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"You love football more than you love me".
Why are wives always prone to hysteria? Just because a bloke enjoys his footy and follows his club with a modicum of more passion than the average fan, it hardly justifies one's beloved resorting to appropriating such outlandish hyperbole just because she's in the mood for a barney.
"Sweetie, I wouldn't even say I 'love' football," I said. "I think you're being a little ridiculous".
"You don't love football? You could have fooled me. I suppose you don't 'love' Parramatta either?" she replied unperturbed by my denial.
OK, yes, she had me on this one. "Of course, I love the mighty Blue and Gold, my dear. But c'mon, that's what being a fan is all about".
"No, most fans have an interest in their football team. They don't spend their every waking minute watching games, surfing the internet for football news, maintaining a fan website, writing messages on bulletin boards, poring over statistics and showing up to player appearances or training sessions. For crying out loud, you spend hours writing essays about football. Who the hell spends their spare time writing essays? Why don't you write essays about me?"
"You don't play football," I said, before realising that was exactly the wrong thing to say.
"Exactly! So let me understand this. I have to take up football do I, before you?ll start giving me the same level of attention you give Nathan Hindmarsh," she shot back.
"That's unfair. Nathan Hindmarsh is, after all, Nathan Hindmarsh," I said, digging my grave a little deeper.
"Perhaps if I showed my butt crack more often, you'd spend hours on a website about me?"
"No, dear. That wouldn't be a very interesting website, would it?"
"So I'm not interesting?"
This wasn't going well.
"Of course, you're interesting, dear. Just not to the general populus ? did I mention a thousand people visited my site last week," I said, trying to change the subject.
"Only about a thousand times. Phil, sometimes I think the only thing you're capable of thinking or talking about is football. It hurts even more because you promised me you weren't going to get obsessive this year."
"I'm not obsessed!"
"You said you'd only watch Parramatta games."
"No, no, I didn't say that." Ha, I had her on this one. "What I said was I'd only watch games related to Parramatta. Which means I like to watch the game featuring Parramatta, the game against the team Parramatta played last week so I can weight up the merits of their previous performances, plus a couple of the games against the teams we're playing in forthcoming weeks so I can have an understanding of our opposition's strengths and weaknesses."
"Oh, and of course, Friday night and Sunday arvo footy, because, well that's just what you do. I don't think that's unreasonable."
"You have no understanding of what reasonable is. I'm quite sure, if push comes to shove you'd choose a Parramatta game over spending time with me".
"That's ridiculous, baby. Why would you want me to choose? You can always come to the game as well."
"I'm serious. I'd like to think that if I asked you to, you'd actually choose your wife, the mother of your child, over a silly game of football. Why don't you prove it, why don't you take me out on Saturday," she said.
Not a problem!
"Sure, we can watch the Parra game on Fox at 5:30 then head out to wherever you like, just as soon as I write up my match report for the website," I said.
"No, no, no," she said, getting worryingly agitated. "I want to go out and spend a night where we don't watch the football at all. In fact, I don't even want you to check the score. I want all of your attention."
"But baby, this is a really important game. You know if we lose this game, it could mean we miss the top four. It's really, really important. You know that right," I said.
"Yes, dear, I know that," my wonderful wife said with a sigh. "I wouldn't ever ask you to miss your one true love. At least, I know football only lasts for half the year!"
Over the next couple of days, I mulled over what my wife had to say to me and it became increasingly apparent to me that she was wrong. Dead wrong.
I do write essays about her.
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