"The other day Ruth [their daughter] asked me what you were like when we met," she said. "She wanted to know what attracted me to you. I told her how funny you used to be, and that you made me laugh every day."
Her use of the past tense was making me nervous. "And what did she say to that?" I asked.
"She asked how someone like the man I married could become such an asshole." . . .
It felt like a kick in my teeth. "She said 'asshole'? But I'm not like that," I said. "I'm funny." This sounded pathetic even to myself. Arguing that you're funny is pretty much the opposite of being funny.
"You can be funny," Eileen told me. "But mostly you're moody and withdrawn. Ruth says you never listen to her. She's right. And you don't listen to me, either."
She paused. I braced myself; sipped my coffee, looked out the window at the puffy winter clouds. Her next remark landed like a fifty-pound sack of flour.
"I think you should talk to someone about what's going on."
This was the second time I'd been diagnosed with clinical assholism in twenty-four hours.
Some might say that clinical assholism is a common disease among American males. New Door Books has no official position on this question, but readers are welcome to debate it.