I recently went walking with my wife. Mary Ellen had gotten a hundred feet ahead of me because I had to stop at one point…to catch my breath. She encouraged me to hurry, and when I put my stride into another gear (from neutral to first) I tripped on some rocks and plummeted to the ground. Plummet is usually reserved for bus accidents, but this was clearly a plummet.
One result of my fall was a black eye. I didn’t mind how disfigured I looked but I was dreading the endless jokes from friends about why Mary Ellen slugged me. There is nothing funny about spousal abuse, and Mary Ellen is not the type to resort to fisticuffs. She has a number of subtle means to show her disapproval. How subtle? One time, she was so angry with me I didn’t even know it.