I'm still recovering from the surprise of Mrs. Banks' decision to not allow me to install a new bar in our den. I’m not sure what she can be thinking. We just put a new, oversized flat-screen television in there, after all; adding a bar to go with it strikes me as being as obvious as matching tonic with gin. And also practical! Our main bar is at the far other end of the house. You would think that Mrs. Banks—who’s usually a regular Florence Nightingale when it comes to such things—would at least take into account the state of my knees.
But instead, I got a flat no. Part of the problem, I suspect, is wives’ natural instinct to veto even the most sensible interior-decorating suggestions their husbands come up with. I can’t say as I can always blame them. In our house, I haven’t had much of a say in these things ever since the time, years ago, I called up L.L. Bean late one night and ordered one of those campfire rockers—the ones with the built-in cupholders—for our living room. (I’d just finished watching Dances With Wolves on television and was feeling outdoorsy.) When the chair arrived, it didn’t get any farther than the garage. And ever since, my wife doesn’t even bother to ask what I think of new bath towels.
But a bar to go with the new TV! I'm a little surprised it was left to me to even come up with an idea that’s so obvious. "It doesn't have to be anything fancy," I told Mrs. B. "Just something big enough to hold an ice bucket for beer, a couple of decanters for bourbon and gin, and a mixing glass, with a shelf below for some glasses, and a couple of drawers to hold the corkscrews, bottle openers, strainer, and cocktail napkins. And maybe another shelf for mixers." What could be more minimalist? I’m certainly willing to compromise. It’s not as if, I pointed out to her, I’m asking for another kegerator, although there’s plenty of room for one. I was also going to suggest we get one of those old-time saloon mirrors to hang above, but she walked out of the room so quickly I didn’t have a chance to mention it.
I’ll keep up the lobbying, but am not optimistic. There’s only a few weeks left of this football season, so the main price I’ll be paying will be inconvenience. But when football season rolls around next year, I fear that by Week 7 you’ll find me, on any given Sunday, limping badly from one end of the house to the other.