It all started when my (adorable, but tone deaf) husband decided he was going to karaoke a song on our honeymoon cruise.
I tried everything I could to stop him. I mean, he’s so bad it’s past comical and into awful. He decided on a song nobody knew and he was sure he was going to rock it.
I was sure he was not.
He practiced for two days. I didn’t know it was possible to actually get worse with practice.
I begged him not to do it. Tried to tell him it was a mistake. Reminded him gently and not-so gently he couldn’t sing.
But he wasn’t hearing it.
So, being the supportive wife that I am, I showed up to cheer on what was one of the most embarrassing moments of his life. It didn’t help that the girl ahead of him was like American Idol Hollywood week good, but when he got up there it was basically the equivalent of two cats mating.
And there was nothing I could do to stop it. He’d chosen a song nobody knew so I couldn’t even sing along and get the crowd enthused. He just stood up there, bombing.
Afterward, when we were safely back in the room, he turned to me and looked me dead in the eye, “Why didn’t you tell me not to do it?”
Oh, nuh uh. “I spent two days telling you not to do it. There was nothing I could say that was going to change your mind!”
He thought back and agreed. Which is good, because the ocean is super cold, and I don’t think he would have enjoyed me tossing him overboard.
“We need a safe word,” he said as he stared out into the waves. Crashing around us.
“Um, what?” I mean we’d only been married like two weeks. This was unexpected.
“No. Not like that!” (Huge sigh of relief on my part.) “We need a word that means, “This is so stupid you can not do it, I’m your spouse and I love you and I know this is the worst idea you’ve ever had. This can not happen.”
“Armadillo!” I said, without thinking at all.
Because who would ever use an armadillo as their safe word?
“Yes. Armadillo.” He agreed with me. Because at this point he would have agreed with anything I said. (Honestly Someone should have Armadillo’d that safe word. Right?)
And so that’s the word we use to mean “this is an awful idea. I can’t stress how awful this is. Your judgment on this one is completely flawed. It’s my responsibility as your loving significant other to keep you from making this mistake.”
And it’s worked. We’ve used it ever since.
When I decided to get a pixie cut, armadillo.
When he decided to join a motorcycle gang even though he doesn’t have a motorcycle or know how to ride one, armadillo.
When I decided we could remodel the house and we just needed to sledgehammer that one wall (that we later found out was load bearing), armadillo.
The rules are simple: you have to respect the armadillo no matter what, but you must also never ever abuse the privilege of armadillo. It’s sacred, and must only be used in the most dire cases.
And so, that’s how an armadillo keeps me and my husband from doing the most ridiculous things on the planet.
If you need a safe word of your own, feel free to use ours, if you’d like.