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The ups and downs of relationships

November 25, 2012
By Kelly Van De Walle , Times-Republican

When you've been with someone for a while, one of the most common complaints is that your significant other can't surprise you anymore. I thought I had gotten to that point and then my wife uttered this magical phrase that will forever be chronicled in Van De Walle lore:

"I used to be pretty good with a yo-yo."

I wouldn't have been more taken aback had I just seen a leprechaun enthusiastically spanking a cowboy.

She said it so nonchalantly, like it was nothing. Like this is something that a lot of normal people say and something I'd just let this go.

This, naturally, prompted the following questions:



The worst part? She just STOPPED TALKING after saying that. You can't stop there like that's the end of the conversation. It's the beginning - the beginning of something magical. It'd be like me doing something like this:

Wife: "Diddid you get a mechanical robot arm today?"

Me: "What, THIS? Yeah."

I don't know what to think anymore. Those late night "meetings" she allegedly attends for work I now imagine she's actually going to a dojo or wherever yo-yo people congregate to secretly practice her craft.

"It's something normal people just don't understand," I hear her try to explain while saying other words. "The world just doesn't get it. I was afraid you wouldn't understand. I've had so many relationships end because of this. I couldn't lose you, because you are so handsome and mighty, physically."

I picture her shamed underground with her collection of ragtag misfit yo-yoers, affectionately calling themselves Yuggles. When one rival group challenges her Yuggles, they have epic music-choreographed yo-yo-off; the loser is either immediately killed or walks away a tad dejected before going on with their day.

I imagine she's training feverishly with an elderly Asian guru that speaks in mysterious, yet enchanting parables:

"Behold the circular nightingale. Soft, swift are his wings. Silently fluttering. But doth not scamper amongst the voles, but instead hovers, mightily - like a plastic hummingbird - taught, and yea the dog does walk."

She nods along to the ancient man's words, KNOWING EXACTLY WHAT THIS MEANS, and her skills consequently going to the next level (I assume there are levels).

I imagine my wife discovering her talent as a child after retrieving a discarded red plastic yo-yo in a puddle outside a toy store after not having enough change to purchase one of her own. It was a fate puddle filled with circular, string-filled opportunity. Unfortunately she had to practice at night under her covers because her parents forbid her to engage in "up and down tomfoolery."

Soon she got good enough to enter competitions, where she racked up win after win, melting down her trophies with the hope of selling the metal to purchase special gloves and bus tickets to other competitions. Unfortunately she ended up ruining them all after finally realizing her melted trophies contained no precious metals, something she would've learned had she not dropped out of school to attend yo-yo contests. This was exactly the type of life her parents tried so hard to prevent; the "dark side" of yo-yoing that the media never bothers to address.

"Hell-O. Are you even listening to me?" she asks breaking me out of my important thoughts.

"All these years you've been eating Cap'n Crunch and watching IPTV when you could've been mesmerizing me with small plastic spinning disc trickery," I say, stunned. "I want to see Shoot the Moon right now."

"I'm not THAT good," she says, lying. With a background like I just imagined I don't see how that's possible.

"I don't know if I can look at you anymore," I reply, flabbergasted. "I have a lot of thinking to do about our relationship."

It brings up a series of other questions. Our daughter is one-half of my wife; does my wife's fantastical yo-yoing DNA transfer on to her or is it like werewolfism where it can skip a generation? No wonder she wanted to name our first child Duncan.

It's reasons like this that she doesn't tell me things anymore. Which is a shame. I wonder what else she's hiding?


Kelly Van De Walle is the senior creative & marketing writer for Briscoe14 Communications. He can be reached at but don't send a message to his wife, who apparently keeps all sorts of things to herself. Follow Kelly on Twitter @pancake_bunny or else he'll eat this entire turkey if he can catch it (which he can because he's incredibly quick).



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