Tad’s school recently invited me to come in and give a speech to the student body about the values of honesty. Mary Todd, who had just finished watching a segment of Dr. Phil about how married couples should try spending absolutely all of their time together, read this personal invitation over my shoulder, as she often does, and insisted that she come along as well. Even though she isn’t known as Honest Mary Todd and if I could be quite honest Abe about it, probably wasn’t going to add much to the presentation, I allowed her to accompany me to Tad’s school.
She then rolled around on the floor and sang “Rocket Man” in a continuous loop for forty-five minutes because, if I could be honest Abe about it again, Mary Todd is crazy.
Because we were going to be giving a presentation to a group of Tad’s classmates, Mary Todd felt she needed to appear as cool as possible in order to impress our son. After much internal deliberation, she decided that wearing pre-ripped clothes would be the coolest thing she could do.
Mary Todd- “Pre-ripped clothes are what all the kids are into now, right?”
Myself- “No. Don’t do it.”
Mary Todd- “Oh you don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Then Mary Todd jumped through the window yelling “No whammies!” and landed in the deep end of our neighbor’s swimming pool. I would have been worried, but this is pretty routine for her.
We arrived at Tad’s school a few weeks later so that I could give my presentation on honesty. I wore my “casual but formal” attire (button up with the sleeves rolled up, black pants, and a tie without the top button buttoned) and Mary Todd, not having changed her mind, wore jeans and a tank top that were both severely previously ripped.
The way the stage was set up, I gave my speech standing near the front while Mary Todd worked the slide projector (Powerpoint wasn’t invented until the Spring of 2006. Computers weren’t even invented until the Fall of 2006!) standing behind me. As I get deeply emotionally invested into my speeches, and this speech to a congregation of my son’s school mates was no exception, I knew there would be no way for me to keep an eye on Mary Todd during the presentation. Although this worried me as she has a history with these sorts of things,* I realized there would be no other option at this point and therefore began the presentation.
The speech seemed to go pretty well. I believe I hammered the points to metaphorical home that I wished to be hammered to metaphorical home. Such as a list of de-untruthed, untrue facts that people have not been honest in perpetrating about me. Such as;
-I was not born in a log cabin. This was a lie created by the government to help the Canadians sell more maple syrup. The reasons for this are unknown, but I have my theory.**
-I am not freakishly tall. I am more of an above-average, or, attractive height.
-My beard wasn’t really that long.
When I had finally uttered the last words of my carefully crafted speech, I became aware of my surroundings and looked across the audience. Instead of the captivation or at least the mild interest I was hoping for, it appeared that most of the audience was either rolling in fits of laughter or holding a look of utter shock and disgust. Although, looking back I truly wish that this response was directed towards me, the general direction of the group’s attention seemed to be behind me, focused on Mary Todd.
The pre-ripped clothes that Mary Todd had come in were almost completely gone, with only a few threads still clinging to her body. The already and purposely un-seamed threads had unraveled throughout the show all by themselves, and now Mary Todd stood practically in the nude under glaring lights in front of an audience of our son’s classmates.
And so, knowing that we had greatly embarrassed our son, we shamefully walked off the stage while burying our heads (in shame!) and drove home in silence.
Later that night, I asked Mary Todd why she hadn’t just left the stage when she felt the clothes unraveling.
Mary Todd- “I wanted to be cool like Janice Jackson.”
Myself- “Janet Jackson. And that incident was a long time ago.”
Mary Todd- “Oh.”
And then we fell asleep.
For unraveling off of my wife’s body while she was spotlighted on a stage in front of my son’s classmates…
pre-ripped clothes are so uncool.
**Gerald Ford, the President who started this lie, was really a cat and was promised a large sum of money by Canada to create this myth about me. I suppose the theory that Gerald Ford was a cat is not grounded in anything and does not relate to why Canada would offer him a large sum of money, as a human would be more likely to be tempted by this offer, but, quoting Thomas Jefferson, “I would never tell a lie involving a Cat President.”