As it was I wasn’t having the best day ever. My mother called to inform me that the director of my son’s school, where my mother also works, wants to talk to me about my child’s future and how to help him adjust. She mentioned some “free services” that may be helpful. I’ve been in the early childhood education business for the last three years and I’ll tell you right now that I do not look forward to a meeting about my kid’s inability to adjust. Or free services. Not fun at all.

Then the wife insisted on dragging me to the mall. Lately I’ve been declining such trips, instead trying to spend my fee time writing, but I had an agenda of my own (I needed a new desk chair) so I went.

After checking the first store for my chair and only finding bad service and no chair, we went to the main indoor mall for lunch. Looking for parking was quick, though it did highlight the fact that the mall was packed and people had opted for lighter jackets if only for a day. It was 60 degrees in NYC yesterday, which mean that those with cabin fever were taking advantage of the day, well, kind of. My wife pointed out that the beauty of the day outside seemed to correlate with a rush to go inside the mall.

We walked in through the Macy’s entrance because it was closest to the car, and after taking about two steps a t-shirt clad twenty-something took my wife by the elbow and started to lay his mack down. I was a few feet behind my lady holding Devin’s hand, when I felt my lip curl. The Mack’s friend watched on smiling, my wife said nothing, though I did.

“Don’t touch my wife, man.”

In hindsight it was a lame line, but it felt manly as hell at the time, deep and authoritative. When I realized I may have to argue or fight after my instinct to stand up to the disrespectful young men had already put me out there, I braced for what might come next. What I got surprised, and relieved me.

“Oh, my bad man,” the Mack said with a guilty/embarassed grin.

That was it. More fierce words have slipped out of my mouth in the past while I played the role of alpha male in defense of my wife. I was glad that my corny one liner was not the one to finally do me in (though I fight like a rabid squirrel and could have taken those guys). I blame it on cabin fever which takes over the hormones of men during the winter months, and the fact that my wife is hot. 5′ 9″, brown and fine. And, of course, that I’m an idiot.

Devin, in typical kid fashion, didn’t even bat an eyelash at the exchange. His focus was on chicken nuggets, and all he knew was that those guys didn’t have any.