Something to Talk About

“Where are all of the butter knives?” he said. He stood in the kitchen and looked at the utensil organizer in the drawer.

“I don’t know. We only have three now,” she said. “You’ve probably been throwing them away.”


“You threw some forks away, I think,” she said.

“No, I didn’t,” he said. “When?”

“When you had that thing from Taco Bell, the thing in the big box.”

“The taco salad?” he said.

“I guess.”

“Oh yeah. Maybe I did. But that was just one fork maybe.”

“Maybe you did the same thing with the knives,” she said.

“No, I don’t think so.” He looked like he was thinking about something. “Maybe you’re throwing them away because you want to get a new set. Then you can say, ‘Oh, we need new silverware because we don’t have any knives.’ ”

“No. I’ve been looking around the Internet. I’ve been trying to find new knives that match the old set,” she said. “I haven’t found anything. It’d be easier to just get all new.”

“I wonder where they went then.”

“Yeah, how can something like that happen?” she said.

“I don’t know. Maybe you lost them when you were making all of that frosting,” he said.

“I didn’t use butter knives for that,” she said.

“Oh. Maybe we should just get new silverware,” he said. “We should get something really crazy for our silverware.”

“You’re joking,” she said.

“No, it’s time we went all out and bought something quirky.”

“I can’t see us with anything quirky,” she said. “I’ll just find our pattern on the Internet and buy some more.” She laughed. “Quirky.”

“I’m quirky,” he said.

“No, you’re not,” she said. “You’re a computer guy. Computer guys aren’t quirky.”

“They are too. They’re the most quirky types.”

“I think the word is ‘quirkiest,’ ” she said.

“Oh, OK,” he said.

“And that’s not you,” she said. “Quirky types are people who glue hubcaps onto their house or build rockets in their backyards. Computer guys are the least quirky types. Computer guys are about as quirky as accountants or insurance salesmen.”

“You don’t know anything. There’s this guy at work whose office is a museum to Japanese anime. There are tons of these little anime characters all over his office. He’s a computer guy. That’s pretty quirky.”

“Not really. That’s someone just trying to seem quirky.”

“Why do you always have these elaborate schemes for how stuff works?” he said. “It must be exhausting coming up with all of that.”

“It’s relaxing and soothing,” she said. “What about you? Your office has nothing on the walls and tons of stuff in cardboard boxes.”

“I just haven’t gotten all set up yet.”

His wife wanted to see what his new office looked like so they stopped by one night.

He opened his laptop. “This will only take a second,” he said. “Can you get the USB cable? It’s in that drawer.”

“This one?” she said. She pointed at a drawer.


She opened the drawer and saw five butter knives. “What are these doing here?”

“Uh, I don’t know,” he said.

“You can think of something,” she said.

“Well, I brought them to work.”

“Why’d you do that?” she said.

“So we’d have something to talk about.”

“Ah,” she said.

“It’s just we don’t have anything to talk about anymore. I brought the knives to work, so we could talk about the disappearing butter knives.”

“There’s something wrong with that. Were you planning on bringing them home?”

“Yes, then we’d have that to talk about. Suddenly we’d have more butter knives. ‘Hey, we have more knives. How’d that happen?’ It’d be fun and quirky.”

“Stop saying you’re quirky when you’re not,” she said.

“Stop saying I’m not,” he said.

“OK, we can talk about how you brought them to work, so we’d have something to talk about at home? We can talk about how messed up that is? Or was that part of the whole thing: that I’d see them at work and then we could talk about that?”

“Maybe,” he said.

“You’re a goof,” she said.

“No, you’re the goof for falling for the missing butter knife trick. It’s the oldest trick in the book.”

“Stop trying to be quirky,” she said.

“You’re just saying that because you think it bothers me,” he said.

“No, I’m trying to understand what’s wrong with you.”

“There’s nothing wrong with me,” he said.

“I need to watch you more closely. I need to hire some professionals. There are people who specialize in whatever you have.”

“I’m a blast, though,” he said.

“A blast? You’re not a party,” she said. “A blast? That’s funny.” She put the butter knives in her purse. “Don’t go thinking this makes you quirky.” She laughed.

“Yes it does, admit it.”

She slowly tilted her head to the right as she thought. “OK. But it’s disturbing-quirky not fun-quirky,” she said.

[November 2008]

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