Penkava: Why husbands can’t find anything

Honey, where’s the milk?
Honey, where’s the milk?

I consider myself a garden-variety husband, although my wife has yet to let me loose outside with a shovel and a trowel.

Like most conventional husbands, I visit the refrigerator several times a day just in case anything new has miraculously materialized inside. I think that a toilet seat’s upward position is beguiling. I feel that the serviceable life of a shirt without a wash is at least three days.

Oh, and I have more gas than Nicor.

But I’m wondering if I am unique in one matrimonial aspect: Am I the only husband who cannot find anything I’m looking for around the house? I mean, sometimes I feel like I live in one giant lost and found. I can’t find food. I can’t find clothes. I can’t even find the car keys to escape this madness.

So I asked around, and guess what? All the other husbands are just like me. If we were all lost in the woods together, none of us could find each other, much less a tree. We would go naked, starve and perish in a pathetic whimper.

How many guys can relate to this scenario:

Husband standing in front of open refrigerator: “Honey, where’s the ketchup?”

Wife sitting, folding laundry: “In the fridge.”

Husband staring blankly: “I’m standing in front of it. I don’t see it.”

Wife, looking up from a partially folded towel: “It’s on the second shelf from the bottom on the right-hand door.”

Husband looks down at shelf: “Still don’t see it. Are you sure we have some?”

Now it gets interesting, as the wife replies …

“It’s there. I put it there yesterday when I went shopping.”

“No it isn’t.”

“Yes, it is.”

“No it isn’t.”

“Try to look closer.”

“That’s impossible. If I looked any closer I’d be inside the fridge.”

“Don’t make me come in there!”

(Husband in singsong voice) “It’s not herrrrre!”

The wife sweeps into the kitchen like an angry twister and, without even stopping, grabs the ketchup bottle out of the fridge, tosses it to her husband and vanishes in a puff of frustration.

And it’s not only food. We can’t find our favorite tie printed with bacon strips or our thing-a-ma-jig for our drill or our nacho-­flavored lip balm. And the weird thing is, we can be looking right at it and we literally don’t see it. Plus, our wives spot it instantly.

That’s why I think this is a gender thing. It’s like the Y chromosome that we guys have has carried with it some kind of male-pattern blindness gene. Although our eyes function perfectly, we fail to cognitively perceive specific visual stimuli. It’s an unconscious masking of the object that we are consciously seeking. And since women do not have this condition, they easily see what is impossible for us to see.

Maybe our wives should cut us husbands some slack. We do have skills that totally blow them away, like throwing footballs or catching baseballs. Our problem is that we can’t ever find these things to demonstrate our prowess.

So wives, when we pitifully cry out, “Honey, where’s the milk?” and it sits on the shelf inches from our face, we are not lazy or airheaded or needy. We are simply cursed with “man eyes” that blind us to what only women can see.

Our first sentence as babies was, “Mama … where da food?” and we haven’t looked back. So wives, get used to using your “woman eyes” … ’cause we ain’t ever getting any better.

• Michael Penkava taught a bunch of kids and wrote a bunch of stuff. His wife likes to hide the car in the garage just to irritate him. He can be reached at

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