posted by Joe Anaya on August 20th, 2012

One of the things I love about my wife is her instant enthusiasm and spontaneous excitability. The flip side of this is that in her excitement she often plays fast and loose with the details. Leaving a trail of clues like breadcrumbs leading to the actual fact she’s thinking of. I’ve told this story many times among friends and relatives. My wife knows it’s one of my favorites about her and when the right situation comes up, she just sighs and says, “Go ahead, and tell the story.” So, here it is.

My wife and I are watching TV and something makes her think about an actor or a movie and she tries to get me on the same page. “You know the guy with black hair.” She has successfully reduced the field by about 50%. I stare blankly at her. To help me a long, she throws in, “He’s married to what’s-her-name.” I chuckle, “Not very helpful.” “Ah,” she’s got it, “Tom Hanks in The Client.” There are so many things wrong with this statement I hardly know where to begin. I start my part of the unintentional parlor game. Who do all these clues have in common? A male, dark hair, at one time married, probably not Tom Hanks.

I inform her that Tom Hanks was not in The Client. “He was in Big, Castaway, Road to Perdition.” She fumes, “I know who Tom Hanks is.” The other part of her personality I find funny is that at this point, she’s annoyed at me because I don’t know who she’s talking about. As if I’m in some sort of conspiracy to force her to remember the name of the actor she’s trying to communicate to me, she belligerently resists my incorrect attempts at helping her come up with the name, because that’s clearly my job at this point.

Because I work in the entertainment industry and generally love movies, I have a pretty extensive knowledge of who’s in what, especially if the movie was pre-kid when I had time to see movies. So, I try again. “Do you mean Tommy Lee Jones? He was in The Client.” She glares at me. I rattle off, “Lonesome Dove, Men In Black, The Fugitive.” Strike two.

I go through the clues again. Not Tom Hanks, but Tom Hanks is tall, maybe the actor she’s thinking of is tall. Could be Jeff Goldblum. He’s tall and he was married to Geena Davis. Nope.

Maybe it’s the movie. The Client had Susan Sarandon and Tommy Lee Jones in a legal/police drama involving a kid. Maybe it’s really Witness an Amish kid sees a killing by crooked cops, starring Harrison Ford. “No, younger. And it’s about lawyers, not cops.” And with each wrong guess, there’s more venom and contempt for me and my inability to ferret out the way her mind works.

To review: male, dark hair, married possibly to someone famous (but not to Geena Davis), in a movie featuring lawyers not police, younger than Harrison Ford, not Jeff Goldblum, not Tommy Lee Jones, not Tom Hanks. Maybe it’s the “Tom,” I contemplate. My mind is looking like the secret bulletin board of a schizophrenic with all the yarn and push pins his heart could desire. Until snap. “I got it! Do you mean Tom Cruise in The Firm?”

“Yes! Why did it take you so long?”

File Under Jack of all Trades