Wednesday, June 20 , 2018, 3:01 pm | Partly Cloudy 67º

 
 
 
 

She Said, Z Said: Lowering the Bar

She Said, Z Said compete to see just how low they can go in the battle of expectations.

Z:  I made a huge strategic blunder yesterday morning when I volunteered to take Koss to school.

{mosimage}She:  Since when is doing a good thing a strategic blunder?

Z:  Every time. It raises the bar. Now you’ll expect me to volunteer to drive him to school all the time, and next thing you know, it won’t be volunteering anymore. It will be expected of me. Then, to do a nice thing, I’ll have to pick him up from school, which will also become the expectation. Next thing you know, I’ll be driving him everywhere while you’re watching Oprah  and bathing in chocolate.

She:  That doesn’t sound so bad to me.

Z:  This is why I have to keep the bar low.

She:  Which explains the first birthday gift you gave me.

Z: Pustefix bubbles  are unbelievably cool.

She:  I obviously had my new boyfriend blinders on that day, because I was completely charmed by the originality of that gift. What a fool I was attributing your cheapskate behavior to a childlike sense of fun and whimsy. I’m kind of embarrassed to admit it took me 10 years to figure that one out.

Z:  Didn’t you know? All whimsical children are cheap. It’s what makes us whimsical and childy.

She:  Your gift-giving creativity would be a little more appreciated if your sister wasn’t dripping with diamonds every time she celebrated a birthday, or an anniversary, or a major holiday, like, oh say, Groundhog Day. I know Bryant & Sons  is very grateful, but the rest of us are getting kind of testy about it.

Z:  That’s just you. Don’t you remember how excited and happy Teri was the Christmas that Julie got a Mercedes, and Teri got a used dog?

She:  Then again, I guess you could be worse, like my sister’s husband, who claims to break out in hives whenever he gets near a shopping mall. His gift-giving bar is so low he’s dug to China by now.

Z:  He is the master. I would study at his feet, but he’s somehow convinced me that he doesn’t know anything.

She: It’s a gift. He should really do seminars. Maybe that’s a business the two of you can do together. Then I can buy my own diamonds.

Z:  The most you could expect from a business like that is $5. Maybe $6, but I don’t want to get your hopes up.

She:  My husband, the business genius. How does the whole Harvard  thing work into your "lowering the bar" theory? Was that a mistake?

Z:  No. That was public service. I was lowering the bar at the institutional level. Now when people meet other Harvard grads, they don’t immediately assume that they’re particularly bright. Of course, you shouldn’t start thinking that I’ll be doing any other public services just because I did this one.

She:  No, no, wouldn’t want that. I think I’ve got a pretty good idea of where to set the bar with my loved ones.

Z:  Your parents set it incredibly low for you.

She:  Yes, they think I’m a goddess no matter what I do.

Z:  I once changed a light bulb for them, and got a Nobel Prize  in engineering. It’s on the mantel.

She:  I know. My father thinks I’m brilliant because I know how to program his VCR.

Z:  The one place I’ve failed to lower the bar is with Koss. We both feed and clothe him. The kid’s going to have outrageous expectations.

She:  That’s the problem with being an only child. The other kids I know are perfectly happy with the scraps from the backseat or the couch, and he actually expects me to make him dinner. Fresh pasta, every single night.

Z:  That’s what you get, spoiled rotten. Now he’ll never grow up to be a whimsical child.

She:  Still, he spends his entire allowance on gifts for us, so he’s generous anyway.

Z:  A clear sign that he hasn’t learned how to lower the bar. I’m going to have to sit him down and have “The Talk” real soon.

She:  Don’t you dare. He’s my only hope for diamonds.

Z:  Which kills me. I did such a good job lowering the bar with you, it’s embarrassing that I’m failing him this way. I’m guessing you never thought you’d be living in a shack, driving a Lincoln, wearing last year’s shoes, and still be unbelievably happy when I remember to take out the trash.

She:  Yes, dear.

Their bar may be low, but it’s always fully stocked. E-mail Zak and Leslie at [email protected].

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