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Elbows meet ax, elbows win

I am a lot of things. I am a talker, a raconteur, a teller of stories. I can be, I am told, fairly engaging company. I am especially interesting to women who are, as the saying goes, "of a certain age".

I am a lot of things.

I am a talker, a raconteur, a teller of stories. I can be, I am told, fairly engaging company. I am especially interesting to women who are, as the saying goes, "of a certain age". I think it's because they see, in me, the teddy bear they had to give up some forty years (or more) ago. I'm fluffy, glassy-eyed, and comfortable to hug.

So okay, maybe I'm not exactly a lover; I'm also not a fighter. So it always baffles me when my wife sends me off to a fight.

She and I were in bed the other night when there was a strange sound in the house.

Let me clarify that. We were in bed when my wife claimed she heard a strange sound in the house. I have no independent way to confirm that there was, in fact, any sound, strange or otherwise, because at the time I was deep in sleep. The only strange sound I heard was the distinctive, saw-tooth grating of my wife's surgical steel elbows as she raked them across my ribs.

"What was that?" she asked.

"It was your elbow," I whispered back. "And it hurts."

"No - there was a sound out there. Go check it out." Because I'm ... a fighter? I don't think so. I have been in three fights in my life. I have a perfect record. No wins. But my wife always forgets that when she hears a strange sound.

Now, to begin with, there are at least a million sounds that could be classified as "strange" when you hear them in the middle of the night. Only a few of those fall into that critical "ax-murderer" sub-group. So the chances that what she heard represented a threat to our safety and security were very slim.

Secondly, we have a dog. Okay, granted, Roxy is not a very clever dog. She's not like Lassie, the kind of dog who discovers you trapped under a tractor and goes for help. Roxy is more along the lines of a "discover you under a tractor and try to lick your face off" kind of dog.

But she is there, in the house, and she generally lets us know if there's someone at the door. If it's a friend, she begins a sort of wailing, moaning kind of sound, which is the result of trying to bark with a tennis ball in your mouth. If it's an ax murderer or anyone else who she thinks won't throw the ball for her, she just barks like crazy.

So again, it was unlikely that what my wife heard was a person in the house, ax murderer or otherwise.

Thirdly, and most importantly, I found myself thinking: "Even if she did hear an ax murderer - why is it that I have to go check it out? How did I get elected to the ax murderer disposal squad?"

See, I'm not what you'd call a physically imposing specimen. If someone has broken into our house with an ax in his hand, and he sees me, he's not going to say "Uh-oh. I didn't count on seeing a fat bald guy in a bathrobe. I'm getting out of here." No, more likely he's going to say "Hmmm ... this seems a good place to start."

So I'm the one who gets diced up before anyone else, which doesn't seem fair, especially since I wasn't the one who heard this guy in the first place. It's her ax murderer, she should go out and deal with him.

I rolled over and tried to go back to sleep.

But my wife can be very persuasive, and it's hard to get back to sleep with a serrated elbow planted in your kidney, so I got up to check out the sound. I went into the kitchen and turned on the light.

And there was Roxy. She had gotten into the garbage.

Roxy looked up at me, with a half-eaten piece of pizza in her mouth, as if to say "Yes? Is there a problem? This isn't one of those things you don't like, is it? I can never remember."

Well, I dealt with Roxy and cleaned up the garbage and went back to bed. When I got there, I explained to my wife what the noise was.

No response. Nothing. She was fast asleep.

"Hey," I said. "Good news. There is no ax murderer. I'm still alive!"

Her response, to quote verbatim: "Snork."

So that's it. The next time she hears something she believes just may be an ax murderer, she can handle it. I'd say all she has to do is show him her secret weapon.

I can hear her now: "Back off, buddy. I've got elbows and I'm not afraid to use them."