There are three things every husband wants from his wife.
The first, we get like crazy before the wedding, but vanishes soon after. The second, her sister never agrees. But the third, our wives are always willing to get for us, because it keeps us out of mischief. A new barbecue grill.
Every few years, my wife buys me a new barbecue grill. It keeps my mind off of the first two. A few years ago for my birthday, Alison bought me the Cadillac of grills. It was huge and had several adjustable flame knobs, an ignition button and three grilling levels with broad wing counters.
She even had it set up and delivered for me. That week, nothing to get my attention, not even her growing American Express credit card debts. And when Saturday came along, I popped the hood and looked inside only to be shocked by a nest of twigs, leaves, grasses and junk.
Right in the center of the mess was one feather. Some bird decided my grill was going to be his new home. Because birds always get not only a great nest, they get the first and second things, too from their wives. And sisters.
I grabbed the mess -- including the feather -- and threw it across the lawn, screaming like Beowulf defending the Heorot from Grendel and his Dragon mother -- a former girlfriend I once dated.
Anyway, I scrubbed the grill clean. By the time I was done, it was night fall, and I closed the hood back down and went to sleep, dreaming of Sunday's barbecue bliss.
The next morning I went downstairs and popped the hood and was aghast -- with an Arabian-Hebrew pronunciation of the "gh" -- guttural anguish. Sure enough, there was another pile of stenchy twigs, grass ands leaves with another feather right in the center. That feather, I gathered, is how animals have to mark their turf. The superior race of Man uses a lawn mower and blue spray paint on the sidewalk to make sure the neighbor knows where their lawn ends and my lawn begins.
This went on every day for a week. I'd clean it out. Scrub it. Close it. Go to sleep. Dream. And then discover more crud. There were two holes on each side for a rotisserie. I plug those up but still, that damn bird got in.
Finally, on a Friday night, and completely exhausted fromt he ordeal, my wife came up with the brilliant idea. "Why are you closing the hood? Keep it open," she said.
There are three things men never do. We don't pack our bags -- I go berserk when airport security asks me that question. "That's insulting. It's racism. It's bigotry. It's discrimination. I'm a man. My wife packs my bag. Ask her!"
We never admit to making a mistake. And we never, never listen to our wives when we are driving, or accept anything that sounds like wifely directions. We will drive until we run out of gas rather than listen to our wives and stop and ask for directions.
"Close the barbecue hood? Close the hood?" I stammered with the frustration of Democratic presidential voters in Michigan and Florida.
"Yes," my wife repeated softly. Close the hood.
So I closed the hood. "Well. You bought it."
Sure enough, Saturday came without a mess and we had a great barbecue. And as I was relaxing with a shot of Arak -- the Arabian version of Ouzo that if the Islamicists drank a little more of, maybe they wouldn't be so wound up.
That's when I spotted the bird and his harem in the nearby Elm tree. "Look at that damn bird. He can't get over the fact that the human two-legged being is more intelligent than the non-human two-legged animal."
And that is exactly when my male ego found heaven. My wife just had to ask.
"How do you know that's the bird that tried to build that nest all week in your new barbecue?"
"Come on honey. Look at him. He's the only bird with no feathers left on his ass."
(Ray Hanania is an award winning journalist, author of "The Catastrophe: How Extremists hijacked the Palestinian Cause," and co-founder of the Israeli-Palestinian Comedy Tour. Get information on Ray at www.hanania.com.)