What did Oliver ever do to you or your lime green shirt?

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Husband-and-wife journalists Bob Miller and Callie Clark Miller share the same small house and tiny bathroom but not always the same opinion. They offer their views on every-day issues, told from two different perspectives.

SHE SAID: There are a few things in life a wife should never force her husband to do.

Like eating Brussels sprouts.

Or having a vasectomy.

Recently though, Bob has displayed a surge of manhood-preservation instincts over even my smallest, most helpful suggestions.

Exhibit A: The case of the mismatched ensemble (an abridged re-enactment).

Me: Oh, hon, were you really planning to wear that lime green shirt with those maroon pants?

Bob: Yes.

Me: No way, that doesn't match.

Bob: Don't tell me what to do. I'll wear what I want and there's nothing you can do about it.

Me: Fine. (While thinking ... but I'm hiding that lime green shirt.)

Since my power of persuasion seems to have waned after a year and a half of wedded bliss, I've had to come up with alternative tactics for making Bob do what I want ... er, do the right thing.

It's a delicate art form, to be sure, one that requires the mental prowess of a successful car salesman, the aloofness of a Hollywood starlet and the war-time strategizing abilities of General Patton.

And sometimes, it backfires.

Take, for example, last week's trip to the Muny. I had four tickets to see "Oliver," and only three people to take advantage of them. And there was poor Bob, resigned to a lonely day of sitting on the couch all by himself.

Knowing how much he desperately wants to spend more time with his wife, and how he hates to see free tickets wasted, it seemed only natural to invite him along.

The ensuing conversation was like reeling in a 15-pound bass on 10-pound test line. No sudden movements, no slack in the line, and eventually he landed on the Dock of IGIVEUP.

Unfortunately, he flopped around for most of the evening, gasping for air as we shopped at a St. Louis mall, eyes bugging out as we watched the two-hour musical.

I'm pretty sure he would have preferred the Brussels sprouts.

HE SAID: Food, glorious food.

That was the best thing about the musical. I had this huge chocolate-dipped cone with peanuts on top, which was great. The toppings were outstanding, but the ice cream was only so-so.

I must say that my disappointment with "Oliver" was not in the performance. The vocals were top-notch. The stage was well done. A professional job, indeed.

But I'm just not a musical kind of guy.

I like dramas. I like concerts. I like stories. And I like suspense.

I do not like them all meshed together. For instance, one of my favorite movies of all time is "The Shawshank Redemption." There is a bit of music in it, for instance when Andy Dufresne plays the opera over the loudspeakers at the prison. How silly it would have been for Andy, while surrounded by his inmates, to break out in song and dance.

Jail, terrible jail.

Bars, toilets and rapists.

Wrong-ly con-VIC-ted, Oh, how I do hate it.

And then Andy would jump onto a mess hall table with Red, Heywood and Tommy circling the tables, offering hand glitter to the tall drink of water in the spotlight.

Not exactly my idea of entertainment.

But Oliver was kind of like that. It's a story about an orphan boy who gets sold by an orphanage all because he dared ask for more food. He runs away and joins a group of thieves. In the end, one of the thieves, the baddest of them all, gets shot. It's a dark story surrounded by lovely music and dance.

I prefer to get swept away by stories. I can't do that while someone is singing to me, clicking heels and prancing. No matter how impressive the voice, the heels or the prance.

I don't know why I let Callie talk me into it. She has a way with things, holding grudges, sometimes lingering in bad moods like a sour note at the end of a musical tune.

So, yeah, I sucked it up. Went to a musical and had some mediocre ice cream and a bargaining chip for later.

Callie got her way. That's just the way it is. But doggone it, I'm going to wear that lime green shirt with whatever I please.

cmiller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 128

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