Snail Snort aka My wife’s guffaws.



I got a note today from a national trade mag called BPN that they are going to publish one of my recent posts. I have been patting myself on the back all day because of my excellent writing skills. I came home and told my wife Michele the exciting news.

Immediately she kicked in her Keep Ben in His Place posture and brought me back to reality.

“Isn’t this the outfit that we pay eight hundred bucks a month to for advertising?” she asked. “Sure they’ll publish it. Why wouldn’t they throw your little article in the back of their rag just to keep you throwing money at them?”

I didn’t have an answer. I never do when she starts throwing her darts to see how many of my  bubbles she can pop in one sitting.

Perhaps if I showed her my article, she would change her tune. For the first time in almost 80 years, or so it seems, just maybe she would change her tune.

Michele loves to read. She’s been in at least 6 book clubs since we’ve been married. I’m not kidding! She was the impetus that got the library started in Basin City. I’m not kidding! So wouldn’t you think she’d enjoy reading my doodling from time to time? The short answer is no. The long answer is no way.

So ya’ll have probably gathered by now that I like to write. And my dear wife likes to read. But mating up her reading with my writing is like trying to be Noah when he gathered up the animals before the flood. By the time it started raining he had only been able to get one bull rhino and one female poly wog on the ark.

All the other animals told Noah they’d hop on the big cruise ship as soon as the rain let up. I often feel like Noah.

Our situation just doesn’t breed a lot of reader/writer synergy. Noah would be more likely to have a rhino wog after 40 days and nights than me make Michele have a normal person’s belly laugh while reading my work.

After a little pleading and a lot of begging, Michele sat down and started scanning my masterpiece. When she reads my stuff, I have to watch and listen very closely.

Once in a while, I try to incorporate a little humor in my ramblings. When I write something funny, I laugh and laugh. Sometimes I roll on the floor. Often my sides hurt and my head feels like it’s going to explode. This is why I write. And once in a while I hear from others that they have the same experience.

And so, a conundrum. The most important person in my life becomes a zombie when appraising my material. If I didn’t know better I would think she didn’t love me anymore. Her eyeballs scarcely flicker and even that only happens when she goes to the next paragraph. Almost never do I hear a sound or notice any facial movements.

A couple of times when she was reading my stuff, I frantically picked up the phone and dialed 911.  The girl was comatose. It looked to me like the breath of life was gone in my dear reading companion. For far too long there had been no movement on her part. I thought she was dead.

Her eyes were still open and glassy but that didn’t mean she was alive. I’ve seen plenty of cowboy movies where dead guys still had their eyes open. And glassy too, just like Michele.

One of those times I tried to close her eyes with my fingers but that didn’t turn out so well. It’s lucky that I had already called 911 because when the ambulance got to our house, the EMT’s ended up reviving me. I had a swollen black eye and a major headache.

The EMT’s asked me if this was a domestic dispute but I had no idea. The last thing I could remember was trying to close Michele’s eyes. Speaking of eyes, my eye was throbbing to beat the band. I was slightly grateful that Michele hadn’t died like all those cowboys.

When Michele reads my stuff, I can tell when something is really funny. I mean knock-down, drop-dead hilarious. When that occurs, on very rare occasions I might add, I have learned to pick up some subtle changes in her demeanor.

She emits what I call a “snail snort”. This is her guffaw.

Her face doesn’t change. No laughter or audible expressions are present. However, I can hear a very subtle and brief exhalation of air from at least one of her nostrils. After decades of marriage, I have learned to recognize that her guffaw or “snail snort” is her raucous laughter.

I call it a snail snort even though it is less detectable in decibels than when a snail snorts. Also, snails are somewhat slow to respond and…there you have it. Michele’s response to my ramblings.

Back to the present. I was able to talk her into sitting down and reading the article that BPN is going to kick out in August. It’s their safety edition. They decided that my experience from a week or two back where I almost bled out on top of a grain bin would fit right in to their topic of the month.

When I talked to the editor, she said something about they were sure their readers would all be more committed to safety and retrain their employees to not be totally stupid and idiotic like…then her voice trailed off.

So Michele sat down and read my article. This is the really fantastic part. I am sure I heard three very loud laughs, four giggles and one large guffaw. All toned down to Michele’s style of expression. Remember, I and only I can detect these flat-line-to- everyone-else responses.

From this little reading session and vast marital experience, I have very high hopes concerning BPN’s readers approval.

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