The debate reached its zenith, which is to say we couldn't agree about what to watch on the old Zenith TV.
She sighed. ''If I had my druthers -''
''What,'' I interrupted, ''are druthers? Something like suspenders?''
''It's an expression. 'Druthers' is short for 'I'd rather.' Run it together - 'd'rather.'''
''So you should be seeking your drathers, not your druthers.''
''It's druthers. 'If I had my druthers.'''
I picked up the remote. ''While you're out hunting down drathers or druthers, I'll watch the game. It's pert near tip-off time.''
She snatched the remote away. ''Why a pert, and what's it near?''
''Everybody knows what 'pert near' means,'' I snapped. ''It's like when you say, 'I'm pert near ready to red up the house.'''
''I've never redded a house. A nice periwinkle, maybe. Perhaps sunflower in the kitchen-''
I held up my hand. ''Not red like the color red when you paint a house red, but red like when you get red, rid, of clutter when you red up a house. That red.''
''Look, Costello, stop casting aspersions on my vocabulary.''
I scratched my ear. ''Have you noticed that no one ever flings an aspersion? An aspersion is never set down or mounted or handed over. It's just cast. Always cast. An aspersion must be a worm on a hook.''
''Don't be so persnickety.''
I grabbed for the remote. Missed. ''Persnickety. Is that when you ram a 'perfect snickety' together like an 'I'd ruther'? What's a snickety, anyway?''
''Writers are so indubitably annoying.''
''I bet 'indubitably' happens when you sink into a mess of dubits. Must dubits and druthers be kept separate, or do they get persnickety about mixing together?''
She gave me the remote control.
''Ow!'' I rubbed my head. ''You could have just handed it to me.''
She shrugged. ''A druthers nearly landed in your hair. I knocked it off before it got entangled.''
''Indubitably. Or as Frank Sinatra said, 'Do be do be do.'''
''Speaking of dubits, when are you going get to the kitchen project and, you know, just doob it?''
I flopped into the chair and aimed the remote at the Zenith, where the argument began. ''I told you, when I get around to it.''
She dug through her pocket. ''Will a square one do? Or do you insist upon a round to-it before you give up this lackadaisical attitude?''
I threw up my hands. ''Why are you in a snit about the lack of daisies? I thought you wanted the kitchen doobed in sunflower.''
''I've never been in a snit. In your Chevy from time to time, but not in a snit.''
I thumbed the remote buttons. ''The game's on. Can we just cut all this malarkey?''
''Is that like baloney? How about a fried malarkey sandwich? Would that be copacetic?''
''Pert near, I reckon.'' I scratched my head with the remote. ''What's a 'copacetic'? A cluster of cetics boogeying in a disco?''
''You know, at the Copa. The Copacabana.''
Smoke sniggled from her ears. ''You are so cantankerous. I'd ruther hunt for drathers.''
A few moments later, her snit pulled out of the driveway. I sank into my chair and sighed. But I couldn't focus on the game. What, I wondered, are "cantankers," and why did she say I was like one?
What a conniption of a conundrum.
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