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Hunting and Gathering

Dinner preparation couldn’t have been easy for the early cave woman. Not having a refrigerator or pantry, every meal depended on her ability to motivate her caveman husband to go out and fetch the proper ingredients. And we all know how difficult that can be! Especially before the invention of lingerie!

Let’s imagine what it would have been like way back then, as Carla the cave woman attempts to get dinner on the table for her husband Andy and their two kids Tiffani and Seth:

Carla sticks her head out the cave door and spies her husband playing "Rockball" with the neighborhood Neanderthals, even though she’s warned him over and over that the last thing he needs is another blow to the head.

"Andy!," she calls out to him, "I need you to run to the woods and hunt down dinner!"

Andy looks up from the game, dazed and confused. The noises coming out of his wife sound like this new thing she invented last week she calls "conversation." He is unsure of many things, but of this he is certain – "conversation" is not something he wants any part of. He gives her a blank stare and returns to ducking as rocks whiz by.

"I’m want to make mammoth stew for dinner. I need you to go get me a mammoth." She pauses. He is still ignoring her. She presses on. "Better go now before the rush. Remember last time when you waited too long and there was a line for the spear?"

Finally, he looks up at her and responds with a manly "Humph." Which, of course, after many years of marriage, she knows means "But, honey, I’m up next! If I leave now, I’ll never make the city-wide rockball team!"

At this point, Carla realizes she’s going to have to appeal to his sense of macho pride or they’re all going to be eating leaves and berries again tonight. "Okay, fine. I suppose I can get my old boyfriend Eddie to go get me a mammoth. He’s a real hunter-gatherer! Not to mention, he plays professional Rockball. If only I’d let him drag me home by the hair when he asked…"

Andy, course, responds to the challenge immediately, running off into the woods in search of dinner. He returns minutes later, having forgotten whether it was mammoth or tuna she wanted. She sets him right and sends him on his way again.

I started thinking about the plight of the cave woman the other day when I decided to make pasta for dinner. Unfortunately, we were out of ziti, my favorite pasta noodle, so I asked my husband if he would run out to the store to pick some up.

"But, honey, the game’s on. My team’s behind and if I leave now, they’ll never make the play-offs!," he whined. Actually, that’s not true. He said "Humph!" But I knew what he meant.

"If you don’t go now, there’ll be a line and we won’t eat until 9:00," I cautioned.

He sat motionless on the couch. "Why don’t you go?"

"Because I’m doing laundry. And I’ve got a cake in the oven."

He stared at the TV, afraid this could evolve into a conversation if he made eye contact. So, I did what I had to do. I went into the bedroom and changed into a pair of tight jeans and a tank top.

"Okay, I guess I’ll go. Keep an eye on the cake for me." I stopped in the living room and put on some lipstick. "I hope Eddy is working today! Did you know he’s been recruited by the Seattle Seahawks? He starts next season."

That did it. My spouse leapt from the sofa and headed immediately out the door. Of course, he came back moments later, having forgotten his keys, his wallet, and where he was supposed to be going and why.

After an hour or so, he finally got home with the ziti (after having called from the store asking the difference between ziti and penne) and I made dinner. And it occurred to me that some things change and some things don’t. Unlike cave women, most of us women today do our own hunting and gathering. But on the days when we rely on our spouses to do the job, we’re faced with many of the same obstacles. At least we don’t have to worry about borrowing fire from our neighbors or inventing eating utensils.

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