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Things you just shouldn't say

Isn't it true that we spend a great deal of emotional energy trying to say the right thing?

"Hi there, how's it going?"

"Pretty good. How about you?"

"Hey! Great."

See what I mean? These greetings could have been uttered by any of us, when at any given time, one would rather say: "Ahhhhhh Gahhddd! My back's killing me, my prostate's turned into a basketball, I've been constipated since the Nixon administration, and I'm going bald."

But we don't say stuff like that. If we can hold our head up and sip soup through a straw, we're great. Or pretty good.

There's even more energy consumed when the communications are going between the genders, and that's because neither of the sexes has the faintest idea what the hell's going on there.

I was at the neighbor's the other day for supper. I haven't been there for some time, and so there was some catching up to do. His wife asked me what I was up to these days, and, since this wasn't just a passing, throw-away inquiry, I answered somewhat truthfully -- and excitedly: "I'm thinking about buying a backhoe."

All over the world, men are sending messages more or less like that to women. It's not always a backhoe, obviously. Maybe it's a snowmobile. Maybe you're an Iraqi, and you come home saying you need a new machine gun, or you're a Republican, and you come home saying you bought your voting district all new computerized voting machines, or whatever.

All over the world, women are receiving messages like this one from men, not having the faintest clue what to say back in return. (Ladies, sometime down the road, I'll talk about what men should not say. Don't hold your breath, though.)

I'm here today to tell you women what you shouldn't say, which is what his wife said to me. In truth, when she looks at me, she sees 10 tractors and a hobby farm on which I cannot even coax a gopher into a trap, or a thistle to wither and die. All women tend to look at men and not recognize the genius that lies within us, genius that is looking for the right opportunity to bust out and accomplish great things.

She said: "What the hell you gonna do with that?"

Not good. Ladies, take that example to heart. Here are a couple of other things not to say, although none of them are as frightfully inappropriate as what she said:

"Oooooo, what color is it?" (Aesthetics and backhoes don't mix.)

"What's a backhoe?" (Ignorance is no excuse.)

"Can you plant the garden with it?" (Ouch to him for marrying a blonde.)

"That's nice." (No. It's not. It's oily and rusty and greasy and wonderful.)

"I always wanted one of those, myself." (He said backhoe, not bread dough.)

"Are you feeling OK?" (Zing. When in doubt, attack. I'm real OK; I just bought a backhoe.)

"I used to go out with an idiot that owned a backhoe." (Double zing. Passive aggressive's success rate with married males: Zero.)

"Is a backhoe more expensive than a divorce?" (Never make a guy choose.)

"I guess you'd rather have a backhoe than sex, huh?" (Well, OK, I guess the honeymoon's over.)

"In that case, my mother is coming to stay." (Two for the price of one, backhoe, that is.)

"Will it fit into your doghouse?" (Ah, the dealer said it would. Your move.)

"Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed ..." (Ooooo. Bringing God into it. Alright! Backhoes for Jesus!)

"Your daughter needs braces." (One would hope that she can wait.)

"I hope it runs better than the other junk you bring home." (Like our marriage, for example?)

"I want one, too." (Far out!)

"What? You won the lottery?" (Matter of fact, no, but there's still a chance.)

"Who's cooking supper tonight?" (The old slight of hand. If you can't lick 'em, distract 'em.)

"The red light in my car came on three days ago. Is that good?" (Yeah, you're too fat and need to walk more.)

"You're not serious." (As a heart attack, woman.)

"How many ways can you kill yourself with one of those?" (Three. I already counted. Ain't that great?)

@(#*$&#*$&%^$&#*! !!!!!!" (Whoa, there, sailor.)

"OK. Which one of your friends just bought one?" (Joe's wife. For him. You lose.)

"Cool. You can start by digging your grave with it." (Just so you know, it'll probably be big enough for two.)

"I'm going to throw up." (Cry, too, while you're at it. The feelings of self worth and pride a backhoe brings will salve any female damage to them.)

What should you women have said? In my opinion, you should have said: "Oooo, mister backhoe operator, take me upstairs right now."

Just an opinion.