Ponderings with Doug – September 16, 2016


There is an eleventh commandment. Every spouse has a secret commandment and they are all different. It might take a while to discover your significant other’s eleventh commandment. You will discover its presence when you trespass against it, not before.

For some spouses the eleventh commandment is, “Thou shalt properly place or replace the toilet seat lid.” “If you put it up, return it to its proper place. If you put it down, return it to the full upright and locked position.”

Speaking of the porcelain throne room, a commandment might be “Thou shalt place the holy paper in the over the roll position and flee from those using the under the roll position.”

“Thou shalt not leave trash in the vehicle. Nor shall you change the radio station from its previous setting or volume.”

“Thou shalt not touch the TV remote.”

“Thou shalt not plant things in the way that lacks symmetry and beauty.” A corollary involves not having two green vegetables at a meal.

“Thou shalt make the bed, pick up thine socks and place all unclean clothing in the sacred bin.”

“Thou shalt walk the dog and clean up after them if it is not your lawn!”

“Thou shalt not use the clothes dryer or the dishwasher as storage vessels.”

“Thou shalt secure all jar lids firmly and without cross threading.”

We have arrived at my spouse’s eleventh commandment. I have lid issues. I never get away with sneaking a snack if the snack was once in a jar. Innumerable times I have heard the sound of something hitting the kitchen floor followed by a loud expression of chagrin from my spouse. She then calls my full name with my title. You are in deep kimchee when that happens. The list of broken jars includes but is not limited to: pickles, mayonnaise, mustard, spaghetti sauce, jelly, salsa, dry roasted peanuts and peanut butter.

There is something about my hand eye coordination that doesn’t allow me to smoothly replace a jar lid. I do cross threading very well. For some reason, my spouse continues to grab jars by the lids and once the jar is over the ceramic tile floor, it lets loose from my cross threaded closing attempt.

I also confess that I don’t do those “slidey” things on sandwich bags very well. If the product comes in something that is “re-sealable” you can bet that when I have finished opening it, it will remain opened. Even those hefty bags where the sliding lock thingy changes color when properly closed don’t help me.

I used the same theological argument with my mother about making the bed. “Mom there is no sense making the bed, since I’m going to get in it in a few hours.” I don’t need to properly close the stuff in the refrigerator, because it is refrigerated. If you grab a lid knowing that I have lid challenges, then dropping the jar is on you not me. Mom didn’t buy the bed argument, ditto for my spouse and the lid theorem.

We all have an eleventh commandment. Things we are never to do. Things that when others do them send us into a state of irked-ness. We keep score of the number of times people violate our eleventh commandment. Our failing is that most folks haven’t received the memo from us and don’t know about our special secret eleventh commandment.

Secret rules and commandments, quirks and idiosyncrasies’ make us human. They also drive us crazy in dealing with other humans.

This is why Jesus boiled it all down to two commandments.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength. You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself.”