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The Praying Mantis Hypothesis

By Sandra Stenson   /     Mar 29, 2015  /     From Life  /  

Stensonian Genius 2015: January

My husband and I have been married for nigh on twenty years. It has been a very good twenty years. Every now and again, of course, even my marvel-spouse does something so boneheaded, I temporarily wonder if praying mantises don’t have a healthier attitude towards long-term relationships.

Imagine, for instance, what the scum-buzzard did just last week. It started when I saw beautiful stamps on envelopes by his computer. My philatelic’s heart leapt with joy. Not only were there actual stamps, but they were foreign and beautiful, the kind you have to ask for at the post office – the kind you still have to lick. In short, an absolute rarity in modern times.

I rushed to ferret them away so the husband would not do anything foolish, like throw them away or spill coffee onto them. It was then I noticed that the senseless creature has cut right through the middle of both stamps on both envelopes with his letter opener.

It is said that nagging does not make for a happy relationship. That may be true, but the man had cut through both stamps. This called for serious discussions.

The culprit was thus summoned to answer for his crimes and presented with the evidence. To his credit, he at least had the good sense to look rueful and contrite. Seeing the irrevocable damage he had done, he offered to ask the senders for new letters with new stamps, an empty offer to be sure. Who would ask a customer to send another envelope because his wife wanted the stamp?

A few days later, two more letters with identical stamps arrived. In addition, we received a small package containing an entire stamp collection. As it turned out, one of the epistolarians had a daughter who had collected stamps in her youth but had lost interest. So there was a beautiful stamp collection in search of a new owner – and I am it.

I learned something that day; it pays to fuss at the husband. Now that it is scientifically proven, I shall have to do it far more often.

The more uplifting, lesson (for male people, at least) is that kindness and generosity are everywhere and often spring from the most unexpected origins.

Postscript: If you enjoy my creative nonfiction, please consider taking a commitment-free sneak-peak at my fiction, also available on this blog under From Panda . It is written with the same humor but with the added bonus of a bit more adventure, suspense and romance. Winds of Change, the first novel in a series named Panda, can be accessed for free here on this blog. Donations in the form of social media shares, comments, and spreading the word are ever so welcome. Early chapters are already posted; more appear at regular intervals. Should the pace become tedious at some point, just nag. We will listen.


  1. bomb it 7 Says: May 19, 2016 7:42 pm

    Today, I went to the beachfront with my children. I found a sea shell
    and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.”
    She put the shell to her ear and screamed.
    There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely
    off topic but I had to tell someone!

    Reply this comment
  2. Joe Chouinard Says: September 14, 2016 6:37 pm

    I’m the stamp guy from Canada. Never thought I’d receive hon. mention on your blog.

    Ask Jim about my missing rod.

    Joe Chouinard

    Reply this comment

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