I tend to bandy the word love around in ways that I probably shouldn't. I love a lot more inanimate objects than a married man probably should.
I love my Xbox, I love my black and gray tie, I love my measuring tape. I love a lot of things that while incapable of loving me back, understand me better than my wife or my parents could ever hope to.
Despite all this, I don't want to diminish my new found love, which is deeper, truer and less superficial than my love for my microwave.
I love my new coat. I keeps me warm when I'm walking to work, and it has a hood that I can pull way down over my eyes and pretend I'm a super sneaky assassin guy.
This isn't the first time I've loved an outer garment though. When I was a missionary, I had a coat that served three purposes and filled them extremely well.
The first was that it kept we dry during the near constant rain that pisses down on the people of Sydney every winter.
Second it was a long, black trench coat that hung down to my shins. When I wore it, especially in really windy subway stations, I felt like Neo from the Matrix (probably because it was actually the same station).
If a coat like that can make Keanu Reaves a tough guy, just imagine what it would do for me.
Finally, the third reason, and this is the most important, was that it let me scratch my nuts in peace.
As all return missionaries out there know with great certainty, wearing slacks for two years straight has several effects on the human body. It makes you really really like jeans, it gives your legs a shade of white not found anywhere else in nature and it gives you the Rot.
The Rot is a situation where the most sensitive of your skin gets sick on only hearing about fresh air in various skin magazines and revolts like a poverty stricken, 17 century nation. I don't know all the biology behind the rot but I know that it is described in certain medical texts as “itchy as a Mo-Fo.”
My coat had holes in the pockets, which I can only assume were but there for the sole purpose of giving the wearer easy access to his junk because thats all I used it for.
Because of the loose cut of my coat, any and all scratching motion was completely unnoticeable by the outside world. I know this because I spent hours in front of a mirror making sure because when you're an ordained minister of your church, the last thing you want is some one catching you digging deep down in the danger zone 'round your ding-dong (don't try alliterations/wiener jokes like that at home kids, I'm a professional).
Just as I am able to love an article of clothing with the same passion I love my wife or cake, I'm also able to hate a house hold appliance in a way most people reserve for dogs that poop in their yard.
For Christmas this year my mother gave my wife and I an electric blanket.
At first I didn't think too much of the gift. It was a very standard mother gift: practical, thoughtful, not a video game.
In the days that followed, however, this mom gift quickly became the single greatest thing in my wife's life. In a stubborn effort to save money, we keep our furnace set to butt-cold. This helps a ton on heating and refrigerator expenses but are probably spending enough on hot chocolate to eat up most of the savings.
Our bed has always been a sanctuary from the rest of our house but before Christmas this was more like heading south for the winter and only making it to southern Utah. It was warmer, but it wasn't really warm.
All this changed when we plugged in the blanket.
Now crawling between the sheets is like an all expenses paid trip to the Bahamas to eat chili and compete in a parka-wearing contest.
Before this bed-wide climate change, every night sometime between 4 and 5 am, my wife would wake from the butt-clenching cold and it became my job to serve as a fifth blanket. I would cling to my sweetheart, protecting her form the elements with my own warmth, helping us to draw closer as a couple.
Now, every night at the same time, my job is to climb out into the cold and turn her half of the blanket back on, then get back into bed without making too much noise.
Basically my mom got my wife a replacement me for Christmas.
Steve Shinney feels very passionately about a lot of things most people don't think twice about. He spends a lot time yelling at the stove.