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I told you so

Rick Ryckeley's picture

There are many anniversaries one marks in life: a wedding day, birthdays, and graduations, just to name a few. Each comes with its own special memory, perhaps a card, and pictures of the happy occasion. One usually carries these memories throughout life and looks back on them with fondness.

But there are other anniversaries that are quite different. Yes, dear reader, they’re called the “I Told You So” anniversaries. Next week marks just such an anniversary around our house.

The “I Told You So” anniversary for me doesn’t spur happy thoughts; in fact, it’s just the opposite. With this anniversary comes the memory of pain, lots and lots of pain.

It did, however, come with pictures – pictures in the form of X-rays, and I still wear the scars to prove it. Even though it’s been five years, I’ve never forgotten the lesson learned that day: Listen to The Wife and nobody gets hurt.

And no, if you’re wondering, I didn’t get a card.

Ever hear that little voice in your head that warns you right before something goes horribly wrong? I heard that voice all the time when I was growing up at 110 Flamingo Street, but it wasn’t in my head. The voice came from either Older Brother Richard or Big Brother James.

Whenever they said, “It’s safe, here, hold this” or “Go ahead, no one will get hurt,” it wasn’t, you shouldn’t, and someone always did.

I really don’t know whose voice it was I heard in my head five years ago. It screamed as loud as it could and told me to wait, but I didn’t listen. There was a job to be done, some heavy lifting, and I’m a big strong man. Just how hard could it be to flip a mattress anyway? Besides, it’s not like you can get hurt doing that.

At the time, I’d been a firefighter for 23 years and had never responded to an emergency call due to a mattress injury. What could possibly go wrong?

Besides, The Wife was going to be back as soon as she got something from her car. Me, being the Neanderthal that I am, didn’t want to wait for her to return. She left the room; I grabbed the mattress and lifted. What happened next sounded like a gunshot.

Five years ago The Wife said, “Just wait. I’ll be back in a minute, and I’ll help you.” Looking back now, my decision not to wait wasn’t the smartest thing I’ve done.
Moments later, The Wife returned only to find the husband she loves on the floor curled up into a little ball, crying like a baby, with a mattress lying on top of him.

Don’t ask what happened. I ain’t telling. Besides, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you. She called the doctor, helped me to the car, and drove me to the hospital. For the next three months she nursed me back to health. Not once did she ever say, “I told you so.”

Besides, if she had, I wouldn’t have been able to hear her anyway. During my recovery for the next three months, Richard and James were in my head screaming it at me the whole time.

Marriage is not a dictatorship. It’s a partnership. I ask you, why marry a smart and beautiful lady if you’re not going to pay attention to what she says?

Five years ago, I learned my lesson, and learned it well.

Just do what The Wife says and no one gets hurt.

[Rick Ryckeley, who lives in Senoia, has been a firefighter for over 26 years and a weekly columnist since 2001. His email is His book is available at]

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