My wife caught me yesterday morning at 6:45 sitting in a lawn chair in the backyard clad only in pajama bottoms, a T-shirt and slippers. It was 29 degrees.
“Are you crazy?” she demanded. “Get in here before you freeze to death.”
But I wasn’t cold.
It’s possible — looking back through history — to identify precisely when the division between the sexes reached a flashpoint. It’s a single word. I think you know what that word is.
What? No, it’s not feminism. It isn’t transgenderism either. Hell, it’s not any agenda-ism.
Get a grip. The word, you morons, is “thermostat.”
That’s right, the gizmo on the wall that regulates the temperature in a shared living space. Control of the thermostat — particularly during the season in which observation of active free-range snakes occurs — is imperative for the long-term cohesion of the collective genders.
Before we can proceed, some parameters need to be set.
I am 100 percent guy. It even says so on my driver license. I have a Y chromosome and everything. As a guy, I’m prone to slobbery, loutish behavior, insensitivity and a willingness to resort to violence as a way of solving mechanical problems. I’m OK with that.
My wife is a woman, or a double Xer when it comes to chromosomes. I know this to be a fact because — well, never mind. She won’t let me tell you how I know it. She’s beautiful, tolerant, intelligent, and, thanks to a 43-year marriage to me — almost certainly a masochist.
But it drives me crazy that she’s Canadian and yet could still freeze to death in the middle of a Utah August.
We fought over the thermostat during our first few years of marriage. She was always too cold. I was always too warm. The thermostat in our apartment got more action than the TV.
At the time, I believed that, as the man of the house and the primary provider, I should have some (nearly all) say in the setting of the thermostat. What an idiot, right?
Eventually, after a year of loud negotiating, during which I failed to produce a form of early-warning radar even as rudimentary as just an eye in the back of my head, we reached a decision.
I wrote it in my journal:
“Saturday, Oct. 29, 1977 — This place is like an oven. But at least we’ve reached a final ultimatum. From now on, I cannot touch the %&@#! thermostat unless I have a fever of at least 102, or a body core temperature of 61 degrees or less. On her part, she will continue to feed me most evenings and will stop sneaking up on me. My head hurts.”
It’s signed by both of us.
For years after that, I thought it was a condition particular to me until our teenage daughters started bringing home boys and then husbands.
That’s when I realized that it wasn’t just me but rather a gender issue. The boys started opening windows, turning on fans, even touching the thermostat.
Maybe we can get some legislation going to help resolve thermostat-ism before it ruins society.
Robert Kirby is The Salt Lake Tribune’s humor columnist. Follow Kirby on Facebook.