When is wife swapping okay? Only in the Piggly Wiggly

The woman slumps tiredly into the man’s office. Wrinkles line her face. Her hair, once luxuriously brunette, is now graying and coming out in patches. She either has a bad case of the mange or has been busy snatching out handfuls of hair in frustration.

“I just can’t take this anymore,” she said, her voice and hands shaking with stress.

“Mrs. DeWitt, we’ve been through this before,” the attorney said.

“I have got to do something about this marriage! That man is killing me! He’s driving me crazy!”

“For the last time, Mrs. DeWitt,” the lawyer sighed in frustration, “Under South Carolina law, you can’t use this as grounds for divorce.”

“I know, but I just can’t take that man into the Piggly Wiggly with me ever again!”

Sadly, this scene gets played out in too many Piggly Wigglys and all too many courtrooms around the South. The weekly, or bi-weekly, family trip to the grocery often turns tragic and leads to wrecked marriages, scarred childhoods, violence, bloodshed and—God forbid—Daddy being forced to sit in the car with the screaming kids while Mommy shops in peace. So with this in mind, let’s talk about wife swapping, shall we?

Now, before my fellow Southern Baptists go judging me, I was raised in the church and I don’t believe in practicing adultery or any other type of sinful fornication. But if there was ever a time to engage in wife swapping, it’s at the Piggly Wiggly on grocery day. But I’ll let you ponder that unholy solution for a moment, while we discuss the problem.

You see, even the most loving and harmonious of husband-and-wife duos suddenly develop irreconcilable differences and turn on one another like rabid coyotes  when that automatic motion detector opens the glass doors of the local grocery store. Perhaps it’s some mysterious, evil magnetic force that is activated by the grocery door sensors, taking possession of its victims like a poltergeist or some unexplained, malevolent force in a Stephen King movie. Perhaps it’s the smell of fried chicken and mac-n-cheese coming from the deli that drives the husband insane with hunger, or the fact that there are 67 different kinds of beer inside that store and they are all calling his name like an evil beacon of marital discord.

This twisted magnetic field causes Daddy to act like he has never set foot inside a grocery store in a first world, industrialized nation before, at least judging by the way he flips out and begins babbling like an idiot because Armour just came out with a new kind of hickory smoked, jalapeño Spam, and he wants to buy three cases of it before it sells out! And did you know that Miller has come out with a new kind of beer! Can we get some, honey, pretty please?

This same powerful magnetic field can also cause normally well-behaved, house-broken children to act like they were raised by wolves and hadn’t eaten anything in weeks. I once saw a small child gnaw a hole completely through a box of chocolate-flavored cereal, and I would have left that crazy kid right there in the store, too, if the wife had not been with me.

I have it on good authority that one local wife now holds a Guinness World Record for having used the phrase “We don’t need that, put it back!” 437 times in one trip to the grocery store, but I couldn’t confirm that by press time because the wife and I aren’t currently on speaking terms.

But no matter what supernatural force possesses Daddy, Momma says we are on a budget. So that means don’t you dare throw anything in the shopping buggy that isn’t on the list! And the honeymoon is over, so no, sir, you can’t ride under the bottom of the buggy with the kids!

Now, I have tried time and again to reason with this unreasonable wife of mine. Once, I even talked her into allowing me a “Three Items or Less” rule. I could put anything I wanted into the buggy, but I couldn’t go over three items. That rule worked for about a week or two, but I had to go and ruin it last week when I threw into the buggy half of a barbeque hog, a 24-can case of Budweiser and that pretty little checkout girl, so no I’m back to square one and sitting in the car with the stupid, screaming kids.  

But I am making the most of my time while I sit here with these brats, waiting on Momma, hoping she gets me a surprise from the store—like maybe a candy bar!—and I am writing a letter to both the Piggly Wiggly store manager and my state Congressman. Because there should be a store policy—no, this should be state law!—that wife swapping be allowed in the Piggly Wiggly! Can I get an amen, brothers!

Here is how it would work: every wife puts her name in a drawing, to be selected at random, and every husband should be assigned a different wife to shop with the moment he enters the store. Because I firmly believe that a strange woman will be less likely to pop your hand at the candy rack, or call you a big cry baby on the beer aisle, or start causing you to act like a lunatic in the middle of the cookie aisle, screaming: “Look, I am a grown man, I am not a child, so give me those animal crackers now! Or I’ll hold my breath and I swear I won’t cut the grass or take out the trash for a week!”

Even as I sit here, pouting, starving to death because it feels like the kids and I haven’t eaten in weeks, I’ll bet she is putting everything I worked hard to slip into the buggy right back on the shelves. I’ll bet she is buying nothing but healthy foods. I’ll even bet that she is buying only store-brand items and no expensive cereals that I see advertised on TV! What a lousy wife and mother!

I wonder if I text Mommy enough, will she get me that Spam and beer, or will she just turn off her phone and throw it in the PIggly Wiggly trash can like last time? Oh, well, only one way to find out…