Nobody puts Baby in a corner. Yeah, I still live that credo, twenty years into my marriage. When you’re a working class dirty dancer like me and you were lucky enough to land a cute, upper-middle class teenager for a wife, you better believe you make her the star.
The only, and I mean only, exception is when we go to dinner at Ma’s, who’s always been nice about Baby’s special food requests. But I tell Baby she’s lucky she’s in a corner, and not stuck by the kitchen door like Ma who hardly has time to sit down. I can tell Baby pretty much feels like a princess after that—because she looks like that English one you see on TV who stares straight ahead and never smiles.
There are times, though, that Baby thinks I let her end up in a corner, when clearly I didn’t have anything to do with it. Like with my boss at Dancewear International, (where I’m the top sales rep). It was at the office holiday party and he only did it because he didn’t want the other guys’ wives to be jealous of the compliments he was giving her. Besides, being backed between the churro cart and Secret Santa gift table was a pretty sweet spot.
Baby says I let our CPA put her in a corner once, but I don’t think it counts. If he hadn’t shifted my extra cash income (I have a few side projects, if you know what I mean) onto the books of Baby’s School of Dance, I could’ve been audited. The IRS looked at Baby’s business instead, and took most of her earnings that year. She ended up shoplifting a leotard and getting arrested.
When she had to do her community service, the corner was the safest place for Baby. If you’ve ever picked up trash along a highway, you know what I mean. I talked to the supervisors and got them to station her inside the truck, in the corner, sorting the aluminum cans from the rest of the garbage.
She went on a yelling jag for about a month over that one. “You said I’d never be in a corner! I should have married someone like my dad—a doctor!—not some blue collar dance instructor!”
I was going to remind her I got my MBA over five years of night school, but when Baby’s like that she can’t really hear me. First there’s the shouting, then the migraines, then the accusations that I’m not the man I was when we met. That seems like a corner to me, a corner of the soul. So you could say the only person who puts Baby in a corner is Baby herself.
Speaking of souls, just recently I showed her the side-by-side plots I’d bought so we could be together for eternity. Yeah, they were at the edge of the cemetery. I never really thought of it as the corner but when Baby looked at the map sure enough it was. She was about to blow her top so I told her, “We’ll be dead then, it won’t matter.”
“I’m dead now!” she yelled. I told her that isn’t true. Then she reminded me I’m so literal.
Then we looked into each other’s eyes. And we just knew. She came towards me. I opened my arms. And we did the lift. And everything was okay again, like it always is.
What I didn’t tell Baby is, the lift is starting to hurt my back. My trainer said I should switch to a form of exercise where I still get to use a lot of fancy footwork but that’s easier on my spine—so I’m taking up boxing. And after giving her a little sweet talk and migraine meds, I think I know where Baby will be.