(With Apologies to Mrs. Rudyard Kipling)
If you keep your head when she's complaining
And usually complaining about you,
If you can keep from flying off the handle,
Instead of shouting back as some men do.
If you can smile and not create disaster
When she calls you a really stupid jerk,
If you can still remain the household master
Remaining calm, when she just goes berserk.
If you can wait and not get tired of waiting,
And wait and wait and wait and wait and wait,
And not resort to yelling and to swearing
Although you know that once again you're late,
If you can trust yourself although she tells you
As oft before that once again you're wrong,
Nor lose yourself in self-effacing pity,
But once again rise upward with a song.
If you can bear to hear the words you've spoken
Thrown up to you after a dozen years,
Without going mad in trying to remember
Just what it was you said that caused the tears,
If you can play some poker with your buddies
With just a dozen beer, a little cost,
And not have to explain when home you wandered
Just why it was that once again you lost.
If you can tell one lie and then remember
Just what it was you told that lie about,
And calmly one more time repeat the lying
So that she never ever finds you out,
If you can flirt a bit and keep your virtue,
And then acknowledge that it's just a game,
And do it with a half a dozen women,
But always treat each one of them the same.
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To stand up strong and never once give in
But be the type that's gracious in the process
And always act as though you didn't win.
If you can rule the house and all those in it
And never back away and never run,
Yours is a place where husbands never enter,
And what is more, you don't exist, my son.
Ed Smith lives in Springdale.
His e-mail address is