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The voice of reason (my wife) keeps things on an even keel


Richard Shaw


This past weekend I was watching the news show “Sunday Morning” on CBS, and featured on the program was an interview and a background story on Ray Romano. Most people know who he is from his long-running television show, “Everyone Loves Raymond,” but many don’t realize that his real talent lays in his ability to do stand-up comedy. It is where he began in show business.
For stand-up comedy he uses the influence of family events and personalities to develop his routines. His family must be understanding, and his wife, who he pokes fun at a lot, usually doesn’t say much about what he uses in his sketches. When she does however, he said he tells her, “Then just go cry in a bag of money” because of the high amount of cash he makes from his stand-up work.
In every ones life there is someone or a group of people that influence them, and often it is family. You see it in all walks of life. It used to be said that every good man has a good woman behind him. That may sound a little outdated these days, but the meaning of it is true nonetheless. No one becomes successful in a vacuum and often the strongest support of our lives is not the career we have, the amount of schooling we have attained or how smart we are, but instead it is our families.
Romano mentioned that his wife is the voice of reason in their relationship. In his business, it is easy to become very full of yourself. He said that recently he was reading a critics review of a new movie he has just completed and the critic said, “Romano is stunning.” He read it to his wife and she said, “Are you sure he didn’t say Romano is stupid?”
I rely on my “voice of reason” very often in my writing. Any of you who follow this column regularly know that I sometimes tell stories about things that go on in my life and my wife is often a part of those stories. In life I am pretty much a bumbling fool who does stupid things, acts like an eight year old and then tries to cover up what I have done. As you will recall my wife often calls me on it and straightens me out. She sometimes complains about the fact that I make her look like a shrew when I write about her, but I disagree. I think she always looks like the smart one, the one who sees through things, the one who has the wisdom. That’s because she is that person. When she complains, however, I cannot tell her to go cry in a bag of money, because the only bag of money I have is the paper one that resides in our closet since the Monopoly game’s box fell apart.
Over the years I have written about various home repairs, using the dishwasher, sorting out laundry, dealing with children and grandchildren, my eating habits and many other personal things that I have had difficulty with. In the end, those columns seldom finish with me being the winner. The thing is, she often tells me I am wrong about something and she ends up being right. Not only does she end up being right, she proves it at the same time.
I seldom get comments on columns I write about serious subjects, but when I write about my life, and my wife’s part in it, people will come up to me and say “That was great. Your wife is right.” Sometimes when people talk to me about a column, it was written so long ago that I really need to think about which one they are talking about. They remember it better than I do.
Over the past 17 years, as I have written this column almost weekly, my inspiration has come from a lot of places. But none are as good a source as my family (and I count my animals in on that). But the tone, the tenor and the thing that makes those stories make sense is my wife. She often rescues me from what could be bad situations, that instead turn out to be funny. Without her, it just wouldn’t be the same.
Thanks Ray for your words that made me think about this. Thanks too, to the woman that keeps me on the straight and narrow.

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