In the wake of Top Gun: Maverick, my marriage was the 1961 Ferrari 250GT convertible at the end of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – dented and cracked, but fixable.
But my husband Netflix cheated while I was in North Carolina and now our marriage has gone through a window and landed at the bottom of a ravine.
And yes. I know I made a Ferris Bueller reference in last week’s column. But I think we can all agree America has produced two great thinkers.
Benjamin Franklin and John Hughes.
And here lies the path to my marital ruin. When John Hughes died, I mourned the late, great raconteur. My husband greeted my mourning with the same curiosity I greet his butchering game in my kitchen – not judging, but not sure how we got here.
Because just like I have never hunted, he has never seen a John Hughes movie.
No Pretty in Pink. No The Breakfast Club. John Hughes got me through high school. I was Anthony Michael Hall. I was Ducky. You don’t think good things lie on the other side of James Spader, but John Hughes showed us they do.
Everything we discussed before marriage – money, kids, do we live in the suburbs, who takes out the trash? – we never discussed pop culture. It was too late to undo our partnership by the time John Hughes died. Who brought the Reality Bites CD to the marriage? Him? Me? Nobody knew. We were stuck.
Because of our divergent pop culture views, the Venn diagram of television we agree upon is limited. And therefore precious to me.
You see, I stratify my television viewing. There are shows I watch only when I work out. Outlander, for example. Then there are shows I only watch with my husband. Banshee comes to mind. Those were good days.
And, of course, there are shows that fall between these two categories. The Orville lives here. The Orville is reserved for nights my husband isn’t home, the kids are in bed, and it’s just me, my dog, and a spaceship.
Now, for years Ozark has been in my workout stratum. I have implored my husband to watch it because Jason Bateman is just a revelation. And my television categories aren’t rigid. I mean, I’m not crazy. I am always willing to shift a show into a different category if the need becomes apparent. And the proper paperwork is completed.
Take Vikings. I’m married to a Viking descendent so why not watch the show and put more game meat in my life? But very quickly I recognized my husband would enjoy Vikings. So I shifted Vikings to its new category. I’m perfectly reasonable.
But Ozark just never happened for my husband. So for 3.5 seasons, I kept Ozark in the workout category.
But in February, my husband was laid up with a leg injury. So he binged Ozark.
“This is great!” I said. “We can watch the second half of the fourth season together!”
He didn’t share my enthusiasm. But then, he’s not a terribly emotive guy. He’s as stalwart as an aircraft carrier. I’m a booze cruise. Spirited. Animated. Bubbly.
When I went to North Carolina last week, my husband stayed behind to work. He also finished Ozark.
Finished it! This is the last season and he finished it! Without me! He knows who lives. He knows who dies. He knows if the character Wendy Byrde is symbolic of Peter Pan!
I was shocked. He’s an aircraft carrier! Aircraft carriers don’t Netflix cheat! Why Ozark? Has he not realized he’s married to a pop culture aficionado? I could give him a hundred other shows to watch. Why Ozark?
“Are you really mad about this?” he asked me.
Am I really mad? Am I really mad?! He finished Ozark behind my back and he wants to know if I’m mad!
“Well.” He said, “then you should know I’m mad at you, too.”
Wait. What? What did I do? Introduce you to Ozark, the best show ever? I’m a booze cruise. How can you be mad at a booze cruise?
That was when he claimed he told me – weeks before my North Carolina trip – that he was planning to finish Ozark while I was away. He was hurt I didn’t recall that conversation.
Oh no. Uh-uh. No no no no. You can’t Netflix cheat then get mad at the cheatee. I would remember this conversation. I would have pressed him to wait for me. Like he did when we were dating and he asked me to be his girlfriend and I refused.
Joke’s on him, right? Should have run when he had the chance.
And so we’re at a standoff. He maintains I knew he planned to Netflix cheat, approved it, and have forgotten an important marital conversation.
I maintain he Netflix cheated and that’s all that matters.
Almost half of Netflix users have Netflix cheated. I can’t find statistics on how many Netflix users have forgotten a conversation with their spouse, but that’s probably because that’s not as bad as Netflix cheating.
And this Wendi might be a terrible wife for forgetting a conversation, but at least I’m not as terrible a wife as the Wendy in Ozark.
Which I still haven’t finished.
So, you know, see you next week. I obviously have work to do.