A Humorous Look at a Common Domestic Squabble

What price warmth?
March 3, 2014 Updated: March 6, 2014

While most of us have seen some definite signs of spring recently, it certainly appears that “Old Man Winter” is pretty reluctant to let go completely just yet. Many areas began to thaw this past week, but meteorologists around the United States agree that the cold temperatures are coming back, and will most likely be with us for a few more weeks.

Trying to keep warm is, of course, something we all do and would probably admit is a high priority. I don’t think many of us, however, would be likely to confess to intentionally putting our desire for warmth ahead of someone else’s—particularly someone we care for.

Which brings us to the age-old argument: which spouse steals the blankets in your house?

As a female, it’s been my experience that I’m the one who always gets accused of it, although I’m not sure that’s an entirely fair assessment. So the question is: are husbands more likely to accuse their wives of the crime, and if so, are they right?

My brother, Jamie Phillips, PhD, wrote this poem for his wife, Marilee.

Here’s his observation, or accusation, if you prefer:

The Blanket Thief

A senescent mind slowly rouses to find:
Elbow, face, calf, all left-half, cold, insensible,
Becoming un-owned by anyone.

Left-eye, blinks, seeks the wintry cause to discern:
Entire top sheet gone; blanket and comforter half-stolen,
Spirited somewhere dark by some dark some other.

The mind, now part alight, rages to reclaim its rights:
Drafts numb left-arm, icy left-hand, to uncover, to recover,
The part-plundered, the full-sundered, mantle.

It is a one-sided mission—a hopeless war:
Grappling, grabbing, gripping, grasping, the waning half-man
Cannot recapture, cannot regain, the contested coverlet.

The mind, full awake, turns angry eyes right to enemy locate:
Discovering only soft dark hair atop a quilt-wrapped chrysalis,
Rising and setting with fresh and steady breath.

The senescent mind sighs, remembering the thief, recalling the ransom:
Full body pulls the other close, closing the gap, ending the fight,
Left-side rejoining the right-side in nascent warmth.

The wife was the culprit in this poem, though to be fair, her being unconscious would make it difficult to find her completely guilty, if indeed, she actually was. In addition, the victim—the husband—realized a solution to the problem, which seemed more than fair to both parties involved.

Maybe the best advice is to endeavor to help keep others warm; in the process of that altruistic task, one may discover warmth for oneself as well.

The poem above was printed with the permission of the author, who retains all rights to the poem. Dr. Jamie Phillips is Professor of Philosophy at Clarion University of Pennsylvania. He received his BA in History from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1994, received his MA in Philosophy from MU in 1996 and received a PhD in Philosophy with Honors from MU in 1999. He currently resides in Clarion, PA with his wife, Marilee, and their four children.

*Image of a man in bed via Shutterstock