I’ve been framed

Bruce close up

“This is your fault,” I told Tracey. “You didn’t text me back you hated them so how was I to know?” It wasn’t the first time I’d said this.

For a week now Tracey has had this annoying habit of breaking out into a huge, stupid grin when she walks into the room and looks at me. Then she’ll back out, chuckling and shaking her head. Mind you, I admit it’s been nice to make her laugh. Only I wish it was with me and not at me.

Remember how when you first got together with your partner, you really got them and they got you and everything each of you said was hilarious and awesome? I know I was hilarious because Tracey would throw her head back and laugh then reward my wittiness with sex. Life was good.

But as time has passed I’ve noticed Tracey often isn’t as enthusiastic about my sense of humour anymore. I don’t get whole body parts being thrown about in appreciation of my jokes. Rather than throw her whole head back she’s more likely to just roll her eyes back instead.

“You need some new material,” she’ll tell me.

Which is why it’s nice to meet new people: to dust off the old material and step up to the mic and soak in the accolades.

And most couples I know are in the same boat. You meet them down town and one (usually the bloke) will start making funnies and the other (usually the missus) will glaze over and drift off to their happy place.

From my earliest recollection, my mum and dad have always been like this. Mum’s heard all his stories a hundred times. We all have. If Mum & Dad are shopping and he starts up, she’ll wander off and spend his money.

When I was younger we’d go out to a restaurant and dad would begin his routine with the waitress from the moment we sat down to order. We’d all sit quietly looking at our hands or the cutlery while he told his war stories and wish like hell we’d ordered drinks as she walked us to our table.

And it’s not that they aren’t funny stories, they are. I mean, hell, they were funny enough to produce three kids.

One of Dad’s classics, which I laughed heartily at the first few dozen times I heard it, was when he was new to working in the bank and he was stationed in head office. Everyone had left for the day and he was on his way out when he passed a desk and someone’s phone rang, so he answered it.

“City Morgue.”

“I beg your pardon! That is not how we answer the phone in the Commonwealth Bank!” said the caller.

“It’s how I answer the phone on a Friday afternoon,” Dad said, laughing.

“Do you know who you’re talking to?” the voice asked my father. “This is the CEO of the bank!”

“Well do you know who you’re talking to?” my father challenged.

“No,” said the bank’s number one guy.

“Good!” said my dad, and slammed the phone down and went to the pub.

See what I mean? It’s worth a chuckle first time through.

“Your father is sooo funny,” the waitress would inevitably say to us when Dad ducked away to order a drink at the bar and try his material out on the girl pouring his beers.

So the jokes are still funny, it’s just there is no home crowd advantage in comedy.

Which is why it’s probably nice Tracey is finding me funny lately. It’s just a shame it’s because of my new glasses.

“You know if you got those things a year ago you could have saved yourself the trouble of a vasectomy,” she told me the other night.

Every year I go to buy new glasses I decide to get something different and exciting, and every year I leave with the exact same frames as before.

But this year, two important things were different.

Firstly, I discovered the optometrist’s supplier no longer made one of the glass’s frames I usually buy, so I had to come up with an alternative. The trouble cemented itself because Tracey couldn’t make the appointment with me and I went in with my Mum.

The reason Mum was a big factor was she was also there to have her eyes checked and was effectively blind and couldn’t tell me how daft I apparently looked. This is usually Tracey’s job.

Not that she didn’t have every opportunity.

I had Miss9 take my photo with the proposed frames on, and send it to Tracey’s mobile. When I didn’t receive a strongly worded message back I took it as a yes and ordered them.

Miss9 did a little photo editing before emailing my photo to Tracey.
Miss9 did a little photo editing before emailing my photo to Tracey. She wubs me.

The final result is, this week, everyone has been comparing me to some of the great movers and shakers of the entertainment industry. Drew Carey. Harry Potter. Urkel.

When Tracey walked into the room tonight and was again surprised by my new look, chuckled and left, I asked her why she didn’t let me know she hated them when Miss9 sent her the photo.

Tracey spread her arms and grinned. “Because I thought you were joking,” she told me.

So close, and yet ….

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