The small, perfectly square cardboard box came with the mail last Tuesday. I forgot about it until I saw him sitting in the den — a collar, batteries and a small remote control spread out over the coffee table. He sighed in frustration.
“Here,” my hubby said. “touch this,” and held the dog collar out to me.
“No way,” I said, “You touch it.”
“I’m not going to touch it,” he said. “I’ll get shocked.”
Two questions lept into my mind. The first: Does he think I’m stupid? The second: Why is it OK for me to get shocked, but not him? I started to voice both of them out loud, but just glared at him instead. He wasn’t paying attention. He was mad at the collar that apparently wasn’t working.
I can’t say I was upset, not entirely thrilled at the idea of having one in the first place. But I was convinced that if it would help teach the dog not to do something that might potentially hurt him, it was OK for a little while. Still, I really didn’t like it.
“I really don’t like it,” I said out loud. Nothing. He still wasn’t paying attention.
“Have you read the directions?” I offered, which I was sure would get some sort of response, at the very least a dirty look. But I got nothing. He wasn’t listening to me.
If only ...
If only there was some sort of contraption I could slip around his head that I could control with a remote, something that would give him a mild little shock when he ignored me. Nothing harsh, just the tiniest little something to make him listen to me, and do things. Oh, the possibilities!
But no, no. I shouldn’t even be thinking such a thing. I am a horrible, horrible wife. To even imagine being in control of my husband with the mere touch of a button on a remote control, to be able to zap him when he refuses to turn the channel from Canadian football in the middle of July or every time he puts a wet towel on the bed. It is a terrible, terrible thought for me to have. I should be ashamed for even letting such a ludicrous idea even enter my brain. How horrible of me ... a shock collar for my husband ... it would be ... it would be ...
Coffee grounds in the sink after asking him over and over to rinse them out each morning? Zzzzt. The lid on the peanut butter not screwed back on? Zzzzt. The toilet seat left up so someone, specifically me, nearly falls in in the middle of the night? Zzzzzt!
I would be totally fair. Most collars come with warning sounds you can send when you catch them about to do something they shouldn’t be doing. I would totally give him a warning signal. Then again, that’s kind of what I’ve been doing anyway.
“If you leave the lid on the peanut butter unscrewed one more time ...”
It doesn’t work.
He may not get a warning signal.
He’s staring at the television and I’m trying to tell him this really great, totally interesting story about how my shoes make my feet hurt, and he doesn’t even comment or act like he’s concerned? Zzzzt. I don’t want to watch “Raiders of the Lost Ark” for the 9,376th time? Zzzzt and zzzt. He really likes “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”
Giddy with possibility, the words came out of my mouth before I could stop them. “I wish I had one of those collars for you,” I half-whispered, fully expecting him to not hear a word I said. Well would you look at that ... He heard me. How very interesting.
“I wish I had one of these for you,” he said. “It would be fantas...”
Be quiet. It was my idea first.
Contact columnist Mandy Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.