The wife is very upset. I have not yet been called by the SEC to take an oath. That is not the point though. Mr. Jones, the husband belonging to Mrs. Jones next door, has been added to the list of 947 or something people who are supposed to take the oath that they know everything there is to know about their company’s doings. That worries the wife greatly. It significantly diminishes her standing in the community and makes a considerable dent in her image as the inspirational wife of an extremely successful businessman. She completely forgets two things – I am not successful and she’s not inspirational. I told her the first part. Rubbish, she said, don’t be negative, forgetting that that also described the perennial condition of my bank balance. She has instructed me to contact the SEC and express my annoyance at not being included. Take me in or take Mr. Jones out. Either or both would work. It always feels good to speak of somebody else’s mistaken addition in a list and subsequent unceremonious expulsion. And about one’s own inadvertent omission from the same list and subsequent apologetic inclusion!


I have tried to explain a lot of the hows and whys of these things to her but it has not worked so far. For example, I started out by telling her that all this oath-taking business doesn’t mean a thing to anybody. Look at the politicians. They take an oath before they take office. And you can see where they’ve taken their offices, I told her.  As though an oath is like a digestive pill that you take before you eat food. At least the pill works.


That was met with stony silence so I explained to her that all those guys were required to say was that they knew of nothing wrong going on in their businesses only to the best of their knowledge. Now my knowledge, like theirs, is selectively good and selectively bad and pretty picky about both, so I am practically saying nothing. That’s like your hearing, she started, so I hastily exercised some of that selective hearing and backed off before she could elaborate exponentially on that theory. I tried another tack.


Look, I said, getting into that list is nothing to brag about. They’ve just got all the moneyed guys in the country into that list and want them to appear on TV and make as if they’re the most honest, most persecuted community in the whole world. You know that’s not the case, I said, with clinching wisdom. Well, apparently I used the wrong words. Saying words like ‘appear on TV’ is like ringing your dog’s food bell. Her ears shot up. “TV?”, she asked. After that, even if it meant I was going to be gagged, blindfolded, handcuffed and carried, kicking, screaming and biting, it was okay, as long it was to somewhere in front of the camera.


I tried one last ploy. See, I pleaded, I don’t even know what goes on with my own house money so how will I know about my company’s accounts. She ignored the former point as if  it was none of my business in any case. “But that’s the point”, she said, “You just have to swear that your don’t know anything. It’s just their way of making you say the same thing another way. Two positives make a negative.”


While I was contacting the SEC, she would hold a oath-taking ceremony at home where I could practice for the grand event. I could take as many oaths on as many topics as I wanted to. Like, I didn’t know what was going on in the front yard or in my children’s school or about my dog’s park routine. She says that those will be the most honest oaths anybody has ever taken. She even said some others could take oaths just for fun. When I offered to help with the arrangements, she gave me a withering look. “That is real work. It’s not like taking an oath”. She would handle everything. I mustered all the defiance I could and pulled myself erect. “Okay”, I said.


And yes, the Jones’ would be invited but she wouldn’t allow Mr. Jones to take an oath that day. He could swear under his breath, if he wanted to.