Mixed marriages are somewhat more challenging than those in which the partners share identical backgrounds... yet they can be successful despite the odds against them. This I know from personal experience: She Who Must Be Obeyed and I have been happily hitched for over thirty-five years despite a fundamental difference in our upbringing.
What is that fundamental difference? Glad you asked.
It is not a difference of a religious nature: both the Missus and I are Jewish. We have never had to grapple with the issues related to raising children in a household in which two belief systems coexisted. There was never a seasonal battle between Chanukah and Christmas factions, nor any problems with accommodating the disparate holiday observances of two different families.
It is not a difference of regional culture, despite the fact that I am a damnyankee from New York and the Missus hails from the Lone Star State, part of the old Confederacy. The fact is, back during the Late Unpleasantness, our progenitors were too busy being chased around by pitchfork packing, pogrom plying peasants in eastern Europe to be concerned about matters Union and Confederate. Our accents may be a bit different, but that’s about as far as our regional divide separates us. (Well, that and SWMBO’s unexplainable desire to drink iced tea in the dead of winter.)
No: it is a difference much more fundamental than region or religion, a difference that even transcends politics. It is a difference that is brought into sharp focus this time of year, when the Missus and I are with her family at the onset of the holidays.
She Who Must Be Obeyed, you see, grew up in a family of Unders. I, on the other hand, was raised to be an Over from my earliest days.
I refer, of course, to the direction of the Toilet Paper Roll. Some people adopt the benighted and backward practice of arranging the roll so that the paper hangs down under the roll; others, far more enlightened, hang the paper over the roll.
It is a tribute to SWMBO’s high intelligence and adaptability that she and I have never had any disagreements on this issue. Since before we established our household together, she has, along with me, been a member of the Over camp.
My in-laws (save for Morris William), however, still live in the outer darkness of the Under tribe. And I needs must grit my teeth with restrained rage whenever I take a crap in their house.