25 September

The Long Overdue Story Of The A1 Husband, A Most Wonderful Husband. Me.

by Jon Katz

Yesterday, Maria drew a sketch (above) honoring me as “Most Wonderful Husband No.1.” It took some negotiating. Here’s the story.

It began a few days ago when a female store clerk I’ve come to know – a lot of my friends are store clerks who are female,  we yak all the time – told me she had re-married and got a pretty good husband this time. Congratulations, I said; tell me what you mean by a “pretty good” husband.

Well, she replied, “he doesn’t drink, some, or have affairs with other women, he doesn’t hit my children or me during arguments or any time, and he hates sitting in the living room for hours with his buddies eating those awful buffalo and chicken wings during the games. They stink up the house…”

He won’t do dishes, shop, vacuum, or clean up after himself; she added, “but nobody is perfect.”

Wow, I thought, driving home from the market, the bar is pretty low for men sometimes.

I don’t drink, smoke, chase women, or beat up on Maria (I’d get my ass kicked if I tried.) I think I must be a pretty good husband too, I thought, maybe even better than hers.

I do most of the shopping and cooking (she is cooking soup more these days), wash dishes, buy household supplies, and I try to clean up aftermyself. I do often forget to do that.

I also clean up quite a bit for her; she’s not too domestic. My office is a nightmare, but nobody dares to touch it.

Yesterday, it happened again. Somebody told me what a wonderful husband I was.

Maria was very busy working on her now famous Heron wall hanging, and I thought it would be sweet to get her a veggie wrap at the nearby Subway for lunch, which she sometimes makes. I’m new to Subway and pleasantly surprised.

I like the sandwiches there; they are fresh and easy to make.

The women who work there can’t believe we don’t order meat in the sandwiches, but they are coming to accept it.

“Nobody gets just veggie sandwiches here,’ said Nicole. “Well, that is changing, ” I said. “My wife likes turkey wraps sometimes.”

I get a half veggie sandwich with 15 different vegetables in it.

Nicole and I hit it off; she’s becoming friends. I texted Maria and told her what I was doing – she was happy and thanked me.

She was getting hungry – and I asked her to text me precisely how she wanted her to wrap, and she  did: “double swiss cheese, cucumber/ tomato olives, roasted red peppers on a wrap, with a little honey mustard.”

I read Maria’s text to Nicole, who made the wrap as I read it, and she asked if I often went out to get food for my wife.

All the time, I said, she works head, and I always think about getting her the food she likes, incredibly when busy.

I love my wife a lot, and I get a lot of joy from doing things for her.

Nicole nodded, then looked at me and said, “you sound like a wonderful husband. I hope she appreciates you. I can’t imagine my husband going out to bring me food because I work hard.”

Maria and I do appreciate one another, I thought, as I drove home with my wrap and sandwich. But we don’t say it to each other that often.

I had this funny impulse.

I have a big ego but have always been taught not to brag or toot my horn.

Let other people praise you; my grandmother used to say; it means more that way. She is right, and I have always followed that practice, although, to be honest, I never really get as much praise as I would like or sometimes feel I deserve.

I was feeling a bit under-appreciated.

I called Maria on the cellphone. “So,” I said, “I’m thinking I’m a pretty nice husband and wondering (I was careful to say “wondering”) if I am appreciated.” I heard a lot of unpleasant things about other men. This made me feel pretty good.

I’m not mad or pouting or anything; I’m just thinking about it.”

More laughter. “I see; you want some praise.”

“No, no,” I insisted, “I’m thrilled. I want some acknowledgment.

Maria was laughing again. “That’s adorable,” she said. “What would you like, a mug that says “Most Wonderful Husband In The World.” Maybe a T-shirt?

No, I said, thinking I might soon be regretting this.

“That would be silly. I don’t know all the husbands in the world and couldn’t possibly say I was the best one.

I was thinking of something modest that acknowledged that I was a “nice” husband who was loving and thoughtful of his extraordinary wife. I said I wanted to be a good husband, not the best.

I work hard at it; I wouldn’t mind hearing it.

Maria was still laughing, but she said she would try to think of something that would make me happy and feel acknowledged. But I can’t complain either; I am both a lucky and a happy man.

When I got home, Maria handed me the sketch above and asked if it would do. Her friend Jackie was there, and the two were chatting about the phone call. I think many women around here got a good launch out of this.

I could see Maria would have fun with her friends. Like me, she has learned to make the most out of a story.

But I stuck to my guns quietly. I did want some recognition. And I did get the sketch.

I put the sandwiches in the refrigerator and then yelled at Maria to keep the back door closed; I said the house was constantly freezing when it was open.

A voice in the dining room – Maria’s –  said softly, “Okay, he’s down to number two husband already.”

I have my sketch right next to the computer. I like it, and I am a happy husband. It will have to do.

I get the sense no plaque has been ordered.




  1. It’s called humor Jules. You can look it up on Google. It’s still legal in America.

    When I write humor or satire, Jules, which I often do, I sometimes add a line on the bottom saying “warning, this is called humor,” because I know there are humorless and joyless people in the world, too lazy to think before they “send.” Let me do your homework for you: https://www.google.com/search?q=what+is+humor%3F&oq=what+is+humor%3F&aqs=chrome..69i57j0i512l9.2942j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

    I didn’t want to bend to people like you. But perhaps I should return to the practice of posting “humor” on top, as I did once because of messages like yours. How sad to have to do that in a country like ours. Maybe people wouldn’t make such asses out of themselves. The good news: Maria and I got a good laugh from your message. Reads like a helium balloon lifting off.

  2. I just don’t understand why you can’t let someone comment (Jules) without being rude and demeaning back. You do exactly to others what you say you don’t like, I.e. judgment. You say “people like you”. Do you know Jules? I have been reading your blog for many, many years and really enjoy it but your defensiveness and meanness have been apparent throughout, It seems like you are working on it but when you write things like this it says more about you and who you are rather than who Jules is. So what if Jules calls you ego-thirsty. You yourself say you are ego-thirsty. Why do you engage if you can’t be respectful?

    1. Jean, I appreciate your honesty and civility.

      Unlike Jules, I did not find your questions in any way offensive or disrespectful. I’ve been asked this question many times before and answered it many times before, but I guess it will continue as the blog grows and newcomers arrive.

      I don’t care what other people think of what I write; it’s the farthest thing from my mind. Being honest is the foremost.

      I am not asking for their approval or yours, nor do I feel obliged to help you understand my innermost motives and thoughts; it is not for others to tell me how to respond to things. Nor do I write according to what others would like me to write.

      I have emotional and psychological issues and trust and work with an excellent shrink. She has the right to ask me these questions and does.

      I have written openly about these things; I’m not running for office and don’t pretend to be sweet and patient.

      I just don’t write for other people, I write honestly about how I feel, and how I feel and react is part of the story of my life, and that is my story, for better or worse. Jules has a right to speak her mind; I have the right to speak mine.

      This approach of mine makes me feel more and more like the boy with his finger in the dyke, and I’ll have to work it out by myself. And I am. You asked an honest question and deserve an honest answer. I have no regrets about what I said to Jules; I wouldn’t change anything. If people stood up to these people years ago, the Internet wouldn’t be such a shitstorm of hostility and cruelty. You think it’s no big deal. I disagree.

      I hope you never receive the kind of messages I often receive. I would always defend your right to speak up for yourself, not undermine it.

      Sorry, but you don’t really need to understand my blog post replies, and I don’t need you to understand them. I am not looking for people to respect me; that is not the writer’s job; I’m not a preacher or candidate for governor. My life has never revolved around other people’s approval; if it did, I’d be long dead. Many writers are troubled, disturbed, and even crazy, much worse than me. I suspect I’m one of them. I don’t know how many times I need to say it.

      Before social media, people were content just to read a writer’s work and not feel entitled to tell them what to say, do or write. This is the best answer I can give yet again. I thank you for your openness and thoughtfulness.

      What I owe you is honesty, nothing else. I feel quite respected by my audience, thanks. Best Jon

    2. Telling me that my writing reveals things about me – good and bad – is the highest compliment you can pay me. That’s the whole point. Sadly, you don’t see that or find it meaningful, and you say you’ve been reading me for years, that makes it even sadder..j

      1. What is it exactly that I don’t find meaningful? Um, I get that writing reveals things about someone. Did I say I didn’t find it meaningful? What is sad? I appreciate your writing and enjoy it. I’m not sure why you even allow comments as it seems unless someone is telling you that you are wonderful or questions you, you don’t really want to hear them. That is ok, it is your blog. I just won’t comment again. Thanks.

        1. Jean, I’m not interested in having a he-said, a she-said argument with you; you’ve made your feelings very clear (am I missing something, are you telling me I’m wonderful)

          I resent your contemptuous demeaning of the good people who support me and my blog. It’s small and unnecessary. So many are wonderful, generous, supportive, accomplished and creative. It’s slander to label all of them mindless and uncritical fans.

          Someone criticizes me for something every day of my life; just read the blog posts, which you clearly have not done.

          I post way too many ugly and critical messages and am halting that practice; like this exchange, it just goes in circles.

          I love my life and want to get on with it. Let’s move on. You can comment whenever you want, and if your messages are thoughtful and relevant as your first one was, I’ll be happy to respond.

          That’s up to you. You don’t seem to me to love criticism.

          This was a chance to have a real discussion that could be valuable, and all you did was find something else to bitch about and toss in some snide comment for good measure.

          I gave you an honest answer to an honest question and took some time with it, and you have absolutely nothing to say about it or one thought to share) except to accuse me of being a self-serving coward who can write well (oh, thanks.) It makes me dizzy.

          I’m moving on; I have a lot of things I would rather do. Best to you.

      2. My goodness! In your story I saw simply a sweet, flirtatious, humorous conversation of renewal and love between you and Maria. I know we all have so many things to be on edge about these days, so many things to be angry and hurt and reactive about. I feel it in myself every day, it invades so many things, doesn’t it? I have to take care not to be so judgmental and angry about a whole host of people and events, because, well, some of them are just begging for it! But this ain’t one of them. I loved this little anecdote.

        1. Thanks, Patricia; I liked it also. Unfortunately, we live in a difficult time; many people are angry and unhappy, and it spills into everything. I’m going to keep laughing, and I want this blog to be a safe space. It is not going to be easy. Thanks so much for your message.

  3. Loved this post and shared it with my husband. He is now angling for some (well-deserved) recognition. Only trouble is I can’t draw! ?

  4. I cannot believe some of the things people say to you Jon! Why can’t they just laugh at your post and smile all day because of it? I think it was great.

    1. Good question, Susan; the country is having an epidemic of cruelty and presumption and rudeness, is the best I can do. We have to keep laughing. Thanks for the note, most of the messages I get are quite wonderful.

  5. What a beautiful post. It is a marvel to witness the rituals that married couples can create, for a life of growth and refreshment in a solid arc of permanence. For this new ritual, you both brought your unique talents into the blend: your journalist ear for stories and ability to contemplate them and crystallize their meaning; Maria’s molten creativity for an adorable evocative visual image with economy of line at a moment’s notice; and your shared ability to dialogue about new dimensions in the relationship. This was a real treat.

    1. Thank you, Maria is the best thing that has ever happened to me in my lengthening life; I appreciate her every day, and honestly, I know she appreciates me. We both had a good laught out of this; thank you for your message. Some people have forgotten how to laugh.

    2. This is a very special and perceptive post, Mary; thanks again for it..it rings very true for me and is a symbol and beacon for the way we should be speaking to one another and looking to others for some wisdom

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