By Adam Drake
My wife has one of those jobs that requires her to travel around the world for weeks at a time while leaving me to my own Risky Business devices. As soon as the suitcase is out the door and the lock clicks, I become a painter of rampant irresponsibility, using our apartment as my canvas. Alcohol and drugs are consumed in mass quantities, women of ill repute are invited over, and we take turns shooting paintballs at my neighbors off our balcony. All the while, death metal explodes from every speaker in the house.
Except that none of that happens. Ever. And, quite frankly, I wouldn’t want any of that to happen. (I must be growing up, right?) Today, we’re looking at the lives of men when their significant others are away.
While my house doesn’t become a den of debauchery when my wife is away, it is true that she travels often and for long periods of time. And while it would be fantastic to claim some secondary life that unfolds, I find myself simply doing more of everything. I go to bed later, I work later, I sleep in, and I watch more loud movies that involve giant robots fighting each other. My diet changes to food that can be consumed quickly and with little preparation involved. My vegetable consumption drops, my alcohol intake increases, and I’ve been known to polish off a pint of ice cream in one sitting.
Once you enter into the kingdom of coupledom, you find all your friends become couples as well. And while my wife is away, it gives my friends an excuse to ditch their significant others and have more “guy’s nights.” We’ll head to bars to watch football, chase each other around go-kart tracks (with or without actual go-karts depending on the amount of alcohol consumed), play cards, or go the nerd route and hook up several video game consoles and televisions in one room and play multiplayer video games.
Sadly, that’s it from my end of things. No sordid details. No inner-circle revelations. No world-changing insights. But I didn’t stop with my domestic life. I asked around, my friends, and I got some amazing stories:
The Lucky Shot
I am lucky enough to have first-hand knowledge of this one. My friend found himself in possession of a high-powered pellet rifle. Imagine a much more dangerous BB gun or a less dangerous hunting rifle, and you’ve got a close approximation of what this thing is capable of. The problem is, my friend didn’t. When his wife left for the weekend, he called me over to “I don’t know, shoot some stuff and see what happens.” I couldn’t get over there quick enough. He’d just purchased a house in the suburbs and had yet to introduce himself to his neighbors, so we figured a good way to put out the welcome mat was to fire off a gun in his backyard. We leaned a sheet of metal up against his fence in the side yard and shot off a few rounds. Each plink made us giddy, until we pulled the trigger and didn’t hear a plink.
An errant shot.
The pellet actually went through his fence. His wife would be pissed as the fence now had a hole blown through it. We scoured the area behind the fence looking for the pellet, but couldn’t find it. Using the knowledge we gained from countless episodes of C.S.I., we lined up the rifle and the hole in the fence and peered through. And that’s when we saw it.
Lower end air rifles can shoot a pellet 250 feet per second. That’s two times faster than people fall when skydiving. Higher end guns like the one we were using can shoot a pellet 1450 feet per second. Our errant shot passed through the fence, flew over his front lawn, crossed the road, passed over his neighbor’s yard, went through his neighbor’s bushes, and landed solidly into the siding of his neighbor’s house.
We quickly put the gun away, fixed the hole in the fence, and decided we’d never tell his wife … or his neighbor.
The Home Improvement
This next story solidifies what the first story proven: men do stupid things without their significant others around. Unlike the first story, my friend didn’t bother to cover it up … nor could he.
Let’s say there’s a tree stump in your backyard. It’s unsightly, it’s useless, and it’s driving your wife mad. She keeps insisting you call a landscaping service to have it removed. When she leaves on a business trip, you figure you can remove it yourself … at least, that’s what a friend of mine thought.
With two axes, beer, and a lot of determination, he sets out to remove the stump once and for all. After a few hours, he’s made little headway, so he calls his friend over for help.
Taking a step back here, these are two guys who’ve probably never performed physical labor before, let alone held an axe. They’re swinging away until one of them misses the tree stump. Instead of burying into the knotted wood of a dead tree, the axe head slammed into the very much alive flesh of my friend’s leg. After a moment of stunned silence, the friend wrenches the axe from the other’s leg, creating a massive torrent of blood that quickly fills his shoe. The one without the axe wound runs to the house and grabs a Band-Aid.
One. Single. Band-Aid.
“Are you [blank]ing kidding me? A Band-Aid? You stuck an axe into my leg and you bring me a Band-Aid? Go to the [blank]ing house and get me a [blank]ing towel you stupid [blank]!” Returning with what was described to me as “the good towels from the guest bathroom” the friend wraps his buddy’s leg repeatedly but the blood saturates each and every towel. They make the (finally) smart decision to head to the hospital.
Many stitches, tetanus shots, and angry looks later, and my friend leaves the hospital. On his way back home, he calls the local landscaping service to have the stump removed, followed by a call to his wife explaining all that had transpired. His friend returned the next day with new towels.
Perhaps the key here is that our significant others keep us in check. They act as a voice of common sense. And while fun times are often had while they’re away, our morals, our neighbors, and our legs are much better when they’re around.
Adam Drake is Creative Director for the Sweat Life, a former four-year varsity rower for the University of Miami, and currently rows for the Maritime Rowing Club. He is the co-founder of Kayak for a Cause, a charity event based in Connecticut. As a writer, Adam has developed television shows for Comedy Central, Bad Boy Worldwide, and Sky, written ad campaigns for clients such as Bacardi, Starbucks, Dove Men+Care, and HBO, and was a contributor to the pop culture site YesButNoButYes. In his spare time, he enjoys skiing, boating, and working on his tremendous collection of unfinished novels.