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12/31/01 Went the Neighborhood
12/01/01 This Magic Moment
11/14/01 Brain Gap Day
10/28/01 B-I-N-G-O
09/28/01 Me and the Girls
09/16/01 The Local DJ
08/12/01 Out of the Closet
07/28/01 The Bomb


It all started one day when my wife was inspecting herself with a heavy brow in the bathroom mirror.

Passing by en route to nowhere special, I said, "No one looks good from two inches away."

Pretty clever, huh?

She looked at me as she might a dog leaving the cathouse. I wanted to apologize but checked myself. Obviously, words weren't working for me. I didn't know that she had been gazing into a carnival mirror filled with oozing blemishes and mustaches that grow before your eyes.

Like a woman from her deathbed, she said, "Who mentioned anything about looking good?"

Voiceover: Enter Jason Love, an unsuspecting male who didn't check his calendar, for if he had, he'd understand that he just stepped into ... his wife's period.

Now, my wife's monthly call has never been trying. She gets grumpy for a few days and says some things that she had been meaning to say the rest of the month, but her period is largely uneventful. It's more of a comma, really. I, for one, appreciate her stability and am delighted to wake to her smile.

Okay, all schmoozing aside, let me tell you that lately this woman has begun to answer to a force greater than logic. She is standing at the gate of some hormonal unreality that I must befriend as I would an evil stepson. The 4-day period has given way to longer, more bizarre periods that sometimes run into each other. Ellipses?

Following the bathroom mirror incident, I found my wife crying in the den.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"It's just so sad."

"What, honey?"

She waved with her Kleenex at the television, where I saw an informercial on balding. I turned back slowly to see if she was kidding. She was not.

Voiceover: Our friend didn't know how he stepped into this world or, more important, how to step out. All he could do was step carefully.

That night, my darling was reading a novel. Good. Very safe. Very ... distant. Little Women. Hmm. Never read that one. Hope it's about smiling.

I pulled out my own book -- Sanity for Dummies -- and sank into the sofa. At which point I heard ripping. I turned to find my wife wrenching pages from her book. She smiled as if she were kidding, but the fact remained. She started to cry. Or laugh. I couldn't tell which.

"Honey?" I said.

"I don't LIKE Amy. I wish she'd just DIE. I want Laurie and Jo to be happy together. I'm ripping out all the pages so the book ends that way..."

Voiceover: Jason looked at the woman, looked at the scraps of paper on the floor, then looked squarely into the void that used to be his sense of reason.

"I'm sorry, honey. If it makes you feel better, it's not a true story."

Bad move. Her eyes opened wide. She stared either at me or at some unsightly stain on the wall behind me. I knew I should have just nodded. So it goes.

I put my arm around the poor girl, but she was devastated by the outcome of this story. I patted her back and empathized. If the guys had seen me, they'd kick me out of The Man Club. My wife struggled to reject my embrace even as I held tighter, and she made hmph noises to question the sincerity of my efforts. I hung in there.

Eventually, she stopped crying. I had reached her. She sniffled and told me how kind I was. She giggled at a memory. I felt like a captain steering his barge away from the edge of the world. She said that I have a pretty smile and that sometimes she gets lost in my eyes. I snuggled into the thought. This time, however, I was supposed to respond.

"Don't you think I look good?" she said.

I'm a wreck, I tell you. I just can't take it anymore. I've got intestinal problems. I can't sleep. I'm on the toilet at 3 a.m. with insomnarrhea.

And I'm here to dispel a myth: women are not the only ones who suffer from PMS. A man rides the same roller coaster every inch of the way, only without cramps. I mark my own calendar with four red X's every month, and although I just made it through this month, I already fear the next. In a sense, I suffer from perpetual menstrual syndrome.

Voiceover: And so it goes for our weary soldier, who finally realizes that he, too, is prey to PMS but who, if he's smart, won't mention it again any time soon.


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