The other day, while drinking a third cup of coffee and avoiding all the things I should have been doing, I hit the jackpot.
The newspaper jackpot, that is, which means that I found, buried deep in a section usually reserved for house training puppies, a true and unusual story about murder, marriage and mugs.
In case you missed the article, featured at the bottom of page a zillion in the back of section Z, the reporting went something like this. A 70-year-old woman, who had a long and impressive career as a tennis referee and was in NYC preparing to work in that capacity at the US Open, was arrested for allegedly murdering her husband of nearly 50 years with a coffee cup.
The accompanying photo featured an attractive looking septuagenarian wearing a sporty navy warm up suit replete with the US Open logo and a 15-foot tall embroidered Ralph Lauren Polo logo. What is up with that giant logo? Would somebody please tell Ralph it looks ridiculous?
Where was I? Taking another sip of caffeine, I remembered. I was intrigued by the purported bludgeoning weapon of choice: the coffee cup.
I looked at the mug in my hand and thought of my husband upstairs. Not to get all Fyodor Dostoyevsky about this, but who doesn’t like thinking about crime and punishment before 8 a.m.?
In quick succession, several things crossed my mind. Who chooses to be a tennis referee? Standing and staring at the base line, or the service line, or any of those lines … who wants to do that? And if you’re lucky enough to get the seated job, up there on the umpire’s stand, then you still have to hide the fact that you’re rooting for Nadal over Federer or that you think Serena’s earrings are so heavy that it can’t be a good idea to play a competitive sport while wearing them.
And then, of course, I wondered what would drive a woman to murder her husband with any of her dishes. Careful readers will note that I did not question or even care about her motives. This woman had been married nearly 50 years, which means that even something as seemingly innocuous as loading the dishwasher improperly can be considered antagonistic. Throw in the way he drives, his inability to put his clothes in the hamper, and his tendency to talk with his mouth full and I think you’d find a jury of female peers might acquit regardless of the crime. I write this without even knowing the guy. I’m taking her side.
As someone who loves her dishes, however, I cannot fathom the thinking behind her weapon of choice. Ask anyone who’s ever eaten at my house: dishes are sacred. I’m not saying that I got married in order to select wedding china. But finding the right pattern was more difficult than finding the right guy. The good news is that while I happily selected one groom, I more than happily selected multiple patterns. When it comes to marrying myself to fine china, I happen to subscribe to the outdated Mormon dictate regarding wives: the more, the merrier. I bet that’s not such a good thing to say these days.
And in truth, it’s not such a good thing to bludgeon a husband to death, regardless of the sanctity of the ceramics and porcelain in the household.
But as the caffeine from that third cup of coffee coursed through my veins, I did give the situation one final thought. Whatever the poor, deceased guy did, it probably didn’t merit his end. This tennis ref? She’s innocent until proven guilty, but it sure seems like she’s at fault. And the fact that she allegedly broke some of her china to do the deed? I find fault with that.
I’m no tennis referee, but the whole thing does read like a pretty damning double fault.
Bazinga! And that’s why I like to read the newspaper in the morning!