Lip Smacking Column

Valentine’s Day stresses me out.  I never know what to buy for my wife. The worst part is looking for the perfect card. I’ve lurked on the holiday aisle at the Hallmark store, waiting until some guy about my age laughed at a particular punch line. If there was another one of those cards in the rack, I’d snap it up and buy it, assuming it didn’t contain a crass, juvenile double entendre or risqué joke. For our entire marriage this has been my annual method to make the perfect selection. One thing is sure: the cards Mary Ellen received when we were dating were a touch edgier than in recent years.

Here’s a statistic that’s apropos for the upcoming day for sweethearts. The average person spends 20,000 minutes in his or her lifetime kissing. Again, this is an average: your smooching may vary, depending on whether you attend a lot of Greek and Jewish weddings or have more than six grandchildren. Of course, this is pre-Covid data, so the numbers have probably gone down.

How did the American Dental Association come up with this number? It took a little math, but it looks like if your kissing career spans 75 years, you need to kiss about 47.4 seconds a day to reach this target. I’m a happily married guy, but to reach this number would require counting my relationships with each of our three dogs as well as the seven iron I used to make two holes in one.

Even though we both have a competitive streak, Mary Ellen and I can’t possibly keep up with the Joneses, who just happen to be the newlywed neighbors down the street. The Fettermans next door have been married 40 years like us, so their numbers may represent a more realistic goal for us to shoot for.

But how do I increase my output so my obit could read: “Exceeded the Standard Kissing Time by 3,500 minutes”? Even my harshest critics would be forced to concede that when it came to lips, I was successful at putting two and two together.

When I walked in the house after returning from a pickleball game last Wednesday, my wife received the customary smooch. Now if you multiply my average weekly number of YMCA visits by my predicted remaining lifespan, total osculation could be increased by 20 percent. Osculation, by the way, is the scientific name for kissing. Don’t use that word during romantic encounters. It could have a negative impact on your lifetime kissing total.

Mary Ellen soon caught on that I was not enjoying the act as much as I was trying to run up my total time so we could surpass the Fettermans’ totals.

“What was that all about?” asked Mary Ellen.

“What do you mean?”

“Your kiss. You were lingering a lot longer than usual. It’s not even the weekend yet.

In order for my wife and me to someday surpass the national average, it will require her full cooperation. Last night I told Mary Ellen how beautiful she is and how great dinner was. Maybe now we’ll be able to break that 20,000 mark…as long as kissing up counts. Dick Wolfsie spent his career sharing his humor, stories and video essays on television, radio and in newspapers. His columns appear weekly in The Paper of Montgomery County. E-mail Dick at [email protected]