Opinion Columns & Blogs

When a man chooses jail over marriage

As far as I’m concerned, the funniest (saddest?) story of the week featured Lawrence Ripple, age 70, of Kansas City, who, according to various news reports, walked into a bank with a note that read, ‘I have a gun, give me money,’ and after receiving the cash, calmly waited for police. When they arrived, he plainly stated, “I’m the guy you’re looking for.”

It should also be noted that he chose the bank because it was on the same block as police headquarters.

And he did the above because he was so miserable in his marriage, he wanted to go to jail, instead. I’m thinking that, as he scribbled out the hold-up note in front of his wife, as reported, he was considering that three squares a day, shelter and cable TV, which, really, is at the top of pretty much any guy’s list, was far more preferable than spending another day with what most of us could only imagine, after we stopped laughing, was a wife who must be a cross between Nosferatu and Chatterer from Hellraiser. (By the way, I find it most disturbing that Chatterer clearly has a better dental plan than me)

What a shrill she must be, what a venomous, bloated Gila Monster, to be so relentlessly bullying, so unfeeling, and irrational (probably with poor hygiene), that her husband chose to escape from the marriage by committing a crime that assures he’ll die in prison. And then I researched a bit further.

Turns out she had reminded him the clothes dryer needed repairing. You know, that thing that goes around and uses heat to dry your clothes? The appliance that, when not working properly, is a leading cause for house fires? It was probably her tenth request, with a week’s worth of laundry still wet on the line, or frozen, in Kansas City, perhaps her twentieth, that sent him over the edge.

All of a sudden, I have a visual image of every woman who reads this column nodding sympathetically with Mrs. Ripple, and thinking, “I’ve asked my husband every day this week to please ‘insert phrase, here.’ And while I can count on Paul to be very helpful around the farm, I will say that, if it were up to him, bed sheets need not be changed until the bacteria festering within mutates into an organism that is capable of sliding the sheet off the bed and walking itself to the laundry hamper. Same with towels. Call me a maverick, but I stand firm in my belief that mushrooms should not be discovered within the folds of my Martha Stewart collection.

And the thing is, if Lawrence thinks his life is going to be easier for the next twenty years, he hasn’t researched prison properly. I googled, ‘typical day in prison’ (it’s a good thing to know, anyway, in case you’re planning to get liquored up during spring break and head to Myrtle Beach), and breakfast is served at 4:30a.m. That’s right, Lawrence, no sleeping in for you, cowboy, as your first work chore is assigned less than two hours later, at 6. And what might that chore be? Picking up trash along the freeway, scrubbing the toilets and, Mrs. Ripple, I saved the last one just for you....

Doing laundry.

Reach PAM STONE at pammstone@gmail.com.

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