily is trying to build an audience for her romance novels and always complains about not getting people to her website. I thought it would help if people saw where she gets the inspiration for her stories and posted an old video of us in a compromising situation. Hearing Emily tell Mabel, I realize it was probably not a great idea. What was I thinking?
“I deleted it, but there were half a million hits by the time I saw it,” Emily explains. I don’t understand why she doesn’t see the silver lining in this. People have found her website. She says it doesn’t reflect her brand. What is that? Anyway, don’t viral videos blow over in a day or two?
“I’ve canceled all my meetings. I need time to think. Yeah, come over. I could use your help.” Emily hangs up the phone and shoots me a deadly look. The few hairs in the back of my head stand up. She stops pacing and walks out of the room. I check the floor. No damage is done; the floor is fine. I hear Emily go into her office and roll her chair. Okay, maybe she’ll sit down to write and calm down. I proudly remember all the times I’ve inspired her novels. I’m her stud-muffin. I flex my well-developed arm muscles and do a couple of push-ups on the counter, then sit on a counter stool, out-of-breath. I need to start training again.
“MICHAEL!” I hear a blood-curdling scream and jump. I run to Emily’s office, and there she is, sitting in front of her computer, her hands on her temples, her head tilted back, her eyes wild.
“A million hits!” she screams, shaking her head.
She’s never going to see this can be a good thing. Should I travel back in time to last night?