Spice of Life


How wise I am to have instructed the butler to instruct the

first footman to instruct the second footman to instruct

the doorman to order my carriage;

I am about to volunteer a definition of marriage.

Just as I know that there are two Hagens, Walter and Copen,

I know that marriage is a legal and religious alliance entered

into by a man who can't sleep with the window shut and

a woman who can't sleep with the window open.

Moreover just as I am unsure of the difference between flora

and fauna and flotsam and jetsam

I am quite sure that marriage is the alliance of two people one

of whom never remembers birthdays and the other never


And he refuses to believe there is a leak in the water pipe or

the gas pipe and she is convinced she is about to asphyxiate

or drown,

And she says Quick get up and get my hairbrushes off the

window sill, it's raining in, and he replies Oh they're all

right, it's only raining straight down.

That is why marriage is so much more interesting than divorce,

Because it's the only known example of the happy meeting of

the immovable object and the irresistible force.

So I hope husbands and wives will continue to debate and

combat over everything debatable and combatable,

Because I believe a little incompatibility is the spice of life,

particularly if he has income and she is pattable.

Ogden Nash

Copyright © 1948 by Ogden Nash, renewed 1975. Reprinted by permission of Curtis Brown, Ltd.