Ice shacks ease marital stressby Peter Smith, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — There's a soliloquy at work in your typical Minnesota husband this time of year-the low, steady monologue of a man in conversation with himself. You may not be able to hear it, but you can see it playing out on the almost vacant face of a guy as he pushes a grocery cart down the aisle behind his wife-or wanders absent-mindedly through the mall while she shops.
Your typical Minnesota wife abhors what to her appears to be a vacuum between his ears, and will try to fill it with conversation. Or instruction. Or advice intended to help him contemplate and correct any or all of his many shortcomings.
It's a symbiosis as old as language itself. She talks. He wanders along in his fog, listening to the soliloquy in his head instead of her.
Which is why God invented ice fishing shacks.
This time of year, a husband with an ice fishing shack has somewhere to go. Somewhere quiet-and away from home where his soliloquy can drone on in that warm, comfortable monotone every man in Minnesota recognizes.
A wife with a husband with an ice fishing shack has a few hours of peace and quiet-time to herself when, mercifully, she doesn't have to supervise him.
The fishing itself doesn't matter. They don't care whether he brings fish home or not. Heck-some husbands have been known to go out to their fishing shacks and Not fish at all. They just sit there, play solitaire and listen to their soliloquies.
No. This isn't about putting food on the table. It's about putting distance between couples. Separation from one another that husbands and wives without ice fishing shacks aren't likely to achieve until warmer weather arrives some time after Saint Patrick's Day.
On your way home from work this evening, as you drive past the lake and spot all the ice fishing shacks out there, honk your horn. Think of all the Minnesota marriages being saved.
All those Minnesota wives getting a moment's peace. All those' soliloquies droning contentedly on.
- Morning Edition, 01/19/2010, 7:40 a.m.
Peter Smith lives in Hopkins, Minn.