Agony Aunt: “My husband has quit his job to live in a barrel…”

Barrels lined up in a row
Makes for a comfy apartment.

Having been an agony aunt for many years, we’re never surprised by the deranged things some husbands get up to.

Today’s human male has taken to debasing himself with his familial responsibilities. Can you imagine that?!

He’s flouting his duty of care as a geezer and given up his worldly possessions. What a fool! We’re here to help his filly get things back on track.

Living it Large in a Barrel

Dear agony aunt. My husband, Harold, and I have been married for 40 years. But now, at the age of 75, he's made an unusual decision. 

I woke up one morning last month as usual and went to vomit in the driveway (I have a drinking problem). I do that out of spite because I want my problems to be my neighbours' problem.

Once I'd finished puking my guts out in full view of our neighbourhood, I looked to my left and saw my husband lounging in a barrel in the garden. 

"Harold!?" I said. He gave me a haughty, sneering look back and didn't say anything. His hearing has been playing up a bit of late so I shouted, "HAROLD!?" But he just continued with the sneering expression. 

Well he's decided to become a mute and will only commute with me via text message or written notes. Although he occasionally flips his middle finger at people, especially the kids in the neighbourhood who now come over to point and laugh at him.

He does look a little silly. He's overweight and has eczema, but is lounging in the barrel in a basic Roman robe. 

After weeks of this he explained in a written note that he's taken up the life of Diogenes the Cynic from ancient Greek times. He made a virtue of poverty by giving up all his belongings to live in a barrel in a marketplace, where the lazy freeloader begged for a living. 

Well, so, my husband is retired. He did well in life as a chip shop proprietor. He ran 17 chip shops in his career although 15 of them shut down because of rat and cockroach infestations...

But anyway, he's now just abandoned everything and wants to live in his barrel. Although he sleeps in his bed at night with me and uses the toilet etc. Otherwise he spends his time in the barrel. Except when football's on. Then he comes back inside and has some beers. One time he got a bit drunk and then spoke to me for the first time in weeks, calling me a, "Fine old broad!" And then belching really loudly. 

But then he went back to the barrel! What's going on!? A bunch of neighbours have written up a petition to stop him from "Doing a Diogenes" and the local council is getting involved. And as well for me, I'm sick of him lounging around there! Although some days it's nice because I don't have to deal with him grunting his way through the days. Plus, he smells bad and now the house smells nicer.

But still, he's my husband and when I married him I didn't sign up for this! What do I do? Yours sincerely, Claire

Hi Claire. What’s happened here your husband has gone batshit crazy and you could do with lugging him over to a mental institute.

Strap him into a straitjacket immediately, if that’s possible. If it isn’t, then you’ll have to think of a better course of action. Divorce etc.

Now, we’ve been criticised of late by some readers for always suggesting brutal measures such as:

  • Divorce.
  • Murder.
  • Hobbling.

Well, we think they’re tried and tested methods for any marriage difficulties. But point taken, perhaps we could do with some new ideas…

So we’ve come up with a few more suggestions:

  • Hobbling.

That’s our best shot. Sorry. We realise we’ve covered that point already.

But we genuinely think your best bet here is to hobble your husband’s ankles with a sledgehammer and drag him back indoors.

That way he’ll get used to modern luxuries again. And blow his barrel up with some TNT so he can’t get back into it.

Should this approach fail, then leave him for a younger man. All the best, Claire!

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