Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN


March 25, 2010

A River Runs Through It

My wife and I are very competitive. Take skiing for example. I don’t like skiing. Mary Ellen says she doesn’t like it more than I don’t. We’ve been arguing about this our entire marriage. We’re equally cutthroat when it comes to not mowing the lawn. It’s exhausting.

Our newest spirited debate involves the Middle East. But it’s not something as mundane Israeli-Arab relations. It’s about the trip Mary Ellen and I are taking to Egypt in the fall. Neither of us knew much about that part of the world, so we went to the fabulous display at the Children’s Museum several months ago. Mary Ellen toured the exhibit and learned some of the history of the 4000-year-old culture while I stayed downstairs and argued with the ticket lady that the senior discount should kick in at 63, not 65. You’d think these people would know something about the ancients.

Whenever we travel, my wife gets herself all educated about where we are going. She buys books and DVDs and is glued to the History Channel while I’m upstairs watching "The Simpsons." Then at bedtime she drones on about what she learned. I’m amazed that she can keep so much trivia in her head, but it comes at a price. This is the same person who went 15,000 miles without an oil change.

By the time we get on a plane, Mary Ellen is so knowledgeable about our destination that I’m not quite sure what the point is of even going. In Germany a few years ago, the guide had laryngitis so my wife took over the tour and casually summarized the historical significance of the Rhine River. People were hanging on her every word and I got jealous so I grabbed the mic and rattled on about the history of Black Forest Cake, something I had learned at lunch by reading a placemat in Dusseldorf.

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