Like most people I know, I use an answering machine (or whatever they call such devices nowadays) to screen unwanted phone calls — which, curmudgeon that I am, means practically every phone call I receive. I know solicitors and in-laws have to live too, but why can’t they live on some planet beyond frequency range, or if that’s not convenient, the South Pole, or Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea?

Anyway,  the other day I’m sitting home minding my own business and trying to think of another brilliant idea for a post for this blog, when the phone rings and it’s some dude calling on behalf of the NATIONAL WIFEL ASSOCIATION. Well, naturally I think the poor guy has a speech impediment, so out of the goodness of my compassionist heart, I pick up the phone with the intention of telling the sicko to take his rifle and shove it up his divide. But, it turns out, I’d heard right in the first place — would you believe there really is a NATIONAL WIFEL ASSOCIATION, dedicated to preserving the Constitutional right of every man to own his own wife?

Now this, of course, is a cause I can believe in, so I held my tongue and became all ears. It seems that the NWA (headquartered in Swap Wife City, UTAH) was founded many Mormons ago by the legendary Bring’emhome Young, who determined that if he could have only one wife after polygamy was banned, by God-Bless-America, that one wife would be his property — lock, stock and barricade. Furthermore, like any righteous property owner, he should be able to sell or trade his hard-earned booty whenever the opportunity to profit arises….and so he started the NATIONAL WIFEL ASSOCIATION as a my-wife’ll-listen-or-else, non-profit prophet organization, dedicated to the proposition that all men’s propositions to women are created equal. Who could object to that?

I must admit he had me there, but just as I was about to get out my credit card, pay my first year’s dues  and become an official NWA member — at the special introductory rate of $499 for acting immediately — my wife, who had picked up the other phone, comes up, kicks me in the asset and tells that prophet’s disciple where to go….all this before I could tell her that annual dues were normally $999 and I was about to save $500 off the usual price. Some women are so impulsive when it comes to not saving money — they would pay full price for the Eiffel Tower rather than wait for a sale.

Fortunately, someone from the NATIONAL WEIFFEL ASSOCIATION called the next day while my wife was out, and I was able to purchase a quarter-interest at half price. I believe he said his name was Franc N. Sence. My wife would myrrh-der me if this wasn’t legit, but not to worry. He spoke with a foreign accent and gave me a Paris address to mail my certified check, so I didn’t even have to divulge my credit card data.

C’est bien.