Opinion: Paying extra lip service

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In this article I recently read, no experts are quoted. There is no scientific polling, no international study referenced. But the people from a well-known breath mint/gum company claim the average person spends 20,000 minutes in his or her lifetime kissing. Your smooching may vary, depending on whether you attend a lot of Greek weddings or have more than 15 grandchildren.

I’m not an overly competitive person, but I do believe in keeping up with Joneses, who, by the way, are our newlywed neighbors down the street. The Fettermans next door, married 40 years, might represent a more realistic goal for me.

I’d been doing OK until now, but I’m going to increase my output, so my obit can read: “Exceeded the standard kissing time by 2,000 minutes.” When it comes to lips, I can put two and two together.

When Mary Ellen came home the other night, I gave her the customary hello smooch, but I lingered a few seconds longer in the osculation. If I multiplied that extra time by my predicted lifespan, I’d increase my total production by 20 percent. Osculation is the scientific term for kissing. Don’t use that word during romantic encounters. It’ll have a negative impact on your lifetime total.

My wife became instantly aware that I had breached the unwritten rule for time spent on the customary, “Hi, honey, I’m home” kiss.

“What was that all about?” she asked. “You were lingering on my cheek. You do know it’s only Thursday?”

It’s bad enough I’m newly obsessed with maintaining a respectable record in the puckering department, but apparently a slew of other situations exist when my breath should be pristine. Now, there’s something to chew on. Which is exactly what the gum company says: “Hey, we sell something to chew on.”

In order for my wife and me to someday surpass the national average, I’m going to need her full cooperation. Last night, I told Mary Ellen how beautiful she is and how great dinner was, but I still don’t think I have a chance of reaching that 20,000 mark. Apparently, kissing up doesn’t count.

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