Sunday, April 14, 2013

144. Statistics

Walked into the living room yesterday morning and found C.W. busy making notes in a spiral notebook and muttering to himself, having assumed the shape of what could best be described as an “old goat.” He was an exact replica of a Chief Bosun’s mate I served under in the Navy— a man named Zelmer whose hatred for the world was exceeded only by his verbal acuity in expressing the same.

“Marital bliss my ass,” he growled as I sat across from him with my coffee.

“Morning,” I said.

“Goddam your eyes,” he said.

“Glad to hear you are doing well. What’s up?”

It was only then that he looked at me. “How long have you and Mrs. Big Dope been married?”

I can’t risk busting his ‘cookies’ when he gets like this. “In dog-years or real years?”

This caught him up short for a moment, then he snarled. “Fender-head.”

“Nearly 41 years,” I said. “What’s it to you?”

“Filing a report,” he said. “Those idiots back on Falloonia have been reading all these dispatches about ‘joyous mood’ marriages and they want some facts.”

“Uh, do you by any chance mean gay marriages?”

“Ain’t that what I just said?”

 I let it pass. His pre-programmed translation-device insert does that sometimes. “So what do you have so far?”

“Just some notes on marital attraction factors.”

“Such as?”

“Money marries money.”


“Opposites attract.”

“And that is based on?”

“You and Mrs. Big Dope.”


“Yes,” he said and, for the first time, I noticed a Styrofoam cup on the table in front of him. He reached over, pulled it to his mouth and spat into it. I instantly noticed the smell of tobacco.

“Gross,” I said.

“Your marriage?” he said, quickly readying himself to take notes.

“No, that disgusting thing.” I motioned toward the cup. “And my wife and I demonstrate your principle of marital opposites how?”

“How tall are you?”

“I was six feet tall but the burden of dealing with you has reduced me to five-foot eleven and three-quarters,” I said.

He wrote in his notebook and muttered something to himself about my mother. “And how tall is your wife?”

“She says she is five-foot two,” I said. “And she says it with an edge in her voice that invites no further inquiry.”

“So there you go. Opposites attract.”

“C.W.,” I said, not knowing quite where to begin. “Didn’t they teach you about the pitfalls of inductive reasoning back on Falloonia?”

“Inductive, shminductive,” he said, mocking me. “How about this one? Marriage is only allowed for those who can’t do without sex.”

“That is a statistic?”

With a failure rate exceeding fifty percent,
it doesnt' seem to bother some folks that the
impact of marriage is confined solely to
couples of the opposite sex. - C.W.
“No, that is a Biblical injunction. Not a statistic. Your species tends to confuse them from time to time.” He smiled. “You want a statistical analysis?” he said. He flipped through his notes and read. “The institution of marriage is an interesting statistical anomaly. Although enjoying less than a 50 percent success rate, it has generated a vast body of legal imperatives and an almost mythical degree of preoccupation among the conservative-minded of the species who wish, apparently, that the impact of its spurious reliability be confined to pairs of the opposite sex.”

He stopped and looked at me. “Is that deductive enough for you?”

At this point I was fed up. “Deductive shmeductive,” I said. “Have you heard the one about the alien who spent three years among Earthlings but didn’t understand a thing about them?”

He didn’t miss a beat. “Did you hear about the one Earthling that was so dumb the other Earthlings began to notice it?”


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