Not long after we married we bought a membership to Costco and on Saturday mornings we'd head over there for the free chow and a big grocery shopping spree. On one of those expeditions we purchased two rolls of plastic wrap. Why buy one, right? Because it just runs out and it's always good to have a backup. Because really... it always happens that when you really need it you pull the plastic and end up standing there like a big goof with three inches of wrap in your hand because the roll went dead.
For only a few months after that we stayed in California before deciding to relocate back to my home state of Arkansas. We packed up all our belongings, including the two rolls of plastic wrap, and have since been living happily ever after.
About two years after we moved here one of us realized that we hadn't purchased any plastic wrap since we bought the first two rolls. We figured any day now we were due to run out.
Another couple of years went by and we began speculating about the magical quality of the rolls. Despite frequent use of plastic wrap we seemed to never get near the end. We considered it to be some very special faerie-powered, mystical plastic wrap that replenishes itself at night on full moons. We were happy, we were in love. Life was good.
Somewhere around year six we went from special magical faerie plastic wrap to feeling superstitious about the rolls. We'd had these rolls of plastic wrap our entire married life. Did that relate in any philosophical or mystical way to the marriage itself? What would happen when the rolls ran out? Anything? Nothing? Should we stop using them? Was that cheating? Did it matter? We sort of joked about it and yet... every time I used a piece of plastic wrap I wondered if some metaphysical clock were ticking somewhere.
Earlier in the year I was at the back of the house and Rob was in the kitchen. I heard him yelling this horrified, "Aaa-aaagh!" I dropped what I was doing and ran to the kitchen figuring he'd sliced through his hand or was having some other miscellaneous kitchen mishap. I rounded the corner to see him standing in the middle of the kitchen with a plastic wrap box in one hand and a three-inch piece of plastic wrap in the other. He gasped, "It's the last piece. THE LAST PIECE!"
"Wait, wait... we have another roll don't we," I suggested, hopeful.
He threw the stuff to the floor and yanked open the cabinet. There sat the other roll in its yellow and blue box, metal teeth gleaming in the light like some crazy possessed box of plastic wrap you'd name Cujo or Christine. "Yes, here it is. We have one left."
We looked at each other and didn't say much. What could you say? It was bound to be coming to an end... the rolls anyway, hopefully not the marriage. Would we survive it?
Another few months went by. Fast forward to yesterday. Another horrific bellow comes from Rob in the kitchen. I race in to see him standing there, again, with three inches of plastic wrap and a terrified look on his face. "This is it," he said, grimacing.
Julius, our oldest comes racing in. "What is it, what is it?" He stares at his dad (who is still holding the plastic wrap and waving it around in the air) like he's a stranger visiting from a mental institution. I said, "Oh, uh, well, your Dad just needs more plastic wrap and we're all out." Julius rolls his eyes and leaves the room.
Well, really, what was I supposed to do, explain it to him? It boggles the mind to think we bought those mutant rolls three years before he was even born.
So, here is what I'm thinking. If those lasted eight years, all we need to do is go find that brand of wrap and buy enough rolls to last us until somewhere around the end of our lifespan, give or take a few years for being in the nursing home and maybe purchase one extra roll since we have two kids now and will probably be using more.
A quick googling of the average life expectancy of humans yielded me a nifty little calculator. (Sidenote: calculating your life expectancy is a sobering thing which gave me pause to wonder why I'm sitting here writing about plastic wrap instead of out climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or doing a castle tour of the UK or publishing my best-selling novel.) After a few clicks I determined six rolls should do it. We'll get seven to be on the safe side. Lucky Number Seven.
It's a small price to pay to save a marriage.