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How Did George Foreman Almost Destroy My Marriage?

Yes, that George Foreman. The former heavyweight champion. Muhammed Ali’s dance partner at the Rumble in the Jungle. The guy with five sons named George.

It began innocently enough.

My wife, Karen, and I were camping in the wilds of New Hampshire. It was early September. Her birthday was rapidly approaching. Too rapidly.

There was a country store nearby, but all it sold in terms of gifts were t-shirts saying things like ”4-Corners Store” and “I’m With Stupid” with an arrow. She already had one of each.

Fortunately, just a couple of towns away, was a Walmart. Off I went.

Deciding On The George Foreman Grill

As I wandered the aisles, past Remington rifles, boxes of ammo, and hip-wader boots, I turned a corner — and came face-to-face with a George Foreman Grill.

I had seen these advertised on TV. The cooking surface was non-stick. The exterior was shiny white. It even had George Foreman’s signature scrawled across it.

This seemed perfect — way better than hip-wader boots. Or that vacuum cleaner I had seen in aisle seven. So I bought it.

Lacking festive wrapping paper, I decided the Walmart bag would work fine by turning it inside out, hiding the logo.

I wouldn’t say that Karen was ecstatic upon receiving the grill. But I am sure she agreed with the old saying, “It’s the thought that counts.”

A New And Improved George Foreman Grill?!

The real trouble came four years later. Once again, we were camping in the wilds of New Hampshire. Once again, her birthday was imminent. Once again, I snuck away to Walmart.

And what to my wondering eyes did appear? A newer, larger, shinier George Foreman Grill. This one even had removeable grilling surfaces for easier cleaning. What woman wouldn’t want such a miracle of invention?

Apparently many, if not most.

It didn’t even help that this time I had thoughtfully slapped a bright bow on the Walmart bag.

Especially unhelpful was the observation by a family member that the whole thing reminded them of a Simpson’s episode. The one where Homer gets Marge a bowling ball for her birthday — one with finger-holes customized to fit his digits.

I pretend to not know what they’re talking about (even while recalling that Marge gets her revenge by engaging an Italian bowling instructor for, um, “lessons”).   

This was all years ago.

My Wife’s Birthday Is Coming Around Once Again

But Karen’s birthday is fast approaching once again. She turns 64 this week. For baby boomers, 64 is a special milestone, thanks to Paul McCartney of Beatles fame, who penned these lyrics:

Will you still need me; will you still feed me,
When I’m sixty-four?

Paul’s ditty emerged in 1967, with the release of the Fab Four’s Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band. This was the same album that included “A Day in the Life,” a song that spawned rumors that Paul would never get to 64, because he was already dead.

I learned this from spinning the vinyl record backwards on my turntable.

So what to get Karen on this auspicious occasion? Diamonds? An around-the-world cruise on the Queen Mary 2? Dinner reservations at Thomas Keller’s French Laundry restaurant?

Or perhaps something a tad more nostalgic?

I’ve just learned that there’s a newly-released George Foreman “Evolve Grill.” It now comes with digital controls and adjustable temperature. And it is available in red!

George foreman

Because there’s always that other old saying: “Three’s the charm!”

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About The Author
Robert Waite
Robert Waite
Robert is Managing Director at Waite + Co., a communications firm with offices in Boston, Ottawa and Toronto. He also teaches at Seneca College. He has more than 35 years experience leading communications, marketing and government relations functions for some of North America’s largest firms, including Ford, IBM, CAE, CIBC and Canada Post. He served as Press Secretary to Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-MA) and Senator Bob Dole (R-KS) and in the Reagan Administration. He is a three-time winner of the New England Press Association’s Best Column Award. He can be reached at [email protected].
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