Primo: My dad is ticked off at you. And at Ted'sWife for eating all the pickled herring.
Me: What else is new?
Primo: He always trots out the laundry list of criticisms from the past.
Me: Your dad needs a hobby. Honestly.
Primo: He has one. He criticizes people.
Me: He is good at it.
Primo: I used to be good at breaking out the laundry list. I learned to stop that, at least for the most part.
Me: You were?
Primo: When I was married to ex-wife.
Me: So that bad marriage was not all her fault.
Primo: It wasn’t always bad. She was a lot of fun. But yeah – I learned how to fight from my parents and one of the things I learned was how to bring up all the bad things from the past. ex-wife hated it.
Me: I don’t blame her.
Primo: I had to learn not to do it. It was hard.
Me: Looks like your dad has never bothered to try.
Primo: Well, he is already perfect. Why should he change?
Me: He better hope that his sister is still alive after your mom dies because she is going to be the only person who will put up with him. I will not have him in my house or in my life. Although if you decide that you will take your dad in after your mom is gone, you and I can talk about breaking up right now. Because I won’t marry you if one of them will be living with us.
Primo: Don’t worry. That is not going to happen.
Me: Good. I like you and want to spend the rest of my life with you. But not with your mom and dad.
Me: Why are they complaining to you about what Ted'sWife did? She’s not your girlfriend!
Primo: I know.
Me: Do they ever complain about ex-wife?
Primo: They didn’t spend enough time with her to dislike specific things. You have spent more time with them than ex-wife ever did. You write them letters – she did not.
Me: Ex-wife is a very wise woman.
Primo: Yeah, she figured my mom and dad out pretty quickly and decided not even to go there. I mean, they didn’t like her, but all they had against her was that I was marrying her.
Me: And hence taking you away from them.
Primo: Yes. But they don’t have specific grievances, like eating the herring, that they can refer to.
Me: How did Ted'sWife even come up?
Primo: It’s the general Airing of the Grievances.
Me: Ah. I see.
Primo: And you ate all of something. They can never remember what it is, but you ate all of it and you should have known – even though they didn’t tell you – that you should not have eaten all of it. They also got in some complaints about Stephanie – that she does not feed the kids properly.
Me: Did they complain about how Jack, their father, feeds them?
Primo: Nope. Just Stephanie. Because she gives them white—
Primo: Yes. White rice instead of brown rice and she does not know how to make broccoli.
Me: What would they talk about if they couldn’t complain about their daughters in law and about me?
Primo: I don’t know.