The Misadventures of Mrs. Fishbaum

"Cleanliness may be next to godliness," Mrs. Fishbaum mused aloud to her captive audience of one (Sue the Shih Tzu), "but you can’t spell ‘sanitary’ without ‘Satan.’"

Halloween shopping

“I wasn’t stealing your crappy lipstick!” cried Mrs. Fishbaum, her expression a perfect illustration of righteous indignation. “I was just testing it.”

The lipstick in question was called “Siren.” It was unclear whether that was a reference to its powers of attraction, or to the fact that it was an alarming shade of orange, a truly shrieking tone, likely to cause widespread panic.

Actually, strike that. It was in no way unclear.

“Anyway, I don’t want it.” Mrs. Fishbaum dangled the opened lipstick from two fingers. “It isn’t crappy enough by half!”

“Oh sweet Lord!” Mrs. Fishbaum nearly spilled her morning coffee at the spectacle of her husband sitting completely naked on the couch.

“Yes, yes,” Mr. Fishbaum sighed, “Such a scandal, a man sitting naked in his own living room. I mean, what would the neighbors think if they saw me like this?!”

“They would think, Frank,” Mrs. Fishbaum replied, setting the coffee on its namesake table with a clanking sound intended to convey a lack of amusement, “That I married you for money.”

"Sent from my iPad 7"

Mrs. Fishbaum had long since figured out that by simply typing “Sent from my iPad 2” at the bottom of her emails, she could fool her fancier friends into believing she was a tech-savvy hipster with disposable income. But when she got a message from Mrs. Montgomery with the tagline “Sent from my iPad 3,” she was mortified, and immediately upgraded herself.

Gloria, having caught wind of this little scheme, did the only sensible thing: she sent Mrs. Fishbaum an email with the tagline “Sent from my iPad 4.” 


And then, of course, there was the time Mrs. Fishbaum got so spectacularly smashed she thought a “martinarita” was a good idea. She poured her martini, olives and all, into the blender, and then insisted everyone at the party take a sip. It was unanimously decided that it wouldn’t have been half bad had she remembered to remove the toothpick first.

Some days the sheer idiocy of the world was too much for Mrs. Fishbaum, and she would stay in all day, ensconced in a protective layer of Things That Make Sense: bedclothes, bubble baths, romance novels, chocolate. These days she called “Friday.”

Now if only she could get her husband to stop letting Gloria in…

Retirement Planning

"Sometimes," sighed Mrs. Fishbaum, fiddling with a nail-polish stained cotton ball between her toes, "I wish Frank would cheat on me."

"So you can divorce his ass and keep the house?" Supplied Louise, with far too much enthusiasm.

"This piece of crap? No, Louise. Because of Viagra. Who can keep up?"

"I’m so sorry, Gloria, but I’ve got a stomach ache and I won’t be coming to your garden party."

There was a moment of chilly silence. Then: “The party is next week.”

Mrs. Fishbaum made a failed attempt at not smirking. “Did I say those two things were related?”


There were days when Mrs. Fishbaum was utterly convinced that her life was, in actual point of fact, a series of farcical vignettes, strung together without much rhyme or reason by a bored and benignly sadistic playwright somewhere. Today, however, was not one of those days.


Mr. Fishbaum considered for a brief moment the option of attempting to talk his wife out of this, her most recent ridiculous notion. But having long since retired from that occupation on the advice of his doctor, he bobbed his head in a well-rehearsed cadence and forced his mouth to pronounce the words “Great color for a bathroom, pink.”

Mrs. Fishbaum handed him the can of paint triumphantly.

"Soothing," he went on, "Like Pepto Bismol for the eyes."

"Enough, Frank," Mrs. Fishbaum frowned.

And, with a small and private smile, Frank silently agreed that it was enough. It was just exactly enough.