Hang On
John Norberg, humor columnist s

The other morning I was sitting on the edge of the bathtub doing what I guess everyone does while sitting on the edge of the bathtub.

I was reading e-mail and checking Facebook.

My wife came in and sat down beside me.

Wife: "I have a request. You might think this is silly but I'm serious. And I don't want you to write a column about what I'm going to say."

Me: "You know you can trust me. Do you think I would use what you're going to say just to have a topic for a column?"

Okay. I guess I would. I never said I was perfect.

Wife: "It has to do with hangers. We have a lot of plastic hangers. We have white ones, brown ones, black ones, blue ones, green, red, beige, yellow and orange ones."

Me: "And some of them are pink!"

Wife: "They're mauve. But that's not the point. I want the white ones. I've always wanted all my clothes on white hangers instead of a mixture of colors. I've been thinking about it and I've decided during the next few weeks as we wash clothes let's put all my things on white hangers."

She's been retired now for three weeks. I knew what this meant.

Me: "Do you have enough to do to keep you busy? Maybe it's time for you to go back to work."

Hangers are a part of our lives. They're always hanging around. When I was a bachelor I used wire hangers. (This was before Mommy Dearest). In those days I only had the essentials I needed for survival: a bed, the phone number of a pizza delivery place and a refrigerator. I didn't need a washing machine. I sent my clothes to the cleaners and stuff came back on wire hangers.

When we married I carried thousands of totally tangled-up wire hangers into our house in huge plastic bags.

"Here's another great reason why you will be happy you married me," I told my new wife. "We will never run out of wire hangers."

I can't remember what she said. But the bags of wire hangers were on the curb for our first married trash pick up together. I guess I should have been glad I wasn't on the curb with them.

My wife had some women friends over for bridge and I told them about her white hanger request. They all agreed with color-coded hangers.

One has a second place in Florida and keeps clothes that stay in her closets on red hangers and uses white hangers for things that go back and forth. Another puts all her clothes only on black hangers. Another insists on her white things being on white hangers, blue things on blue hangers and so on. One of my wife's sisters uses only designer hangers.

Do you ever wonder where all these hangers come from? You start off marriage with a few hangers in your closet and 33 years later you have hundreds of them. Maybe thousands. And they're all different colors.

Me: "How did we get pink hangers? Were they white elephant Christmas gifts?"

Wife: "They're mauve."

Me: "Okay. Were they mauve elephant Christmas gifts?"

I've decided hangers actually reproduce in the closet at night.

Today, everyone wants a beautiful closet. Magazines are filled with ads picturing walk in closets the size of basketball arenas. Everything is perfect and color coordinated. There are no dirty socks and old gym bags lying around like in normal closets.

My wife and I share a closet and there is a good reason ours will never look like the ones featured in magazines.

Wife: "Our closet looks like before and after photos. My side is before the hurricane and your side is after."

It's easier for a man and woman to share a checkbook, a credit card and relatives than it is to share a closet.

I gave my wife all the white hangers. I didn't understand it. It made no sense to me. But I went along with it.

The other day she did the wash and I found my shirts hanging in the laundry room.

Me: "Wait a minute! My shirts are hung up wrong."

Wife: "They're fine."

Me: "No they're not. I always hang my shirts facing the same direction "like soldiers in formation. These face different directions "left, right. This is total chaos."

Wife: "Okay, what direction do you want your shirts to face when they hang."

Me: "I can't remember. I'll go up to the closet and look."

I guess this just goes to prove what people say.

We all have our own hang-ups.

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