The oldest trick in the book.

They stood in the doorway, two cats caught in a rain storm.  Emotionally drenched and sad, looking dreadful and borderline pathetic.

“Something happened.”  They said together, almost rehearsed.

And I knew.  Like all men would. An instinctive notion, like having to pee or being hungry.  It’s not so much understanding why you know, it’s just accepting the fact that you do.  Another basic instinct that’s been protecting humans since the days when we still resembled apes and were covering our private parts with fur.

The “something happened” implied damage to the car.

“It was an accident…blah blah blah blah.”

When a guy is informed about an accident by the person who was driving the said vehicle at the time, it implies inadvertently that the person wasn’t injured or worse.  This then provides the opportunity for all the emotion of the moment to be channelled into grief for the car and the inevitable pain that surge through the body of a male, ending up rattling in your wallet.  And you can experience all of this without sounding like a materialistic ass.

“Is it the new car?”  I asked carefully.  For “new car” being her car which is less than two months old.

“Yes”, she said.  A built-in reflex causes my palm to slap my face and I say “Shit” through my fingers.  In front of Princess.  For sympathy, compassion and setting a good example flies out the window for most men in moments like these.

“I mean no, ” she hastily recovered.

“So, it’s mine?” I asked, treading unchartered territory.

“Yes”, she said. A built-in reflex causes my palm to slap my face and I say “Shit” through my fingers.  In front of Princess.  For sympathy, compassion and setting a good example flies out the window for most men in moments like these.

“Is it bad?”

“Yes”, they both reply this time.  Then it’s my palm and my face and the shit-word and everything else that flew out the window.

“But it was an accident,” Princess defended, which is stating the obvious for I might not know much, but I do know that I haven’t done anything recently that would give reason for the love of my life to take my car and drive like a lunatic.

“Where did it happen?”

“In the driveway.”

When a woman has her emotions unearthed and exposed, a man has very little options at his disposal.  If you consider that this woman had an accident with her husband’s car, whilst leaving the driveway, you’re walking a very fine wire.  A balancing act over a very deep gorge, filled with atrocities that will eat you alive if you misstep once.  It’s important to remember that you shouldn’t (1) Laugh.  (2) Get mad.  And most importantly (3) Don’t say anything.

“Let’s go see.”

It was the safest words I could muster and ushered Wife lovingly down the stairs.  Princess was trailing behind, continuously blabbering about how it wasn’t her mom’s fault. And about Mom reversing when another car was driving slowly down the street.  And about Mom wondering about the slow driving car.  And about Mom focusing too much on the suspicious car.  And about Mom steering MY car into the intercom system at the gate.

I was proud for keeping my mouth shut.  It’s those rare moments where I’m able to converse effectively using only three words at a time.  I knew that using more words would increase the potential of me saying something I might regret later.

Needless to say, it was a quiet trip out to the drive-way, with me fighting demons telling me that the car was a right-off.

This is what I saw.

Ah Dad, it's just a scratch...

Ah Dad, it’s just a scratch…

Depending on your love of cars, this picture might be a dagger to your heart or, like it was for me, a major relief.  I hugged the wife and told her it was nothing, only because she used the oldest trick in the book.  An ancient trick, one that’s been tried and tested, a trick commonly used by teenagers.

It’s the one where you exaggerate the truth so that the reality seems like nothing by comparison.

20 thoughts on “The oldest trick in the book.

  1. aaww – I’ll remember that technique for future use here at the Hotel Thompson. I’m glad it was ‘nothing’. It’s just a mere scratch. You can barely see it 🙂 XOXO – Bacon


  2. Ok So I did that with my dad’s car. He also took it quite calmly considering at the stage I had just got my licence. Kudos for remaining calm. And it is a very expensive scratch!


    • Yes. She probably thought, that once I applied some medicine and sympathy she would still have to tell me about the damage to the car.

      Besides she had Princess as a secret weapon, which implied she didn’t have to fake injury.


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