kRIS Krankle – Content to be Nobody

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kRIS Krankle

founder of M.I.L.D.E.W.
Men with Intimacy and Learning Disorders Experiencing Women

Content to be Nobody


Last Fall, even before the arrival of Omicron, the wife realized my social distancing funk was not dissipating like it did for most people we knew. She worried because when I returned home from work, I’d stopped scratching our new rescue dog, who faithfully waits for me on the front porch every night, and once inside, I didn’t want to come to the dinner table to eat … on Thursday nights, I stopped playing masked poker with the boys, but I explained to her the masks hid who was bluffing.

The wife sat me down and suggested that every night I simply disappear into the backyard and look up at the sky, or I quickly retreat into the bedroom to watch ESPN propping myself up in our bed eating cheese doodles … all of which is wife-speak for sucking your thumb. She also told me something I’ll never forget – that I was becoming content to be nobody.

I have to admit, when I first heard her say that, it felt like a low blow. It’s common knowledge that guys don’t deal well with low blows. Only recently, at one of our M.I.L.D.E.W. meetings, did I learn that women don’t deal well with low blows either.

The wife went further and said I was becoming idle and uninvolved. She called my condition EDF – the ‘eat, drink, and fart’ syndrome that many men experience in their mid-50’s … look, the wife and I met just after she graduated from Sarah Lawrence where she apparently majored in being right, so thirty-one years ago, I knew what I was getting into when I met her. Yes, I do fart a lot. I’m not sure any more than when we met … so that’s on her in my book.

There’s this guy in group who I listen to a lot. This week, Jeremiah asked the therapist – “Does marriage always have to be a journey?” He added, “I don’t know about the rest of you guys, I know they’re supposed to be good for you, but I’m tired of journeys. I mean, my wife and I are good – last time I looked we’re still married. It’s just that everything in life these days has to be a goddamned journey … and that’s beginning to piss me off.”

Jeremiah might be unemployed, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t intend to ever over-exert himself, but the man has a point. Take the journey we all have at M.I.L.D.E.W. dealing with women. We’ve tried our best to understand what women want and when they want it, and for most of us, in spite of our efforts, we find ourselves continually coming up short. I asked the therapist “Is it us, or is it them?” She replied something like marriage is complicated and it takes two to tango. For that she went to graduate school?

So being a nobody – the more I thought about it, the more I realized as long as I bring home the bacon, like my father did, and his father before him, I’m trying to be honest here, but being a nobody – the more I thought about it, the more it didn’t seem like such a bad thing … as men get older, the less chores, the less pressure to be a man/ the better chance of not having a heart attack … so I’m thinking to myself, why bother overachieving when you can live longer by being a nobody. Besides, the wife has a PhD. Nobody here I come.

On the other hand, there is another possible reason for my funk – the wife’s sister, Joy. This despondency of mine might be more related to the fact that Joy has lived with us for months now, and this is not just me talking … the woman is completely nuts. Ask the kids. Ask our neighbors. Ask the guy at the liquor store.

You know how some people refuse to take the vaccine because it causes (pick one) sterility, male breast enlargement, the compulsion to vote Democratic, or blindness? Well, Joy – and believe me she’s anything but … how can I say this? Joy believes her body is a shrine and she’s currently trying her best to create a second identity so she can have both vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna.

Yup, all four shots and after that, both boosters … I kid you not. The woman aspires to be a pin cushion, which seems to me more like what Andy in our group calls a V.I.P., a victim in pursuit. So the wife thought it would be a good idea to rent an RV and tour America to cheer me up, you know, to get me away from my nine to five, get me away from my gloom, and most of all, for me to have time away from Joy and tour a country full of so much joy.

With optimism in our back pocket, we eventually decided to spend ten days of our only vacation time in Utah. I don’t get it – why do so many people feel they’ve found Heaven in Utah? Look, I gotta tell ya straight out, I’m afraid of Mormons. I had an accident on a ski slope once and I’m deathly afraid of any form of white-out.

These Mormons – do they all have square chins and prominent cheekbones? Even the women look like Mitch Romney. You have to give them credit, though – Mormon businesses are everywhere you look. And boy do they plan ahead. They pop out children like they pop out businesses, employing their progeny to work for them as soon as they know how to manage the cash register. I was lucky if my kids agreed to take out the garbage.

Dr. Demento/
brought to you by Dr. Vanilla

Unfortunately, the uneventful end of my story is that we wound up traveling in a rented RV through a number of Utah National Parks where I swear I will never go again – not because of the preponderance of Mormons, but because I’m done with traveling at 16 mph, forced to stare at tailpipes and absorb gasoline fumes, made to endure bumper stickers from Texas and Oklahoma asking me to Honk For Freedom. If only freedom were that simple.

Me? I need things that are far less convoluted … maybe watching ESPN and being content to be nobody is simply who I am these days. Maybe being a nobody is only a brief glimpse, a chapter, a chapter to stand between what comes next and what’s come before. Do a few hundred empty bags of cheese doodles have to define an entire book?

The wife is cool. She’ll forgive me for most anything I do as long as I shower. Besides, we’re still in Christmas mode and I told her my New Year’s resolution is to give Joy to the world … I think she misinterpreted what I meant. 



kRIS Krankle – Perfect Strangers

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kRIS Krankle / guest columnist

founder of M.I.L.D.E.W.
Men with Intimacy and Learning Disorders Experiencing Women       

Perfect Strangers


Look, I either vote Republican or I write in my dog’s name. Democrats just annoy me, especially the elitist ones who went to Harvard, Yale, and Princeton and make believe their Porsches cost less than what I earn in five years. I’m more from the trenches where these kind of Democrats only visit to take a selfie.     

I believe that people you vote for, need to do a nine to five to earn our respect, that as a nation we are special – we work more, we vacation less, we try harder, we’re wired to give a helping hand. But with all that said, whenever I go to confession, I find myself pissed … which isn’t a surprise after a lifetime being pissed.

Like I said, I work my ass off, I go to church on Sundays when I could be watching football on the tube, I do everything right to please other people mostly … and now when my kids are finally gone, and the mortgage is paid, and I haven’t had a heart attack yet, I find myself surrounded by stupid.

In the beginning, I thought to myself what is it with this whole pandemic thing where people don’t wear masks, especially so many of my fellow Republicans? I don’t get it? For one thing, there’s a lot of ugly people out there, don’t you think? My guess is that masks would help to alleviate that problem. And for some of them with bikini threads up their ass on the beach, I would think they’d wear tents.

And not getting vaccinated? These people not wearing masks and not getting vaccinated, these are my people – I know them, I know how they’ve struggled, I know how they feel left behind. Does anyone get itthat by dying from Covid, you can’t vote for Trump anymore?


The wife has me watching this Hulu series called Nine Perfect Strangers. First of all, what kind of network wants to call themselves Hulu? Give me a break.

At first, I thought it was going to be some kind of sissy channel, all chick flicks and make-up advice, the kind that should be called Wedgie or The Swirlie Channel. But there are a few cop shows with some rather good-looking women and gratuitous nudity, so I’m good.

And I gotta tell you, if you want to know the truth, I don’t get this ‘binging’ thing. People watch these episodes on Netflix, and Prime, and Hulu for like days in a row? They’re binging on what, hummus and Vodka? Tell me, what kinda job do they have where they can call in sick to watch t.v.? I want that job.

So this Nine Perfect Strangers has all these big movie stars like Nicole Kidman who in her role as a therapist seems like she’s just returned from Venus where they use varnish as a moisturizer. Apparently, the series is about really rich people seeking therapy in order to come to terms with the ghosts in their lives.

That’s what the wife underlined in her notes for me, the ghost thing. She writes all of these program notes before we watch our shows … it’s like homework.

  • The quarantine changed everything. The wife and I now watch these cable movies every Friday night before bed. I’m not sure how all that happened? We’ve gone from ESPN to Hulu.

Nine Perfect Strangers is about if you have money and you’re willing to pay, you’re able to afford Tranquilium, a kind of Garden of Eden where people come to be healed. Apparently, there are a lot of people these days who need to be healed. I don’t know, in my book, it all seems like get a life. Apparently, that is the point of Tranquilium.

I never realized how much healing has changed … replacing communion and the collection plate, we now have CBD rubbed into your brain, retreats where people repeat over and over I love myself, and at Tranquilium you are given micro-doses of psilocybin in your morning breakfast.

And now that we’re halfway through the series, the wife says she wants us to do this micro-dosing as well, these off-ramps from reality as she calls it. I mean, does she remember who she married? I have no interest whatsoever. I’ve already been to Portland where the whole city is on psilocybin … look how that’s working out.

And to be honest, I’m not sure I want to explore any of these so-called ‘offramps’ …

I feel safer on the existential highway in my Buick which allows me to travel on cruise control. And let me tell you, no way the wife does this on her own. For me, it’s a bottom line kind of thing – I don’t want anyone to be checking out her bottom line.

I admit it, I’m not ashamed to say any of this. I don’t want some well-hung shaman to be administering drugs to my wife in some orgy-crazed sex lodge. Aren’t I doing enough? Are we forgetting movie night? And drying the dishes every third week? Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day?

I’m telling you, I’m doing it all.

I’ll tell you who needs to take some hallucinogens – the whole freaking Congress. I want Mitch McConnell to look in the mirror and see a turkey. And Lindsey Graham to see a weasel. And Ted Cruz to look in the mirror and see nothing.

So this Nine Perfect Strangers thing sure stretches my boundaries a bit and I’m doing the best I can even though Nicole Kidman’s Russian accent doesn’t work. It’s like Bill Clinton trying to pretend he’s from England or Christopher Walken trying to act as if he’s not an alien. But I watch because I want to do good by the wife.

I feel confident that we’ll solve this whole hallucinogenic brew haha. Although I am still trying to figure out what she means by saying our watching these chick series together prevents us from being perfect strangers.



kRIS Krankle – Can a Marriage Survive a Quarantine?

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kRIS Krankle / men’s issues

founder of M.I.L.D.E.W.
Men with Intimacy and Learning Disorders Experiencing Women       

Married to the same woman since graduating from high school, 52-year-old kRIS Krankle does his best living shoulder to shoulder with a well-educated, self-assured, progressive wife. In 2001, he founded M.I.L.D.E.W. (Men with Intimacy and Learning Disorders Experiencing Women), which now has eighteen chapters nation-wide. He has been writing for The Brewster Gazette and The Lemonade Stand for the last decade.


Can a Marriage Survive a Quarantine?

April 24, 2020


I attended a social distance group at M.I.L.D.E.W. recently and it helped me deal with how the wife and I will approach the next few months of lock-up. And actually, that’s the first thing I learned at group – not to call being sequestered with the wife by the term ‘lock-up’.

I learned a lot at group that day especially from Reggie who’s always been pretty much different than the rest of us. He attends group because he wants to find a way to teach his wife to be a better communicator. When I first heard him say that, I told him right to his face – “It sounds like she’s the guy and you’re the chick”. I received a group demerit for that.                                

So Reggie explained that it wasn’t going well in self-quarantine. Actually, that wasn’t true. Reggie’s wife was doing just fine, but Reggie himself was depressed. That is, Reggie was more depressed than his usual somewhat depressed. The group leader, a very fine-looking woman, Dr. Honeydew, asked him why? Reggie was quick to reply.

“It’s hard to explain. It’s a global crisis, right? We’re quarantined. And Peggy, she already has scheduling conflicts … it’s like nothing’s changed for her – she zooms and Facetimes and I just seem to get lost in the shuffle like it’s always been. I thought maybe this might be a time when, you know, when we could get closer or something. When we could communicate.”

  • The doctor asked Reggie – “What do you want to communicate about?” Reggie responded, “About our feelings.”
  • I almost lost my lunch. Meanwhile, everyone else looked at the floor and rolled their eyes. I thought to myself, here we go, another round of poor Reggie, sensitive Reggie, I-want-to-grow Reggie … Nancytime.     
  • Trying to be positive, Dr. Honeydew asked,         
  • “When you do communicate, Reggie,                         
  • what do you enjoy talking about?”

That made Reggie pause. He had to search his marriage inventory. It took him longer than usual and he began to become frustrated. He knew he had to come up with an answer.

“I don’t know, we hate politicians I guess … we sort of hate them together. And lawyers, definitely lawyers. Our mutual disgust with lawyers brings us closer. Meter maids. I’m not sure anyone likes meter maids. ” The doctor shook her head in a circular motion strategically signaling both yes and no, a graduate school move to make the client feel that the therapist understands.

“An’ I guess how stupid people seem to be,” Reggie confessed “that seems to bring both of us comfort. We definitely like that a lot.” How stupid everyone else is.

Classic. I’d seen this before in group. This was red meat for the doctor. ”What do you mean how stupid people seem to be? Explain that to me, Reggie.” Due to the doctor’s  major cleavage, no one saw Reggie shrugging his shoulders.  

“I don’t know … it’s like a lotta people are way more stupid than we imagined … it’s probably always been that way. I just didn’t notice it so much. I guess it’s just with the pandemic and everything, I’ve realized Peggy doesn’t need me, like at all. She’s totally self-sufficient. She might miss me in the beginning if I go down with the virus, but if push came shove … she really likes being by herself.” Reggie ended there.

In the beginning, looking at Reggie the whole time I’m thinking to myself – crimony, get a pair of huevos will ya? Yet as Reggie droned on as only Reggie can, I began to realize it was like some tune you couldn’t get out of your head … like Neil Sedaka or something, and as the group went on, I began to ask myself that same stupid question over and over again – does the wife need me or not? It was weird because it was a question I’d never asked before.

Of course, the science nerd of the group, Chad, raised his hand and par for the course, he told us something no one wanted to hear. He began with “In crisis, for humanity to survive, it’s best if the females totally outnumber the males.

“Theoretically you only need maybe five males to inseminate the world. You need far more females. Otherwise, repopulating would be way too slow  and peter out.” I thought to myself, peter out, well-played Chad.

  • Someone shouted from the far corner –                        
  • “I’d sure like to be one of those five guys.”               
  • Now that’s my kind of man. It must have been the new guy who started coming last week. I’ve got to get to know him.                                             

Sure, I could go deep and ask myself does the wife really need me … I could if I wanted. Unfortunately, she earns more than I do, so I do admit asking that question is a little intimidating. I could answer she needs me in a dark alley, you know, for protection. Most men are good for protection. It’s a property issue.

But does she need me in the way Reggie is saying? Sure, just like Reggie’s wife, she’d miss me if I wasn’t around, but she’s one of those women who always has things to do and places to go. The only place I have to go is pretty much to the john.

So as it turned out, the moral of the story and that group is I must admit I have to give Reggie credit for making us all think that day. And leave it to the good doctor to sum it up for the peanut gallery – she’s really good at knowing when an hour is over.

“Reggie, it’s o.k. to be vulnerable, to want to be needed or to need someone else yourself. All people need to be needed and that vulnerability is the raw material and glue that binds us all.” When I got home from group, the wife explained what all that meant. Good for Reggie.


kRIS Krankle – The Asylum

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kRIS Krankle / guest columnist

founder of M.I.L.D.E.W.
Men with Intimacy and Learning Disorders Experiencing Women       

The Asylum


I’m not sure I can survive this. Not the fact that I’m turning sixty in three months, because I’ve already come to terms with my joints aching, my eyesight failing, and my skin taking on a Mother Teresa look. That’s not the problem.

It’s the pandemic, and the fact that almost my entire family – two of my three kids, a minor bird, my wife, her mother, her mother’s sister, and some freaking aunt I never met who showed up for our one-week family reunion – the fact that the whole lot of them is living with me instead of at a Motel Six where they belong. It’s making me crazy. 

I’m exhausted … it’s now been a day and a half. We’re all quarantined in our house, sort of like Netflix except you’re the plot. The aunt is too old to fly home. Same for my mother-in-law and her sister. Apparently, our hipster son brought home the virus in his beard.

Meanwhile, the wife is telling me – “It’s up to you – you can look at this as either a comedy or a drama”. She’s smarter than I am, so I usually don’t get what she’s saying.

For me, the only good thing about being quarantined among seven people and only three bedrooms is that with my hearing having gone south, I can’t understand half of what’s being said.

And if I want my kids to leave the room, I just start talking about my own childhood and having to walk two miles to school with no feet.

It’s nothing personal. I love my family, I do. Sometimes I even like them. But let me make this clear – as far as living with seven people goes – any seven people – I don’t care if you’re Jesus with six strippers, I need my space.  

 I think I’m going to kill myself. 

The falling stock market, the sleepless nights, not being able to eat out, watching politicians pontificating their way through the funny house      of their self-serving quest to be reelected … and then this self-quarantine with my family for two weeks! No way.

And on top of all that, as if someone stole the clothes off my body and then came back for my underwear, there’s no freaking sports on television!

  • No sports. Freaking anywhere.                                             
  • What am I supposed to do? That part is cruel.  

I try to get out of the house, but when I walk down the street, I feel like I’m in this parallel world of people inside their separate transparent bubbles practicing social distance, an odd existence at best. But my M.I.L.D.E.W. therapist reminds me, who am I kidding? I’ve been practicing social distancing for years now. Almost a decade actually.

I’ve never had a cellphone … since my early fifties I’ve eliminated anyone in my life who doesn’t ask questions about me after talking about themselves … and when I go to The Brewhouse, I sit wherever I can be alone. 

So, does life allow me to be alone or socially distant in this pandemic? Of course not. I have to spend two weeks with half of the known gossiping world camped in my living room.

The historical meaning of asylum is a refuge or sanctuary … like the hunchback of Notre Dame who was granted asylum within the walls of the church.

In many ways, my garage has been my asylum – I have my tools and my cable in there, and I watch ESPN until I’m ready to go to bed. But now, two of my kids are sleeping in the garage and all they do is binge on Amazon Prime movies, drink diet soda, and eat potato chips.          

  • I think they have a skunk in there too.
  • One who apparently smokes.

When I take into account how many women are roaming throughout my house, there’s no doubt that the concept of asylum and its original lure has evolved into a matter of being quarantined in a mental institution

… isn’t that what an asylum used to mean? You know, like major bin material? Which brings up a point – why do immigrants want asylum in the asylum our president has created?

Not that I’m anti-immigration, but why the hell would they want to come here and kiss ass to a two-class society?

So look, I have this sense there are plenty of other men out there who feel the same way that I do. We’re not pretty boys.  We don’t flirt with the economy. We don’t have money to invest.

And besides, duh, 99% of the world’s population are bottom-feeders in an ongoing global economic puppet show doing its dance on some ice float of survival. The picture ain’t pretty, my friends.

Have a good day.