The Guilt Patch | Gotta Minute?!

The Guilt Patch

Writer’s Club Fiction by Mike Dykstra

As I get older, I find my attention wandering more and more. This is a good thing. Life is a lot more interesting when I misread or mishear things. A couple of months ago, my wife was telling me a story. Like many men who have been married for a million years (give or take a million or so), I was following along with a host of ‘uh-huhs’, ‘oks’ and hm-mms.’

Then she said (and I quote what I heard): ...because of a ‘broken caterpillar in my nose.’ You could almost hear the screech inside my head as I backed up.
‘How did it get there?’
‘In your nose.”
‘It’s just there.’
‘Oh…how did it break?’
‘How did what break?’
‘The caterpillar?’
‘Which caterpillar?
‘The one in your nose.’
This conversation went on a bit longer than was necessary. At the end, my wife looked at me with (I like to think) understanding and love and said, clearly and loudly: a broken CAPILLARY in my nose.
What’s more interesting: a wife with a broken caterpillar in her nose or a wife with a common, nasal complaint? The broken caterpillar conversation lasted several minutes and evoked the spirit of Laurel and Hardy. The broken capillary conversation lasted 5 seconds and evoked the spirit of a medical dictionary. And it’s not just hearing, but things I see as well. I saw a sign the other day for ‘the guilt patch.’
I said…’huh…look at that.’
My wife said: ‘oh my mom would like that.’
I replied, slightly confused: ‘yes, I suppose she might. Let’s go in and check it out.’
My wife said: ‘No, I’ll tell her about it but making quilts is her thing, not mine.’
‘Quilts…she makes quilts.’
‘Oh…I looked at the sign again. Right, the quilt patch.’
Admittedly, that makes a lot more sense but is far less interesting. There’s a pretty good chance that I will never willingly enter a ‘quilt’ store but a store selling guilt…. Just imagine how much more interesting I will be if I’m atoning for things I’ve never even imagined doing.
The Guilt Patch © 2016 - Mike Dykstra. Mike Dykstra is a member of the Medicine Hat Rhyme & Reason Writers’ Club which meets each Tuesday at 7.00pm in Room S103 at The Medicine Hat College. For more information visit them at or call Martin at 403-529-9287.