Lebanon Reporter

July 18, 2012

James Arness is not in Tokyo

By Ginger Truitt
Reporter columnist

— Hubby arrived home on Friday evening from a three week business trip to Tokyo. I had been unable to join him, but we did give the option to our three teenage children. They all chose to forego the trip, citing fear of radioactive fallout as their number one concern. By some reports, there is increasing radiation resulting from the nuclear meltdown during last year’s tragic earthquake and tsunami.

However, hubby the fearless HVAC guy forged ahead. I tried to convince him to at least pack his own food, but he chose to live on the edge.

He even ate sushi.

From a vending machine.

In a country showing high levels of radiation in the water.

In my opinion, this is more risky than eating hot dogs from a gas station; something he consistently refuses to do. He won’t eat Spam, or baloney sandwiches, or fish sticks. He gets irritated if I serve beanie-weenies, Hamburger Helper, or tuna casserole.

But he ate raw fish.

From a vending machine.

In Japan.

My theory is that as soon as the plane reached Japanese airspace, radiation started affecting his brain. He did other weird things while he was there too. For example, he visited a cemetery. This is a man who studiously avoids anything that reminds him of death. I take our children to cemeteries pretty regularly. We look for dead ancestors, take pictures of unusual tombstones, and if we’re lucky, observe a vault being installed into a freshly dug grave. Hubby won’t have a thing to do with it. The kids and I were on our third visit to the beautiful Berlin cemetery where the Grimm Brothers are laid to rest before he finally agreed to join us.

Suffice it to say, I found it odd when his excited voice came across the phone line, “Today, I saw where six Shoguns are buried!” 

I was surprised on a couple of levels. “ Really? Why are they buried in Japan?” 

“ Why wouldn’t they be buried in Japan?” 

“ I don’t know, I mean, were they in a plane crash there or something?” 

Let me note, I feel as though any miscommunications that occur at 4 p.m. Tokyo time should not be held against me as it is only 3 a.m. Indiana time.

In a bewildered voice he asked, “ What on earth are you talking about?!” 

In an equally bewildered and somewhat exasperated voice I responded, “ Why are there six cast members from the show Gunsmoke buried in Japan?!” 

He lovingly responded, “ Are you stupid, or are you trying to be funny?” 

In an equally loving tone I replied, “ Apparently, I’m STUPID because I don’t know what the heck you’re talking about!” 

“ I’m definitely not talking about the television show Gunsmoke!”  His voice dripped with condescension. “ I’ve never met anybody that doesn’t know what a Shogun is.” 

“ Well, allow me to introduce myself. I’m the idiot that married you 20 years ago, and I’ve never once heard you mention a Shogun.” 

As it turns out, Shoguns were military dictators in Japan between 1192 and 1867. This is apparently common knowledge amongst American children who take karate. I took ballet. I doubt hubby even knows the meaning of the word pirouette.

Also, due to his childhood karate days, he can count in Japanese.

And not just to 10, like in Spanish or German. I had no idea he possessed this talent, until he got home, and I asked if he’d picked up any Japanese words.

“ Ichi, Ni, San, Shi, Go, Roku, Shichi, Hachi, Ku, Ju …”  he continued until I made him stop. And then I made him do it again because it was kind of a turn-on.

When I picked him up at the airport, I was relieved that he wasn’t glowing. The kids asked him to shower before they hugged him, just in case. He appears to be relatively normal, but I’m keeping a close eye on him. Although, it wouldn’t hurt my feelings at all if I found him sitting in a cemetery, noshing on tuna casserole. 

Truitt is an author, speaker, and mother of five. Email her at ginger@gingertruitt.com or visit http://www.gingertruitt.com.