The Marriage Interpreter (No. 52)

The Husband upside-down dancing with psychedelic chickens.

THE HUSBAND walks into Bluebird’s office carrying two pairs of trousers on hangers.

The Husband: Hey! Guess what I got for school!

Bluebird: (Sets down pen.) What’d you get?

The Husband: Some trousers! On sale! See this pair? They’re Pollos!

Bluebird: (Squinting at trousers.) Uh . . .

The Husband: (Oblivious.) You know! Pollos? Like the chicken? They have a little man on a chicken holding a hammer on them. VERY classy.

(Bluebird is speechless.)

The Husband: Hey! Guess what I got for school! Some trousers! On sale! See this pair? They’re Pollos!

THE HUSBAND is reading on the living room couch.

Bluebird: (Squinting from kitchen.) What are you reading?

The Husband: This? Oh, it’s the Lolololag Largolarginaut.

Bluebird: Wha—?

The Husband: —the Hoolag Hoolighuganao!

Bluebird: I still don’t know what you’re saying.

The Husband: You know! You gave it to me! The Ololololoo Loo-loo-ooginoh!

Bluebird: Do you mean “THE GULAG”—

The Husband: Yes.

Bluebird: —”ARCHIPELAGO”?

The Husband: Yes! (Clears throat.) It’s a very good book. You should read it some time. Lots of vowels AND consonants. That’s VERY important to me, you know. Also, syllables. I like them a LOT.

THE HUSBAND is in the kitchen eating something crunchy. Bluebird walks in.

The Husband: (Mouth still full.) Man, these cookies are really good!

Bluebird: (Covers eyes with one hand.) Do you mean the dog cookies Karen gave us?

The Husband: (Swallows rest of dog cookie.) Yum. Peanut buttery. (A beat.) I won’t eat any more. (Another beat.) Ask Karen for the recipe, will you? (A third beat.) I need it for… the dogs.

Bluebird: Uh-huh.

The Husband dancing with psychedelic chickens.

(Psst! Here’s the first volume to Aleksander Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago. It is an amazing story of life in the early Soviet Union and the gulag system.)

The Marriage Interpreter (No. 51)

Advil Lavigne: Just tell me which one fixes the headache.

The Husband: Dude, your neck is thick! Just like that girl on Downton Abbey.

Abelard: ???

The Husband: (Grasping for name.) You know who I’m talking about—the one with the thick neck!

Abelard: ???

The Husband: (Remembers her name; face lights up. ) Lady Instagram!

THE HUSBAND is washing dishes and ruminating. Bluebird is reading.

The Husband: Bluebird?

Bluebird: Yes?

The Husband: Did you know there can only be one Highlander?

Bluebird: (Dreamily staring at open book.). Okay.

The Husband: Are you listening?

Bluebird: Yes. (Looks up.) You’re a Dr. Pepper—

The Husband: —Highlander.

Bluebird: (Returns to reading.) Congratulations.

THE HUSBAND calls Bluebird from the ranch.

The Husband: I need to ask you a serious question.

Bluebird: Okay, shoot.

The Husband: Who is Advil Lavigne?

Bluebird: I don’t—how did you…? Huh. Would you look at that.

THE HUSBAND is standing in the hallway ready to go to the hardware store. Bluebird is reading a book on the couch.

The Husband: I have your list.

Bluebird: (Without looking up.) Mmm-hmmm?

The Husband: (Scanning page.) So you need a dust mask and air filters—

Bluebird: (Still reading.) Hmmmmm.

The Husband: (Squinting.) —and a squid widow for a wool herring…

Bluebird: (Eyes still on book; shakes head.) Uh-uh.

The Husband: No squid widow?

Bluebird: (Dreamy voice.) Squeegee.

The Husband: Wool herring?

Bluebird: (Turning page of book.) Whole house.

The Husband: Your handwriting is awfu—

Bluebird: (Interjects.) —Are you wearing my glasses?

The Husband: No. (A pause.) Maybe. (A pause.) I’m going now.

Bluebird: (Turns another page.) Mmmm-hmmmm.

The Marriage Interpreter (No. 50)

Illustrated  Husband making bunny ears.

THE HUSBAND strolls into Bluebird’s office. BLUEBIRD is on the phone with Phillip.

The Husband: What are the din deets?

Bluebird: (On the phone with Phillip Lozano.) Wait, this is for you Phillip. (Turns on speaker phone.)

The Husband: What are the din deets? That means ‘dinner details’— it’s for people who are too busy to say entire words.

Phillip: (Laughs.) How are you?

The Husband: (Grabbing the speaker phone and walking away.) What have I been doing? I’ve been busy, busy. I’m busy growing out a mustache and that takes time….


THE HUSBAND looks glum.

Bluebird: What’s wrong?

The Husband: I was just listening to a Gwen Stefani song and now I’m confused.

Bluebird: Okay?

The Husband: (Frustrated.) What’s a hollowbacked girl?

Wait! Don’t tell me! Your talking about Eggy Strop. (Flustered.) I mean, Streggy Loop! I mean, Piggy Ope! I mean—

THE HUSBAND is driving south. BLUEBIRD is in the passenger seat talking a mile-a-minute.

Bluebird: …and that reminds me of—

The Husband: Wait! Don’t tell me! Your talking about Eggy Strop. (Flustered.) I mean, Streggy Loop! I mean, Piggy Ope! I mean—

Bluebird: (Wide-eyed.) —Iggy Pop?

The Husband: (A beat. Then, casual-like.) Well, naturally it’s…that guy.


THE HUSBAND IS SENDING TEXT MESSAGES to Bluebird from the ranch.

(Ping! A message arrives.)

The Husband: I’m changing my pen name to Verdana Fontt.

Bluebird: (Texting back.) Okay? What’s your middle name, then?

The Husband: Futura. (Ping!) But she’s thinking about changing it to her mother’s maiden name—

Bluebird: (Realizes what’s coming.) (Small voice.) Oh no.

The Husband: (Ping!) —San Serif.

(Bluebird covers her eyes with her hands.)

The Husband: (Ping!) Are you still there? (Ping!) Anyway, Verdana Fontt is also a superhero. (Ping!) She can give you an instant migraine at will if you stare at her too long.


THE HUSBAND is calling Bluebird from the ranch on Easter Sunday.

Bluebird: (Answering phone.) Hello?

The Husband: Happy Halloween!

Bluebird: ??? (Pause.) Are you having a stroke?

The Husband: (Ignoring question.) Did you know you can make an omelette with Cadbury Cream Eggs? (Talking faster.) I’ve had six cups of coffee! (And faster.) I think I may go for a run this morning!

Bluebird: I…(Stumped.) Hunh.

The Husband: (Talking at the speed of sound.) Thenewespressomaker fromthethriftstore worksgreat! (Even faster.) I’mgoingtohavemorecoffeenow! Iwillcallyouafter Ifinishstudying! HappyEaster!

(The Husband hangs up.)

The Bluebird looks at her phone in wonder.

Bluebird: (Out loud.) What just happened?

Photo-illustration of The Husband making Bunny Ears.

(Happy Easter, everyone!)

The Marriage Interpreter (No. 49)

Picture of pot pie with Husband lyics.

THE HUSBAND is working at his desk. Monkey nudges his arm.

The Husband: Stop it, Monkey! I am Powerpointing and my arm is tired!

(A beat.)

Monkey: (Softly.) Woof?

The Husband: Powerpointing!

THE HUSBAND just got home from the ranch.

The Husband: Did you hear about my new band?

Bluebird: No, I haven’t

The Husband: We’re called “The Soggy Nachos.”

Bluebird: (Suspiciously.) What’s your hit song?

The Husband: (Quickly.) “Kittens Give Morbo Gas”*

THE HUSBAND is holding Monkey’s face, and singing:

“I love you, Monk, and you don’t care that I have my sweatpants on baaackwards!”

THE HUSBAND is singing while he shaves.

The Husband: (More or less on-key.) OHHHHH, young SOLDIERRRRR! GO and BLOW your HOO-OOOORN!

Bluebird: (Looking around the corner.) Is that a real song?

The Husband: (Still singing.) OHHHHH, young SOLDIERRRRR! GO and EAT a POT-PIIIIE! (A beat.) No.

(Bluebird sighs.)

THE HUSBAND is sitting at the kitchen table, studying.

The Husband: If I were a ceramicist—

Bluebird: (Looks up from computer) Yes?

The Husband: —I would open a shop called 50 Shades of Clay.

Bluebird: Oh, that sounds… wait, what?!?

THE HUSBAND is doing dishes and singing.

The Husband: Don’t LAAAAAY DOWN on the BED if there’s a PRICE on your HEAD!

Bluebird: What are you singing?

The Husband: The theme song from Shaft.

(Fifteen minutes later, Bluebird comes back.)

Bluebird: Okay, I looked everywhere. (Pause.) You totally made that up, didn’t you?

The Husband: (Looks up from last dish.) Chicken pot, chicken pot, chicken pot piiiiiiiiiie!

HEY! Have you ever heard the Chicken Pot Pie song? (The song is only five seconds long, but this is looped. Click it off right away, or you’ll hear it 30 times in a row and be annoyed. It’s really funny the first time though.)

*THAT’S A FUTURAMA JOKE, SON. Check out the Futurama wiki here. I wanted to show you that clip, but I cannot find one anywhere! Glaaah! Do you know where I can find the “Kittens give Morbo gas” bit?

TODAY’S MUSICAL PAIRING: [5-MINUTE DANCE PARTY] Brightness and Contrast by the Kleptones!

The Marriage Interpreter (No. 48)

The Husband looking at viewer, while the Underpants Lemur is checking out The Husband.

THE HUSBAND is talking to Ilsa von Dogovitch on the couch.

The Husband: You could be a superhero dog.

Ilsa: Bark!

The Husband: (Rubbing Ilsa’s head.) Yes, a superhero dog, with your little feet and your little carbon footprint….

Ilsa: ??? (A beat. ) Bark!

THE HUSBAND is washing dishes and talking to himself.

The Husband: Dingo got my tiara!

THE HUSBAND looks up from the TV suddenly.

The Husband: The movie “Goodwill Hunting” was about thrift store shopping, right?

Bluebird: (Rolls eyes upward.) Of course it is.

THE HUSBAND is drinking coffee and thinking.

The Husband: Why do we name undergarments after animals?

Bluebird: Like what?

The Husband: Garanimals… teddies… underpantlemurs.

Bluebird: There’s coffee in that cup, right?

The Husband: (Sipping coffee.) Wouldn’t you like to know.

THE HUSBAND walks in to Bluebird’s office, computer in hand, looking bummed.

The Husband: Textbook prices are exorbitantly lame.

Bluebird: I’m sorry to hear that. (A beat.) Did you say “exorbitantly lame”? Dude, that’s kinda awesome.

The Husband: (Brightening.) That’s because I’m exorbitantly lameawesometastic like that. (Singing and walking away.) Stupid textbooks! Are! Exoooooorbitantllllyyyyyyy… LAAAAAAAAAAAAME! Do-WOP-WOP, yeaaaaah!

TO COMMEMORATE THE GREAT DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. TODAY: MLK’s “But If Not” speech, courtesy of the Internet Archive. May Dr. King’s legacy live on in all of us.

The Marriage Interpreter (No. 47)

Pugilsticksloloming equipment.

Pugilsticksloloming equipment.

THE HUSBAND is at the buffet table surrounded by homework. He looks up.

The Husband: I had this dream that there was this new event in the upcoming Winter Olympics—

Bluebird: (Looking up from computer.)  Yes?

The Husband: (Thinking intensely.) It was slalom skiing combined with pugil-stick fighting— and it was cool.

Bluebird: Okay, but what would you call it?

The Husband: (Without missing a beat.) Pugilstickslaloming.

THE HUSBAND is in the other room, watching a movie. Bluebird is writing in her office.

The Husband: (Texting Bluebird.) I am watching… The Hungry Names.

Bluebird: (Texting back.) What’s it about?

The Husband: (No pause.) Hungry people with dumb names.

Bluebird: That doesn’t sound like a movie. That sounds like dinnertime at our house. What else is it about?

The Husband: (Typing faster.) It’s about… this girl and this boy, Catnip and Pedro, who like to eat, but they get bossed around by drag queens instead.

Bluebird: Are you letting spellcheck think for you again?

(A beat.)

The Husband: (Typing distractedly.) Shhhhh. Catnip is hunting corndogs now.

BLUEBIRD walks out of her office amidst the sound of fireworks. It is near midnight on New Year’s Eve, 2013.

Bluebird: (Sitting next to The Husband on the couch, who is half asleep.) Let’s play a word game. What’s the first word you think of when I say the following: New Year’s Eve.

The Husband: (Yawns.) Turkey jerky potstickers. Why don’t we have those?

Bluebird: I don’t know what that is, Husband. You’re a little too good at this. How about fireworks?

The Husband: (Eyes closed.) Roman Kindles. Amazon makes readable fireworks now.

Bluebird: What comes to mind when I say 2013?

The Husband: Froot Loops in the sky are not divisible by three.

Bluebird: You’re not awake, are you?

The Husband: No.

Bluebird: (Whispers.) Happy 2014, Husband.

The Husband: I like the drum solo. You thank you. (Snores.)

The Husband kisses the Queen

*Pssst! Happy 2014, everybody!

The Marriage Interpreter (No. 46)

The Husband talking on the phone in a collage.

THE HUSBAND is studying at the kitchen banquette.

The Husband: So we’re watching this movie in class.  It’s kinda… meh.

Bluebird: What’s your problem with the movie?

The Husband: It’s got a love story— an EAST Coast love story. Not a WEST Coast love story.

Bluebird:  (Raises eyebrow.) Hold on— what’s the difference between an East Coast love story and a West Coast love story?

The Husband: (Stares up at the ceiling, thinking.) Well, in an East Coast love story, there are sweaters. A lot more sweaters, Bluebird. A LOT.

THE HUSBAND comes into Bluebird’s office holding up a book on Brezhnev.*

The Husband: (Speaking in a Russian accent— a Muscovite accent.) Women’s brassieres are on the fourth floor next to parking level C.  No, we do not validate parking.

Bluebird: What brought that on?

The Husband: (Same accent.) The spirit moved me.

THE HUSBAND is in the kitchen getting ready for a morning class.

The Husband: So we’ve been reading about women’s erroneous zones, and—

Bluebird: (Has just woken up.) Gwwwaaarrr…. the what, now?

The Husband: (Slower.) We’ve… been… reading… about… women’s… erroneous… zones.

Bluebird: (Starting to wake up.) I don’t… uh. Hunh. Are you sure?

The Husband: Yes, yes, I am. Men have a much more powerful erroneous zone, but a woman’s is more select, so yes. It has something to do with—(suddenly realizes the problem)—I think I’d like to start over.

Bluebird: (Closes eyes. Pinches nose with thumb and forefinger.) Yes. Let’s do that. Let’s do that right now.

*The Husband is studying the European History of Economics. (I think I got those in the right order.) Leonid Brezhnev was the General Secretary of the Central Committee in the U.S.S.R. from 1964 to 1982. (In essence, the General Secretary of the Central Committee was essentially what we think of as the president of communist Russia.) The Husband learned conversational Russian from his father, (who spoke five languages, I think. Or was it six?)

And I barely speak the one language I sort of know: English. Sheesh.



At this writing, there are 46 Marriage Interpreters.

Each one is carried by hand down the mountains of Bluebirdistan by local natives, and then brought over the border to a strong river in Husbandiola, where it is placed over a fire of rare woods, then tooled and bound in the finest Corinthian leather.

This is the proud work that makes THE MARRIAGE INTERPRETER.

The Marriage Interpreter (No. 45)

Awareness About Awareness

THE HUSBAND is reading on the couch.

The Husband: (Looking up.) You know—

Bluebird: —no I don’t.

The Husband: I want to create ribbons you can pin on your shirt.

Bluebird: Ribbons for what?

The Husband: For awareness.

Bluebird: (Reluctantly). Okay?

The Husband: An awareness pin to help people to be aware of awareness.

Bluebird: You—

The Husband: Don’t you dare—

Bluebird: You hurt me like the world hurts God.

The Husband: —quote Sylvia Plath. Dammit. I have a new idea for an awareness pin.

Bluebird: Mmm?

The Husband: For people who are married to people who quote Sylvia Plath. Our ribbon will be sherbet orange. We’re going to read a lot of rhyming doggerel, lady. A lot.


THE HUSBAND is standing outside of Bluebird’s office, just out of sight.

The Husband: I am like dandruff— silent but deadly!

Deadly Husband

THE HUSBAND is watching Russian historical documentaries in Russian on YouTube.

The Husband: (Smiling happily at his laptop screen.) You can find anything on YouTube. If you want to learn how to make a knuckle sandwich, all you have to do is type in “knuckle sandwich” and a YouTube video will teach you how to make one.

Bluebird: ???


THE HUSBAND is making dinner.

The Husband: I like the navy sweater you got me from Goodwill. It matches the blue in my hair.

Blue Hair Husband

    The Marriage Interpreter [No. 7] — There’s no such thing as a mute point, Husband.
    The Great Ska Compromise of 2004 — The border in question was a small, but important territory.
    The Marriage Interpreter [No. 2] — Which part of the body is the babymaker?

The Marriage Interpreter (No. 44)


Early film stills of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza in costume on horses.

We accept ALL competitor’s coupons at Don Quixote’s Land of Imagination and Adventure!


This Marriage Interpreter is dedicated to my friend D., who is having a birthday today. D., you always, always, always make me laugh.


BLUEBIRD and THE HUSBAND are in a car together DRIVING ACROSS TEXAS. The pair have been quiet for a whole five minutes, when—


The Husband: (In his most cornpone Texas accent.) C’mon DOWN! To DON QUIXOTE’S LAND OF IMAGINATION AND ADVENTURE! We’ll give you A SWORD— and A SHIELD!— we’ve got PLENTY OF WINDMILLS, so KNOCK YOURSELF OUT!


Bluebird: (Fumbling with iPhone.) Dude, I am recording this.


The Husband: Bring the KIDS! Get a BALLOON! Pet a GOAT! Get a HAT! And a HOT DOG!


Bluebird: (Wide-eyed.) And where’s this place located?




Bluebird: Edward? Really?


The Husband: Well, yeah. But Sancho Panza runs the concession stand, so it all works out.

A NOTE ABOUT THIS STORY: Who the hey-ho are Don Quixote and Sancho Panza? Well… start at Wikipedia’s entry on the famed comic Picaresque novel by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra., Don Quixote.

As for the book itself, a friend of mine once recommended the Edith Grossman English translation of this beloved story because it retains most of the funniness of the original:  [amazon text=Don Quixote&asin=0060188707].  Grossman is a fantastic translator.  Do you have a favorite translation of Quixote into any specific language?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments!  I’ve heard the original is quite hilarious.


The Marriage Interpreter (No. 43)

The Husband dances around Bluebird's office.

THE HUSBAND is talking in bed. Bluebird is not listening.

The Husband: … my lumbago was acting up, and that was the year my Uncle Rufus got the Ear-Dread that was going around in ninenteen… ought-six.

Bluebird: ???




THE HUSBAND just walked into the living room.

The Husband: (Points at Bluebird dramatically.) I had a dream last night that you were trying to put me in a Judo outfit. Uniform. Whatever.

Bluebird: (Looks up from computer.) Was this when I put the blankets back on you? The dogs stole them while you were asleep, you know.

The Husband: And I kept telling you in my dream that I wanted to dress like the Native American dude from the Village People because that has always been my wish since I was a wee boy of six.

Bluebird: (A beat.) I’m calling your sisters this afternoon. I want details. I bet you ruined a feather pillow, didn’t you?

The Husband: (Waves arms wildly. Dogs start barking and jumping around.) C’mon Monkey!  Get Bluebird! JUDO CHOP!




THE HUSBAND is explaining how he spells new words.

The Husband: I try to pronounce it frenetically because I am a listening person who listens a lot, but what I really want to do is listen and talk at the same time.

Bluebird: Frenetically? Are we still talking about spelling?

The Husband: Yes. It’s like that learning gizmo that kids use. Hooked On Frenetics. It has cards, I think. And a gold bell. Maybe puffy stickers.

Bluebird: I, uh… yeah. (Cracks up laughing.)

The Husband: What’s so funny? Are you writing this down?




THE HUSBAND is at the ranch. He is on the phone with Bluebird.

The Husband: (Musing.) You know, what? I am going to start saying “’round yonder” more often.

Bluebird: Why?

The Husband: ‘Cause that’s where I am at right now. You know, in my heart.

Bluebird: (Baffled.) Where are you, physically?

The Husband: (With a shrug in his voice.) Does ’round yonder have map coordinates? Can you find the joy of a crisp autumn breeze on Google Maps? Can you really pinpoint the surfectifaciousisnessness of wanderlust?

Bluebird: (Slowly.) I think I have a headache from… yonder.




THE HUSBAND is passing Bluebird in the hallway.

The Husband: You don’t understand my music*!

Bluebird: (Eyes blinking rapidly.) I what, now?

The Husband: See? Tambourine, tambourine, tambourine! (Dances down hallway to bedroom.)

Bluebird: (Speaking down empty hallway.) You’re quoting Bob’s Burgers again, aren’t you?

The Husband: (From bedroom.) Tam-bour-ine! Tam-bour-ine!


*The Husband quotes the TV show Bob’s Burgers all the time lately.



The Marriage Interpreter [No. 39]

    You know that movie “Barnaby Jones, Space Ninja”? No? The Husband can tell you all about it.

The Marriage Interpreter [No. 22]

    Tonight, we will all enjoy Golem and Herb crackers together.

The Marriage Interpreter [No. 15]

    No, I do not see why it would be a good idea to watch me read Fifty Shades of Gray, Husband.

The Marriage Interpreter (No. 42)

What'd I Do?

Coming to a Husband near you: The Husband's Denostrilizer.


THE HUSBAND is in his office.
The Husband: (Musing out loud.) I wish there was a fashion book called “The Stylings of the Suburban Fez.”
(Bluebird glances up from her computer, bewildered.)
The Husband: (Still speaking from his office.) Or a book like “Cravats Are Where It’s At.”
Bluebird: Is this the spring break version of you?
The Husband: Yes. Yes, it is. It’s regular me with more fezzes and cravats.




THE HUSBAND is eating lunch and looking thoughtful.
The Husband: I just came up with the perfect video game. It combines basketball with birds!
Bluebird: And you’re calling it…?
The Husband: Angry Larry Birds
Bluebird: No.




THE HUSBAND just came back from school.
The Husband: (Setting his book bag down.) A narwhal is a porpoise with a unicorn horn!
Bluebird: (Cracking one eye at him.) Do you need more sleep?
The Husband: Maybe. No. Yes? Porpoises!




A FRAZZLED BLUEBIRD walks into The Husband’s office.
Bluebird: I took sixty pictures of myself last night for that thing, and I have narrowed it down to fifteen possibles. Can you look at these and tell me which one you like best?
The Husband: (Flipping through pictures on her laptop.) No. No. No. Yes. No. No. No headphones. So, the rest of these are a no-go.
Bluebird: (Pointing to The Husband’s one yes.) I was going to use this one, actually.
The Husband: (Pauses.) Well, your forehead isn’t that big in real life.
(Bluebird stares at him.)
The Husband: What’d I do? Don’t you have a app that will de-forehead a picture? Can’t you get Adobe Deforeheader?
Bluebird: (Still staring at him.) I predict—
The Husband: (Small voice.) Oh, no.
Bluebird: (Points accusing finger.) —six months of up-nostril photos. Don’t worry. Doesn’t Adobe have their Denostrilizer app out yet?


Take Your time, Husband


* 5-Minute Dance Party [Cool Unicorn, Bruv]

* The Marriage Interpreter (No. 14)

* Self Portrait With Fez


The Marriage Interpreter (No. 41)

I am the very model of a modern major general...

THE HUSBAND is sitting on the couch, worrying.

The Husband: I’m on a very set schedule for my classes because I have that presentation on Thursday.

(Bluebird nods solemnly.)

The Husband: I have to present. Actually, I hate the word “present.” It’s the same word they use to describe female baboons courting a mate on nature shows.

Bluebird: Eew.

The Husband: And by courting, I mean—



THE HUSBAND is making himself coffee.

The Husband: So, we’re getting ready to study the incontinental drift.

(Bluebird is speechless.)

I've information vegetable, animal and mineral.