Wednesday, June 07, 2006


I think, inherent in most of us, is the wish to do better, be better, whether that feeling is motivated by the laws of a Deity, or just by a gentle primitive urging. We can, of course, ignore the small voices in our head and pursue with rampant greed all that life has to offer with a total disregard for the hearts and heads we crush in the process. But for the most part, I think human nature gently urges us to be fair and considerate of other human beings.

So, having a common belief that a relationship cannot be successful if it is not built on fair and honest principles, Hub and I have always prided ourselves on doing our best to maintain that standard. From day one, there has been joint access and ownership of all that we had. My money was his money and his money was mine. So with this philosophy, we fail to understand couples that live together with separate bank accounts, separate possessions, and separate bill-paying obligations. Still realizing, nonetheless, that everyone has a right to live their own lives however they see best.

But we don’t operate that way. Both Hub and I have always had an easy confidence that if the marriage should sour amidst hot conflict or gross misunderstanding, neither of us would run with more than our share, although it would be an easy thing to do. Whether or not we are just naively idealistic, like Paul McCartney and his wife, who needed no pre-nupt because they were “SO” in love, I don’t know. I guess Sir Paul thought like we did, but it didn’t work out so well for him. But these thoughts are a deviation from what I really want to discuss. What I want to discuss is in the midst of all this truth and trust is my suspicion that some unethical stuff is sneaking into this relationship.

Now last night Hub did what he so often does. He made a monster bowl of popcorn before settling in to watch TV. And he did something else he always does. He melted all the butter in the butter dish and poured every drop of it on his popcorn. So later, when I was tidying up in the kitchen before going to bed, I found that empty dish and I was truly annoyed. There is nothing I hate more than making toast in the morning and having to dig out frozen, rock-hard butter from the freezer. Too hard to even cut without shattered butter leaping into the air. And then the caution needed to soften that butter in the microwave without converting it to a pool of liquid. So before going to bed, I portioned a frozen bit of butter and put it in a clean butter dish. I then hid that butter dish in a different part of the cupboard.

This morning I spread hot toast out on the counter in readiness for buttering and then began a search for the butter (having of course forgotten by now where my special butter-hiding place was). Hub couldn’t help noticing that I was looking for something. That’s when he piped up, “If you’re looking for the butter, there is none. I used it all last night.”

“But I do so have some butter,” I said smugly. “I hid some in the cupboard and obviously will have to continue to do so if I want soft butter for toast in the morning. Actually I would have a bigger problem with you emptying the butter dish and not filling another except for one thing. When you empty the butter dish, that’s when I eat your chocolate.”

Hub's eyes got big. His mouth dropped open. “Did you eat my chocolate bar?” he asked in shock and disbelief. (Although we have joint ownership of most things, when it comes to chocolate bars, here there is a separation. Hub gets one bi-weekly bar and I get 8 to 10 bars cause Hub is a diabetic and I am not.)

“Do your mean to say that I have to hide my chocolate bar,” he continued. “When did you eat it? Did you stuff it down your throat when I was having a shower or in the bathroom? Or did you eat it when I was outside? When did you sneak behind my back like a common thief and eat my bar?”

“I didn’t hide anywhere and eat it. You know me better than that. I would never be that deceptive. I sat adjacent to you in the livingroom and ate it when you were eating popcorn and watching ‘Lone Star’. In case you hadn’t noticed, I become invisible when you are eating your buttered popcorn and watching ‘Lone Star’. When you’re doing that I can sit at my computer less than four feet from you buck-naked without my teeth, with chocolate all over my face and scratch my bottom with a table fork and you wouldn’t notice. In fact I can even eat your chocolate bar and smack my lips without risk of being seen – or heard! So do what you wish with the butter. It matters not to me.”

So that’s my story. But now I am a bit concerned. I can’t help wondering if this butter and bar business is ethical. Maybe it isn’t. Maybe it is one of those tiny shreds of contamination that is easy to overlook but yet it can quickly lead to full-scale corruption. God, I hope not.


Anonymous Scotia said...

*laughs softly* That post cracked me up. Here I thought it was going to be a studious discourse into the failings of modern relationships... (tangent)

I tend to think that people just don't trust as easily anymore because though there is more wealth in our part of the world, people have become greedier because of it... the more you have, the more you want. Also, there aren't the huge social and religious pressures to stay married no matter what like their used to be in decades past. Therefore, many people go into relationships either expecting them to fail, or wanting to "secure their own" in case they do. That's my theory on separate bank accounts, etc.

Perhaps another related theory is that many women, now having the freedom to have their own assets as they did not before, have chosen this path as a show of emancipation of sorts. (off tangent)

... and here you go being amusing again. Hmph. ;)

1:54 PM  
Blogger Roberta said...

scotia, some of what you've said surprised me. It never even occurred to me that separate finances are formed because of an expectation that a marriage may fail. Oooh, that is so not good -- if the theory of self-fulfilling prophecies (i.e. one often gets that that they they hope for)is as accurate as it tends to be. Obviously there is much more that could have been discussed in this blog related to greed. I don't think I buy the 'emancipation' thing.

But, as you noted, more often than not the stuff I write is not to be taken too seriously although I do try to throw in some options to stimulate new thoughts. And you have stimulated a whole whorlwind (sp) of thoughts with your comment. Thanks for dropping in.

1:35 AM  
Blogger the old bag said...

Great post!

all's fair in love


6:17 AM  
Blogger Roberta said...

To that last comment by the old bag -- Thank you for that. That is a fair and just rule that I can ethically live by!

9:26 AM  

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