I was searching for the box of crackers in the kitchen pantry. Once again, though, they were apparently hidden behind the weapons of mass destruction.

That’s the phrase my wife uses when I can’t find something that’s right there, right in front of my nose, screaming out my name, grabbing me by the wrist, wondering if I’d like to refinance at a historically low rate. It’s when something is so obvious, so visible, absolutely anybody could find it — except, of course, a man.

The phrase derives from the time when a group of inspectors were sent to Iraq, to find weapons of mass destruction and couldn’t find them, although they were supposed to be nine stories high, highly radioactive, and were listed in the phone book.

Nor could the group of inspectors find the crackers in the pantry or where they had left their eyeglasses.

They should have sent women instead, my wife said.

Men can only see what’s directly in front of them, she argues. Men can’t see the mayonnaise when it’s behind the ketchup. We can’t see the laundry detergent when it’s on a shelf where it wasn’t the last time we saw it, which was in November of 2006. We can’t see the forest when it’s blocked out by all those trees that have gotten in the way.

Women, on the other hand, she continues, know how to scan, to explore, to look behind the orange juice — even if it’s a large carton with lots of pulp and extra calcium — for the jar of pickles. They understand the arcane concept of checking the shelf above the yogurt for the cream cheese, even if it’s usually on the shelf below the yogurt.

It seems to me, though, that there is no good reason to put yogurt on the wrong shelf in the refrigerator when I’ve been looking for it since Thursday on the top shelf of the bathroom medicine cabinet.

If the pickles have always been in front of the orange juice, if the Supreme Court has conclusively found, in Dill v. Pulp, that they are legally required to be in front of the orange juice, then who gave them the right to move behind the orange juice? Don’t they need official approval, with the yellow receipt for the customer — from me?

Men look for things where we rightfully expect them to be, where they should be. It is definitely not our fault that stuff has gotten moved, and no one, except maybe my wife, several times, over a period of a number of years, has told me about it or sent me several emails about it.

Frankly, I find my wife’s argument an offensive, sexist rant or would, in fact, if I could find it. Unfortunately, I’ve looked all over for the rant and it’s not there on the shelf next to the tartar sauce where it’s supposed to be.

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