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Beware the idles of March

Mar 28, 2013 - By Clair McFarland

For the Husband, it's basketball; for me, it was the literary sewers of Paris with 'Les Miserables'

Last Thursday, the Husband voiced his excitement over the onset of March Madness. For those of you who don't know (and you're awesome), March Madness is that college basketball event that can consume up to 13 hours of a fan's life each day, for 10 days. I was foolish enough to question my husband's enthusiasm over this, so he quipped "and how many hours did you spend reading the longest book ever written?"

Well played.

Mere weeks ago I was spouting remorse all over my slightly-neglected kitchen, because of my decision to read the (unabridged) version of "Les Miserables" before the movie's DVD release. It's not the longest book ever written, but it's longer than March Madness, and a little more maddening.

See, I had never read or seen any version of it, and I wanted to be a classic bookworm, delving into Victor Hugo's work before letting Hugh Jackman's vocal cords dazzle my tone-deaf ears.

(It's popular legend that Hugh Jackman's vocal cords are more impressive than his ability to grow chops and metal claws at will.)

My decision to read this book was a mistake, though formed by the innocent perception that reading a classic-turned-movie was surely much cooler than grumbling over the cinematic layout of Hogwarts during the most suspenseful scenes of "Harry Potter." I was just certain I'd have some brilliant criticism to dish out vocally during "Les Mis," and therefore enjoy it more than my less preoccupied husband and potential guests. And by "enjoy," I mean "harbor for it snobbish literary disdain."

As it turns out, "Les Miserables" (unabridged) gave me an uncanny knowledge of the sewers of Paris, the exact rhythm of Napoleon's heartbeat during Waterloo, and the many layers of clothing donned by the French nuns of 1830. Fascinating ... (not)

Needless to say, reading all of these tangents -- though they were executed in breathtaking prose -- was unbefitting a housewife who is especially greedy over her time.

Truly, I am a miser of time. I meld dinner planning with quality mothering time -- to the point at which my children think cookbooks are fun reading material. I break the unspoken shopping cart speed limit at the grocery store.

And I do not watch college basketball.

Anyone who thinks that housewives do not stay busy needs to sit in time-out until that attitude changes.

Given these oddities about myself and everyone else who "stays home," I can just advise all of you to trust me that the sewers of Paris are a mess, Napoleon's heartbeat was erratic during Waterloo, and the French nuns overclothed themselves. Now put down the book and go cook some dinner.

With these idles of March behind me, I face a more productive future, which may or may not be augmented by the slight financial leisure that comes of winning a March Madness betting pool. In the mini-community of an NCAA fan, a bracket circulates, which the bettor fills out with his predictions for March Madness victors.

Do not write "Wyoming" in the bracket. They didn't make it. Sorry.

For now, I'm upstairs reassuring my babies that they'll recover from shopping-cart motion-sickness, and the Husband is rooting for ... somebody. I thought to tell him that watching the games will not determine his success in the betting brackets, but then I chose against it. Let him watch, I say. At least he's not reading the longest book ever written.

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