Take the 5th
John Norberg, humor columnist s

People say they're catching a cold. This makes no sense. To catch a cold implies that a person is running after viruses trying to inhale them. We catch a ball. We catch a train. We catch fish, if we're lucky. But we don't catch colds. Colds catch us. My wife was caught by a cold earlier this spring.

Wife: "I don't feel well at all."

Me: "That's horrible."

Wife: "Thanks for you concern."

Me: "It's horrible because you kissed me this morning when we left for work. Now your cold is going to catch me. I'm going to be sick."

Wife: "Are you only worried about yourself? Don't you remember your wedding vows to love me in sickness and in health?"

The truth is I do love her in sickness and in health. It's just that when she's sick I love her from a distance until she gets better. I've always said that the marriage vows we use today need some updating. They don't cover the important things in life like exactly what we're supposed to do when our love gets sick with something contagious. Care for them like a heroic nurse? Wish them well and move to a motel?

We mostly vow to love and to cherish. Loving and cherishing are easy. Anyone can do that. But what if a man had to vow to love and to cherish, to take out the garbage on Thursdays, to keep the grass mowed, to do his share of the household chores, to share cooking dinner and grocery shopping, to keep his clothes off the floor, to share the TV remote and to not leave one teaspoon of ice cream in the container in the freezer so he doesn't have to carry it to the trash can and throw it away.

I know a lot of men who would find those vows a little too extreme. But it does make his responsibilities perfectly clear.

And of course we all vow to love for richer or for poorer. But when does that richer thing kick in? Marriage. Mortgage. Kids. College. Grandkids. It's seems like all we do after taking our wedding vows is get poorer and poorer. There are a lot of situations marriage vows don't cover and from a man's viewpoint we might be wise to set up something like a Marriage Bill of Rights.

My wife was out of town last week. She asked me to return her library book while she was gone. A couple days ago she forwarded me an email from the library stating that her book was overdue.

She called me.

Wife: "Did you take my book back to the library?"

Me: "What?"

Of course I heard what she said. Asking "what?" is a diversionary tactic men use to give us more time to come up with an answer that won't get us into trouble.

It never works. But we still try it.

Wife: "I got a notice from the library that the book I asked you to return is overdue. Did you take it back?"

A smart attorney will never ask a question in a court of law without knowing the answer. And clearly my smart wife knew I hadn't taken back the book. She had received a notice. So what was I supposed to say? I was trapped like a dog. Or a husband. Take your choice.

Wife: "Where is the book?"

Me: "Under the Fifth Amendment to the Marriage Vows of the United States of America I decline to answer because my answer might incriminate me."

Wife: "I've never heard of any Fifth Amendment to the Marriage Vows."

Well, we should have one. Gangsters take the Fifth. Politicians who get in trouble take the Fifth. Why not other guilty people, like husbands.

Why should we be forced to answer questions that can be used against us?

Me: "I'm standing on my rights as a husband that I can't be forced to incriminate myself."

Wife: "Just please drive by the library and drop off the book."

I did. And the case of the overdue library book is officially closed. But I'm afraid I'm going to be forced to take the Fifth again when she comes home and catches me for leaving a container of ice cream in the freezer with only one tablespoon left

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