The Corner

Marriage Penalty

“The Gift of the Magi,” interpreted by a cynic (via e-mail):

The true meaning of ‘The Gift of the Magi’ did not strike me until I had been married about 20 years.  All of sudden I thought, “Hey!  Her hair will grow back, but his watch is gone!”  At that point I realized how the dumb goofus was expertly manipulated by his wife.  I have no doubt she had been dropping hints about those combs for a long time.  Once she hears through the grapevine, aka “tele-woman”, that hubby had sold his watch to buy the combs, she had to think of a way to make him think that he wasn’t a totally beat down wuss.  That is why she came up with the plan to sell her hair (she knows it will grow back).  But what could she get him in return?  A watch chain is the perfect gift.  On Christmas Day, when the gifts are opened, she cries and cries about how he sold his watch and cannot use the chain.  The poor husband, still completely oblivious, is extremely affected emotionally at the “sacrifice” his beautiful wife made for him.  Ever the loving husband, he suggests that the gold watch chain be made into a necklace for her.  So, in conclusion, the wife got combs for her hair (that will grow back) and a necklace.  What did the husband get?  Bupkis.  The funny part?  He never knew he was had!!

John J. Miller is the national correspondent for National Review and the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. His new book is Reading Around: Journalism on Authors, Artists, and Ideas.

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