REALITY CHECK: It’s hard to have fun when someone loves you

Reality Check | Mike Taylor

When we first met, Sweet Annie didn’t seem to care much what I did, what I ate, where I went. That was nearly four years ago. These days, she cares about all that stuff. A lot.

I first noticed the change a couple summers ago, during a backyard barbecue. I was telling my daughter about my plans to try skydiving, something that’s been on my bucket list for more than ten years. I’m not typically a thrill-seeker type, but skydiving just looks like SO much fun.

My grandfather was a paratrooper during both WWII and Korea. He made dozens of “drops” through fusillades of Japanese and Korean bullets. My own skydiving experience, as I planned it, would not involve anybody shooting at me with anything scarier than a camcorder.

Even so, Annie gently suggested my best skydiving years are probably behind me and that — even without enemy combatants trying to pick me off — I could still land myself (so to speak) in intensive care.

She made similar comments when she caught me a few months later perusing hang gliders on Ebay. I didn’t actually have my credit card out, but I was thinking about it.

I live on top of a hill overlooking Baldwin Lake; I figured I could get a running start and cast myself out over the waves, maybe dropping water balloons on swimmers at the beach. Again, hang gliding is one of my bucket list items.

But every time I bring up the topic around Annie, she goes all quiet and introspective, a sure sign of feminine disapproval.

She seems to have similar, unfavorable, opinions regarding my desire to one day compete in a real demolition derby; about sleeping with a pistol next to the bed (“You’ll shoot your own toe off” was the actual comment); about … well, you get the idea.

She never actually comes out and tells me I CAN’T do something; she knows me better than that. Instead, she lets me know how worried she would be IF I did this or that. In other words, if I love her, I won’t engage in potentially life-threatening activities.

Considering all the aggravation I cause her, you’d think she would be less determined to keep me alive indefinitely. But women are mysterious creatures and I gave up long ago trying to figure them out.

I know I should be flattered by her concern.

But just lately, this “looking out for me” thing has begun to get entirely out of hand. Whenever we dine together, she goes out of her way to push the vegetables. Seriously, you’d think the woman owns stock in a carrot company.

Then the other day, she came over to my place with vitamins. Vitamins! I’ve never taken a vitamin in my life, and now at this late date, Sweet Annie decides I need ‘em? Adding insult to injury, she purchased the kind with the word “Mature” on the label. This despite the fact she frequently claims I am anything but!

That’s OK. I’m pretty crazy about Annie, and I know she’s only looking out for me because she loves me, too.

But I swear, if she tries to get me to wear galoshes next fall, I’m buying a hang glider and a handgun.

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