The other night, I was awakened by a piercing, agonized scream, the kind that makes you aware that there is somewhere a person being cruelly and mercilessly tortured.
Because it was the middle of the night, it took me a few minutes to determine that I was the screamer. It took only a few more seconds to discover why I had screamed.
The cause recurred.
But first, I have an absolutely beautiful wife. Ann is a member of Mensa, she's a wonderful cook, she's all of the things that a man could ask for and more, including someone to talk to when you need someone to talk to.
She has class. She's witty. She's marvelous company. She's very capable and independent, but she can also be very cuddly and make me feel very needed. There is, however, one lump in the Hollandaise. Oh, it's not her fault. I'm sure that what she has is hereditary, though I've never summoned the courage to ask her father.
Ann has frigiddigititis.
You can't tell it to look at her. Usually, only those very close to frigiddigititis sufferers are aware that the sufferers are suffering from frigiddigititis.
Frigiddigititis has been around for years and you're probably aware of it,only not by its technical name. For those of you who aren't aware of what frigiddigititis is, let's break it down.
FRIGID. Having to do with, or in the process of being, very, veryvery cold.
DIGIT. The numbers 0 through 9, or those appendages farthest from the heart, also called fingers and toes.
ITIS. From the Latin, meaning you've got something.
Frigiddigititis. Unfortunately, those closest to a frigiddigititis sufferer usually suffer more than the sufferer does.
Example: You're lying in your bed. The window is open and it's about 40 degrees in the room, but it's a water bed and it has a heater, and there are five blankets on top of you so you're nice and toasty, lying on your side.
Suddenly, you hear a little mewing sound, and your mate snuggles up to your back. An arm wraps around you. Pretty nice, huh?
Except that you know that at the end of that arm is a hand, and on that hand are five fingers that are about two degrees above absolute zero. They're heading directly towards the middle of your stomach. What do you do?
If you're awake, you take immediate evasive action. Despite the possibility of severe frostbite, grab that hand with your own hand. Hold that hand! After all, your hand is tougher than your stomach. Put several layers of blankets between you and the offending digits.
Very carefully, shake the frigiddigititis sufferer and whisper "If you'll roll over, I'll snuggle your back." If he or she complies, make sure that all of the digits are well away from you. Hang on for dear life.
If you're asleep, there's not much you can do. You might make up a sort of explanatory note, and circulate it amongst your neighbors, so that if the neighbors hear screams in the night, they'll be less likely to call the police.
Make a list of all of the sufferer's good characteristics and read it each time you're awakened, screaming during the night.
Buy lots of gloves and socks in the sufferers' size and leave them lying around, making frequent mention that in the old days, people often wore gloves and socks to bed.
Whatever you do, DO NOT allow the sufferer to become aware that he or she is a sufferer. It takes only a little thought on the part of the sufferer to discover that the sufferer has a lethal offensive weapon readily at hand.
Lately, it seems that I'm only frigiddigitized when I have done something that didn't meet with Ann's approval.
Sometimes, too, I hear a little giggle just before it happens. You don't suppose...
BILL HARVEY used to submit his material to us with increasingly exorbitant demands for payment. One dollar, five dollars -- who knows where it would have ended? He is now satisfied with mere fame.
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