The Morse Code of Mutual Marital Snark

My wife, Leah, and I are engaged in some classes for an endeavor of major consequence for our personal lives. It’s a cause we believe in, temporarily suspended when we came down with a case of the Nezzie over two years ago.

The problem with these classes is that they are group classes, and they bring out some real characters. These are, make no mistake, well-intentioned people that want to make a difference in the lives of others, or fill a space in their lives that is vacant. But there’s always one that’s got to make an already tedious experience that much more excruciating.

Tonight, it was a Crazy Church Lady only too happy to hijack every slide in the PowerPoint presentation to tell us about her journey towards inevitable beautification. They prayed on it, and decided this was the course they wanted to take in their close-to-retirement years.

She’s a business owner that used to run a daycare where she knew that if she just stopped giving the special kids red food dye that they would emerge from their shells like normalized butterflies, and now she’s pursuing some night school certification in holistic medicine while at the same time she’s pursuing her associates in psychology, which she is sure she can use here, because after all she’s raising her sister’s kid, even though her sister is clean now and lives in Connecticut with a husband and a ten-year-old, she’s now going to take care of another one because the other sibling is into drugs, and her husband’s a pastor and a truck driver and it’s mud season, so he’s busy and he can’t get to classes, and the windows in her bedroom may not be big enough for a fireman to fit through.

At one point, the couple next to us muttered, “shut up.” Her “eliminate red food dye and you cure autism” nonsense elicited a “oh, good heavens, stop,” which was louder than I wanted and caused an all too temporary and awkward silence. Had Leah not taken a potty break, it would have been sufficient to flick her hand subtly, to see which of us would snort out loud first.

Everyone talks about the international language of love, some esoteric dialog we have with our significant other.

When Leah and I gaze into each other’s eyes, it’s usually with a slight twitch of the corner of our mouths. Our Marital Morse Code is solely about a mutual snark for the things around us.

I do try and like people, but group courses about sensitive subject matters bring out a lot of people who really seem to crave some kind of pat on the back or validation for being do-gooders, or having some relevant experience.

Leah taught in emotional support classrooms for years, and has worked with autistic children directly. She knows her stuff. Me, I’m just a schlub that has a natural rapport with children. I don’t pretend to know what I’m doing.

But Leah doesn’t prattle on about all her experiences, nor does she ask questions designed to demonstrate her domain knowledge. Like the one avowed teacher with bald guy goatee that wanted to know just how tough he could be by talking about the restraining techniques that teachers know. My wife knows those, too! And her husband is Army Combatives Level III and has a shodan black belt in aikido – but for crying out loud, it is wholly irrelevant to getting through this course.

We don’t know you people. We don’t need your validation. I’m not interested in what you do or do not know, and I’m not going to burden the process with unsolicited anecdotes about my equally uninteresting life.

That’s what this blog is for!

Me, I’m barely staying awake, entertaining myself by tallying the unsolicited anecdotes from the lady enrolled in the Pope’s Sainthood Correspondence Course and doodling Spongebob characters. Or I’m dipping my finger in my coffee and making like I’m romantically touching Leah’s hand with it, prompting her to giggle and ask, “why is your finger wet?”

Because this is what we do.

When Leah and I met at our old synagogue and fell in love, I realized that we were perfect together, because we’re both secretly snarky assholes.  I mean, we were hot for one another, surely, but it’s mirth-based communication that makes everything special.

I love Leah, and I never want to be without her.


Writer, soldier, programmer, father, musician, Heeb, living in the woods of Down East Maine with three ladies and a dog.

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About Brian

Brian Kresge

Brian Kresge

Writer, soldier, programmer, father, musician, Heeb, living in the woods of Down East Maine with three ladies and a dog.

About Leah

Leah Kresge

Leah Kresge

Director of Education for Congregation Beth Israel in Bangor, Maine, special educator and former school board member, mother to Amelia and Nezzie.

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