Sometimes when things get chaotic here, my youngest son says he doesn't want any children of his own. I tell him whatever floats his boat is okie-dokie with me. On the other hand, I'm glad I have kids, because I would be in SUCH serious trouble if I didn't, as the following story clearly demonstrates. Here's what happened.

My husband, our oldest son, his wife and I were driving home from a Christmas party in Sandy last month when we were cut off by another car on I-215.

OK. Let me explain something here. If there's anything my husband hates, it's being cut off by another car. It offends his honor in some deeply primal guy way that I pretty much don't get. Somebody cuts him off, and before you know it, the dude's all looking around for a gauntlet to throw down.

MY HUSBAND: Where's my gauntlet?

ME: I think it's still at the dry cleaner's.

Husbands! It's a full-time job just keeping them in clean gauntlets!

Anyway, I could tell my husband was annoyed, and in my mind's eye I could clearly see what would happen next. First, he would start tailgating the car ahead of us, which would then force that driver to take action himself.

OTHER HUSBAND: Where's my gauntlet?

OTHER WIFE: How should I know? I wasn't the last person to wear it.

No doubt the driver ahead of us would slow down to tick my husband off.

MY HUSBAND: I thought you said you picked up my gauntlets from the dry cleaner's last week.

ME: Excuse me. They're your gauntlets. I have better things to do than pick up gauntlets all day long.

So then my husband would try to pass the driver ahead of us and yell something out the window at him, only this guy would speed up and cut us off! AGAIN!

OTHER HUSBAND: Check the glove compartment. I think there's a spare gauntlet in there ...

Pretty soon our cars would start bumping each other like big-horned sheep in one of those old Disney nature films, and THEN before you knew it, the guy in the car ahead of us would whip out a gun. And, oh, oops! There goes our Christmas!

Anyway, this is how the whole thing played out in my head. Which is why I suddenly grabbed my husband's arm and shouted, "DON'T DO ANYTHING STUPID! HE COULD PULL A GUN ON US!"

A palpable silence fell over the interior of our car. Nobody said anything for a minute as they digested this startling piece of information. And then our oldest son cleared his throat. "Um, Mom. The car ahead of us is a M-I-N-I-

V-A-N. I could be wrong, but I doubt the driver is gonna shoot us."

Also, the driver turned out to be female. Probably she was just driving her daughters home from a "Nutcracker" ballet practice. Of course, it's possible her girls could have come after us with their toe shoes and bludgeoned us to death, but I doubt that, too.

Which brings me (finally) to the reason I'm happy I have kids: For those moments when you profoundly lose your mind, they're good for a reality check.

Always have been.

Always will be.

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