Saturday, May 10, 2008

Rules of the Game in Stepford

OK ... let me just start by saying upfront that living in Stepford is not all bad. If it were, well, I’d be compelled to leave and after seventeen years, two kids, a yellow dog and house number three, I just don’t see that happening. AND, there are actually some really good things about living in Stepford. One of these things is its predictability. I like this ... I like things to be the same today as they were yesterday and I like knowing they will be the same tomorrow. For instance, I like knowing that it will take me exactly six minutes to get from my driveway to the church parking lot. This is important because I’m always running late and I hate being late for church.

There are two times a year, however, that I never know how long it will take me to get from my driveway to the church parking lot. One of these is Parrothead Weekend (when Jimmy Buffet is in town) and the other is Redneck Weekend (when Kenney Chesney is in town). Invariably, these two weekends are back to back. Invariably, I’m late for church two weeks in a row. I realize this is partially my fault for purchasing a house that has the Stepford Concert Venue in between my house and my church. However, the complete lack of knowledge, understanding, and appreciation by the Parrotheads and the Rednecks for how the game is played in Stepford got me thinking that perhaps someone (someone like me) should publish a Rules of the Game for our sweet little burb, a tourist guide, per se. So if you’re planning a trip to Stepford, take heed, and while in Stepford, do as the Stepford Wives do.

1) If one is good, way more is better. This applies to money, jewelry, houses, Hummers and Louis Vitton’s, just to name a few. This applies to just about anything with the noted exceptions of weight and gray hair.

2) The newer the better. This applies to everything listed above, but also includes wives and breasts. Wives would be listed in number one, except that it is illegal in Texas to practice polygamy—just ask anyone living in Eldorado at the moment.

3) Gadgets are good. I haven’t done the research on this, but I’m convinced that Stepford contains the highest per capita distribution of Blackberry’s, Bluetooth’s, and iPhones in the universe. My children are convinced CPS will take possession of them at any moment, because they are continually and purposefully deprived of cell phones of their own.

4) Bigger is better. This specifically applies to diamonds, houses, Hummers, and breasts. Under no circumstances does this apply to rear-ends.

5) Thou shall not approach the soccer field without coiffed hair and a full face of make-up. I violate this rule weekly, so I can convey to you with confidence that if people pretending not to know you hurts your feelings, you should not attempt this.

6) If you choose not to drive an SUV, a Mercedes or BMW sedan are the only acceptable alternatives. Stepford Wives live under a carefully crafted set of myths and one of those is that driving a mini-van will make you fat. Having driven a mini-van for the last nine years, I purport to have busted this myth. I believe there are those in Stepford who would say otherwise.

7) If you work outside the home, never, ever, ever say while discussing the fact that you have an occupation other than motherhood that you “have to work.” This is a poor reflection on your Stepford Husband that directly implies that his earning power is not up to Stepford standards. You’d be better off discussing a deficiency of what’s in his pants.

8) If you don’t workout and it’s not obvious, just leave it at that. If asked what gym you belong to, just say you use your home gym, even if that really means your dusty treadmill, a flat exercise ball and couple of sad hand weights.

9) Thou shall not clean one’s own house. You also must be prepared to lament the difficulty in finding a good maid the way that your unmarried friends still living in the city lament the difficulty in finding a good man.

10) Jeans whose MSRP are less than $150 are unacceptable. If you need to buy them off eBay to defray the cost, please do so, but by all means keep it to yourself.

I’m living proof its possible to live happily in Stepford while violating the Rules of the Game. However, this path is not for the faint of heart, insecure or vain. And lest I be deemed a hypocrite, I confess I see myself in a few of the Rules. You can’t live in Stepford for as long as I have without at least a few things rubbing off on you.

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