I am pretty sure The Great Debate started innocently enough with the two of us in separate corners of the living room. She leafing through Cosmo or some similar magazine, not skimming the articles the way she does the newspaper. Me multi-tasking, watching something on TV and listening to the Cubs on the radio, all while doing a crossword or Sudoku.
The question of the day from her magazine was something like: What do you and your mate have in common?
The answer, she suddenly contends after nearly 13 years of wedding bliss, is apparently very little.
She likes fish, especially salmon. I hate fish, especially salmon.
She likes wine, especially red wine and particularly merlot. I hate wine, especially red wine and particularly stinkin' merlot.
She likes Dr. Oz. I like "Dr. No."
She likes to bump the thermostat up 4 or 5 degrees every evening. I like to bump the thermostat down 4 or 5 degrees every evening.
Anyway, you get the picture ... typical marriage.
"Honey, I'm serious," she pleads, breaking the silence. "We don't have anything in common."
Now, I know for certain that is not the case, but I am speechless trying to convince her otherwise at this precise moment.
"What do we have in common?" she asks pointedly this time.
Again I refuse to answer on the grounds it might incriminate me.
Then it came to her. There was a common thread to our previously peaceful existence after all -- wait for it ...
"I know," she excitely responds. "We both hate macaroni and cheese!"
Now this is true. I have never liked mac and cheese. Not homemade. Not the double-cheese variety. Not the kind with the fancy shells. Not the Kraft boxed set or the cheap add-water-to-the-powder stuff.
That still doesn't keep me from sneaking a box into the Kroger cart every now and then -- just to get a reaction.
So while some couples "will always have Paris," apparently we will always have ... mac and cheese.
And as every dutiful husband should, I blame my mother for all of this.
She made me dislike salmon with those patties she always said dad loved so dearly (yet I knew were really just code for "it's the end of the pay period and money is tight").
She made me detest tuna casserole (another budget buster back then, although with the cashews and mandarin oranges she used, it would be an expensive concoction these days).
And she made me hate macaroni and cheese. She always used that old Creamettes brand, and for some reason the macaroni always seemed slimy to me after cooking. Just couldn't handle that telltale texture.
But thank goodness for that mutual distaste for mac and cheese ... at least -- as Bill Murray might say -- we've got that going for us, which is nice.
Oops. I forgot. She doesn't like Bill Murray either.
So mac and cheese will just have to do.