The Friday Report: What stuff is this?
Ryan Summerlin February 14, 2013
People talk about all kinds of stuff without ever explaining what it is. Knowing what stuff is would be a big help in uncomfortable conversations.
Yesterday, my wife looked upside-down at me as I lay on the sofa and said, “We’ve got a lot of stuff to do this weekend.”
“Wow,” I echoed with fake enthusiasm, “a lot of stuff, indeed.”
Several moments passed as we each pondered private thoughts. My “stuff” included two hot vampire movies and a triumphant amount of sofa time. Based on bitter experience, I felt that the odds of our stuff being compatible were slim.
“I, um, had plans. What sort of stuff were you thinking?”
As I watched her lips move, I found myself fading into that different dimension where husbands go to dwell where stuff like this wasn’t happening.
While I’m out there, let me take a break and talk about other stuff.
Bag ladies carry stuff. Movie stars have staff that deal with stuff. Everyone has stuff to do, stuff to buy, stuff to finish, stuff to quit, stuff to move, and stuff we enjoy, but that still doesn’t get to what “stuff” is.
George Carlin says our homes have become just a place to keep our stuff while we’re out getting more stuff. He’s right.
Stuff clings like refrigerator magnets on R2D2, but we’re always after more. My wife says to me, “Would you please go to the store; I need a bunch of stuff.”
“What stuff?” I ask.
“Stuff for stuffing some game hens,” she says.
“Stuff for stuffing? Do you ever listen to yourself?”
The scowl is formidable but finally, “Forget it, you stay here and straighten up stuff in the kitchen and I’ll go get my own stuff from the store,” and she roared off in a smoking huff, muttering some pretty harsh stuff as if she thought I’d done something wrong.
I’m starting to think that stuff is some kind of mystery element that they didn’t tell you about in chemistry class.
I thought maybe I had it pinned down when she came home a bit calmer and said, “If you’ll unload the stuff from the car, I’ll put it away.” I ran out eagerly, finally I could see what stuff is! But there wasn’t any stuff in the car because the car was stuffed with groceries. I went back to my couch and a DVD promising a bevy of buxom Italian vampires barely stuffed into their costumes.
Suddenly there was a tapping on the headphones, “Aren’t you going to get the stuff out of the car?”
“You can’t fool me,” I said, “the car is full of groceries.” She must have needed them, because she scowled and stomped off in stony silence punctuated by several ominous door slams. Suddenly the temperature dropped a few degrees and a foreboding shadow crossed the TV.
I looked up. Her eyes narrowed dangerously, “Are you going to help with any of the stuff around here?”
“I don’t think you know what stuff is any more than I do,” I said.
Her glare bridged the wide gulf that separated us. She clenched her fingers and examined the nails on her left hand for several moments before calmly asking, “Do you like stuff the way it is around here?”
Finally a light dawned, “OK, I think I got it. I’ll push the vacuum.”