How I took a bullet for my wife … and survived.

We, or someone rather, broke, or well, leaned on and maybe dislodged, or maybe it did break, a stone in or near the hearth of the fireplace. Now is that worth a shooting?

But I’m not the one with the gun—or the temper.

This is more a story of different personalities than any real blood and exploding bones. Someone dislodged a stone in the hearth of the fireplace. I think the hearth is the place around the fireplace, I’m not even really sure. The thing is, our name, or rather, my wife’s name, is the contact for the rental. Our friends were staying there and we were across the street in another house. Confusing, yes. Not terribly logical or rational, no.

This is a rebuttal piece written from my, ahem, other personality: Be Switzerland.

The owner of the displaced rock, well, he’s not actually the owner, he’s a renter who rents to us, but that’s yet another story. He, uh, has a gun safe. I’ll just put it out there right now: I don’t really like Nerf guns much less guns that are so numerous you need a (6-foot tall) gun safe. So there’s that for starters.

My wife and our fearless villain aren’t exactly buddies. But she’s the contact person, so when that rock-thingy was out of alignment she’s the one he’ll contact. Yes, we need to rearrange that. That needs more rearranging than the rock.

They started emailing with each other. It wasn’t pretty. In fact, it was ugly. But worse than ugly, it was sad. I was sad. I was also hurt as it hurts me when someone offends my wife—especially deliberately. In the good-old-days, I suppose I’d challenge the dude to a duel and we’d brawl or draw swords or arm wrestle. But I have an iPhone, not a sword.

It took some deep, but quick, thinking on my part to put a stop to it. Something that I easily saw drawing out for weeks but probably months. In fact, since we seem to like that neighborhood, it might be quite a while. The future flashed before my eyes of us driving by and GI Joe glaring at us as we drove by, Uzi strapped to his back, buck knife on his leg holster, who-knows-what-else strapped I-don’t-want-to-know where.

Before it escalated, before the emails escalated into blood dripping from the keyboard, before they duked it out (digitally or in person), I made an executive decision.

“I think you should call him. Stop with the emails. Call him and get it over with,” I said, keeping my eyes focused on hers. But I saw the anguish, the dread, the fear but also the fight. Then I thought of love and how much more fun and powerful it is than hatred.

“I’ll call him,” I said as a follow-up to what I shouldn’t have said. “I’ll call him right now and take care of it. Go have a glass of wine and don’t think about it anymore.”

Then, shocked but secretly proud of my bravura, I did just that. I called him. I worked my diplomatic muscle and flattened him with eloquence and talk of bears, porcupines, and coyotes. I met him man to man. No guns, no knives, no blood. Just words. Brave, courageous, not-fun-but-worth-it words.

There will be no shoot out. There will be no glares and guns and girls draped dead on the hood of the car as a trophy. There will be love. Love conquers all.