My husband came to a decision a few months ago. Actually, he came to his supposed last decision when he decided that he would no longer be making any decisions. As I recall, this came about after I asked him an especially challenging question involving what he wanted to watch on television that night: a Robert Redford movie or the Weather Channel.
“I don’t care. I’ve decided that I’m not making any decisions anymore,” he responded.
I must admit that my occasionally controlling personality did a small jig when I heard his answer but having known him for a few decades, I decided to proceed cautiously. “What do you mean you’re not making any decisions anymore?”
“Just that. I’m tired of deciding things.” Then he said the truly golden sentence that all wives secretly long to hear. “From now on you can decide everything.”
After changing the channel to R.R., I settled down in my recliner to savor the gift I had just been given. Having the power to make all decisions in our household obviously extended beyond keeping the remote next to me at all times (although the notion of never having to sit through another showing The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was truly exhilarating). From now on I would get to decide where we went on vacation, what we had for dinner, who would change the kitty litter, what Hubby would wear when we went out to dinner…the possibilities were not only thrilling, they were also endless.
I cautioned myself not to get too excited. Not making any decisions about anything might pall after awhile and there was a good chance that my husband would come to the realization that being essentially mute and leaving everything up to his other half might not be such a fantastic thing in the long run.
But in the meantime…
“What is this?” Hubby said the next evening as he looked quite unenthusiastically at the dinner I had just set before him.
“That is a completely salt-free, meat-free, fat-free casserole,” I replied. “It’s also high in fiber. Doesn’t it smell great?”
“It smells like something that you found in the vegetable bin that rotted,” he replied, poking at a piece of broccoli.
“You aren’t making any decisions anymore,” I reminded him. “I get to decide everything and vegetables are good for you—way better than red meat so eat up.”
“It would be better with Velveeta on it,” he stated. “I like cheese on vegetables.”
“Hmmm…that sounds an awful lot like a decision to me,” I remarked.
“It isn’t a decision. It’s a suggestion.”
“And I’ve decided not to take your suggestion. Velveeta is bad for you too.”
Falling into an annoyed silence, my spouse stoically ate his dinner. I suppose it was all the power rushing to my head but I should have made note of the tiny glint of uncertainty in his eyes, a glint that should have told me that he was already starting to rethink this whole ‘no more decisions’ stance. But I didn’t. I was too busy thinking about what other dinners I wanted to cook and vacations I wanted to book. The old saying about power corrupting and absolute power corrupting absolutely had come home to roost at our very own kitchen table.
For almost an entire week I continued to reign as Decider of Everything. It was a lovely week. The thermostat stayed at 70 degrees, the television remained on the Lifetime channel and neither of us stepped a single toe into Menards, Home Depot or Ace Hardware. However, by the end of that week I noticed that the glow of being the only person in charge was starting to fade a wee bit for me. While it was fun to decide the more trivial matters, trying to decipher what to do about things like insurance policies and mechanical issues began to get to me. The final straw broke when it looked like we would need to get new tires for our car.
“What kind of tires should we get?” I asked. “And where should we get them?”
The glint I had noticed earlier was back only now it was bigger and definitely stronger. “You decide,” Hubby said with more than a touch of menace. “You’re making all of the decisions, remember?”
I suddenly knew that payback time for all of the vegetarian casseroles, Golden Girl marathons and lack of chocolate ice cream in the freezer had suddenly arrived. “I can’t do that. I don’t know anything about tires. That’s your job.”
“OK, but I want cheeseburgers for dinner and hand me the remote after you turn the thermostat down. When are you going to buy Oreos again?” Mr. No Decisions vanished in an instant as Mr. Take Charge held his hand out for the remote control.
What can I say? It was nice while it lasted but almost better when it ended.