A 1965 Volvo
Updated: January 17, 2013 7:20AM
Yes, I am on my third marriage. But I’ve learned a lot of things during those marriages to make this one work; I’ve learned lessons from mistakes. If you don’t, you’re an idiot. When I met my wife Jennifer, I couldn’t wait to exercise what I had learned. It started on the third date.
I was driving down Montana Avenue in Santa Monica and Jenny was sitting in the passenger seat. Here comes the test, guys, for a successful marriage: She lifts her hand oh-so-gently, sticks her finger out, and points at the next street and says, “Why don’t you turn here? It’s shorter.” I stopped the car, pulled over to the side, took off my seat belt, did a full, dramatic turn and looked at her in the eye. I said, “I think you’re cool, but never, ever e ver tell me where to go in a car. Never point to a street, never tell me which way is shorter, never talk to me about directions while I am driving my car. Never make a sound like an ‘oof’ when there is a car coming near us. I am the master of my car. I am in charge of machinery. This is my Batmobile. Robin doesn’t tell Batman where to go. I will decide, right or wrong, which way we are going ... But I still think you are cute. I like you.”
Guys, I want to tell you, it worked. I have been with Jenny now 17 years.
Six months ago, I made a mistake. One stupid mistake. I don’t know, I must have been tired, or maybe I was thinking about sex. Most likely, I was thinking about sex. I said, “Hey honey, which way do you think is the best way to go to Hollywood? Sunset or Wilshire?” I opened the vault. Now I have Chatty Cathy in the traffic chopper sitting next to me. “Why are you in the right lane? You know there are potholes in the right side. You should always been in the left lane on Sunset. But switch into the right lane before Beverly Glen this time of the day. No, that’s ridiculous going that way, too much traffic. You should … You should ... You should …”
“Dam---” I say. “You should shut up!” And she looks at me like a wet cat that’s been startled by a dog. She says, “I thought you liked it when I helped you?” … I don’t know how long this marriage is going to last.
It’s no better when I’m driving by myself. I put on my navigation system. Now, I’ve got some other woman telling me, “Turn left in 60 feet.” I can’t get away from these bossy women! Now she’s telling me what to do and she’s not even saying my name or “please” or “may I suggest” or “what do you think if ... ” It’s just “ Now, do this.”
If you don’t listen to her (because you know better), the next command I swear is snippy and hurt. And now I look like a jerk to the other drivers as I am yelling at the navigation system.
So I think the best thing to do, first of all, is never drive with my wife again. She can walk. But I also want to change all the guys’ navigation systems to my voice. I’ll call it Belushi Navigation. I will say things in a calm voice like, “Hey man … what’s up? Oh, there’s always a lot of traffic on the Kennedy going downtown at this time. God, all I see are red brake lights. I don’t know, hey, you could get off at Harlem, go down Higgins, pick up the 94 closer to downtown. Or … you could stay here … because you know what you’re doing, man. You’re the master of your car. You are in charge of this machinery. You’ll get us there.”
Or, “Go ahead. Make the U-turn here. It may be illegal, but the cops aren’t out.” My favorite is, “Slow down, what are you rushing home for … some dinner party your wife wants to go to? Admiral Strip Club is on Lawrence and Pulaski. Now, turn right in 600 feet.”
Jim Belushi donated his fee for writing this column to the Chilmark Fire Department.