Penkava: Classic blunder against dizzying intellect

I should have seen this coming. Blinded by greed and an escalating ravenous covetousness, I foolishly stepped into the proverbial battleground of intellects, pitting myself against the most formidable of foes: my wife.

Yep, chalk up another husband who thought he could outthink, out-reason and out-rationalize his Little Pookie Punkin. It is yet another sad tale of a glorious hope that is utterly dashed upon the rocks of feminine astuteness.

It all began with a humble dream: return to the vehicular fancy of my youth, a VW Beetle.

My young manhood was peppered with a sequence of Vee-Dub Bugs, forever linking significant life events with the whiny whistle of the engine, the ubiquitous crayonlike smell of the interior, the rotund cocoon of shiny metal and the priceless security of German engineering.

For years, I had searched for a reasonable way to justify getting another Bug, but never found a substantive line of reasoning … until now.

It was time to turn in our leased car. What would we replace an almost new, well-equipped four-door sedan with less than 15,000 miles with? Why, how about a 45-year-old, slightly rusty two-door model whose odometer has spun around to say 72,000 miles for the umpteenth time?

No problem. I had this all figured out. Here’s how it went:

“Honey, for our 50th anniversary, how would you like a diamond ring?”

“Well, I haven’t thought about it. That might be nice.”

“Think about it. I’d like to get you something special because I love you so much.”

I kissed her on the cheek, walked away and waited about 10 minutes before I continued my stratagem.

“Honey, remember when I told you I’d get you a diamond ring?”

“Yes, Michael, that was 10 minutes ago.”

“Yeah, I know. Well, since I’m willing to get you that ring, would you like to know what I’d like?”

“Oh, I can’t wait to hear this. What would you like, Michael?”

“Well, it’s nothing as fancy as a diamond ring. I was kinda thinking about an old VW Bug … because I love you so much.”

She looked at me with an expression that told me her female intellect was moving into second gear.

“An old VW Bug. That’s going to be our reliable second car?”

“I didn’t say anything about reliable. It’s a gift from you to me. Because I’m getting you a diamond ring because I love you so much.”

I could see her shifting into third gear now.

“So, let me get this straight. I’m getting you a VW Bug because you love me so much.”

“Yes, Honey, an endless and undying love.”

Now she revved up into fourth gear.

“Well, Michael, it’s very touching that you love me so much that you would get me a diamond ring so you can get a VW Bug.”

“Honey, you deserve it.”

“But what if we only have the money to get either the ring or the car? What will we do then? Would you still get me the ring because you love me so much?”

I didn’t know what to say. This was an unexpected surge of female cunning. I had to think fast.

“Um, maybe we can get a ring with a little diamond and use the leftover money to get the Bug?”

“Oh, Michael, I wish it were that easy. I love you.”

With that she smiled, kissed me on the cheek and walked away.

I stood there stunned, realizing that I had fallen victim to one of the most classic blunders.

The most famous of which is never count the items in someone else’s shopping cart in the express lane. But only slightly infamous is this: Never go up against a woman when a VW Bug is on the line.

• Michael Penkava taught a bunch of kids and wrote a bunch of stuff. He doesn’t want you to feel sorry for him. His dream of a VW Bug is not dead, it’s only mostly dead. He can be reached at

Loading more

Digital Access

Digital Access
Access from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, prep sports, Chicago sports, local and regional entertainment, business, home and lifestyle, food, classified and more! News you use every day! Daily, weekend and Sunday packages.

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Stay connected to us wherever you are! Get breaking news updates along with other area information sent to you as a text message to your wireless device.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Plan your weekend and catch up on the news with our newsletters.