So what I’m saying is that as a mathematician, she has an Order of Operations for everything in life, even traveling. And this makes her bossy.

When traveling with my wife, it is important to realize that she is the boss. If you forget this, you will die.

When I say “you will die,” I don’t mean that men wearing black hoods will publicly execute you, necessarily, my wife might do the honors herself. What I mean is that she has planned our trips to a T and there is no wiggle room for doing fun or touristy things like, for instance, stopping to go pee.

My wife’s talent for being the boss stems from the fact that she is a former math teacher. I remember when she took her exam for her math teaching certification, long ago. She had to study like crazy. I helped by quizzing her with flashcards.

“Uh…” I would begin reading. “The inverse decibel is an absolute, or sublingual when found within the parenthetical equation of a biconditional Centroid Formula, and is thereby a null integer from which popular Pink Floyd album?”

Her answer would be so complex that I had no idea whether it was right or wrong.

So after her response, I would sort of nod and say, “Okay.”

Then she’d say, “Okay? Was my answer right or wrong?”

“Sweetie,” I’d say in a reassuring voice. “There are no right or wrong answers in life, only happy accidents.”

Which doesn’t work for a mathematical person. To a math-wiz, there are no such things as happy accidents, numerically speaking, only the quantified deconstruction of bivalve ellipses as expressed in the linear equation found in EXAMPLE 1:

S=15.9√ (2AB)df>L

So what I’m saying is that as a mathematician, she has an Order of Operations for everything in life, even traveling. And this makes her bossy.

She packs our car a certain way and becomes very annoyed if I so much as scratch my nose using the wrong tone. She plans our itinerary, accommodations, bathroom breaks, books our flights, makes reservations, drives the rental cars, and burps me after lunch.

I’m not saying that I don’t contribute to our travels. I do. Sometimes I adjust the radio dial or I point at the horseys.

But my most important role is to provide moral support in the form of saying, “Pull over, I have to pee.”

“PEE?” she will say. “HAHAHAH!”

This is of course a hearty joke because we are not allowed to pee. No sir. Peeing takes time, and time is money, and money is numbers, and numbers are defined, math-wise, as linear modular matrixes divided by multivariable supplemental equations charted on the Pat Sajak graph (as expressed) in EXAMPLE 2:

L=122.1√ (H)WHY>AbcdefgH

Please solve for X.

So usually we end up arguing about my urinary pangs until I am literally about to bust, whereupon she pulls over onto a secluded road and I introduce myself to a few cows while standing beneath a live oak and doing my business.

I have met hundreds of cows this way. Most often, they look at me with facial expressions that seem to ask, “Hey, what’d that innocent tree ever do to you?”

But before I even finish, my wife starts driving away so that I have to run alongside the moving vehicle and jump inside like I’m hitching a ride on a Norfolk Southern railcar. By then, my wife is already achieving speeds upwards of 123 miles per hour while I wave goodbye to the cows.

So I am writing this while we are on the way to a gig. In a few hours, I will be doing a one-man show at the Ritz Theater in Talladega, Alabama. Like usual, my wife is driving; I am writing.

And I promised myself I wouldn’t get too mushy when I started this column, but I have to.

My professional life could not have happened without this sharp mathematician beside me. I would not not be writing to you. We would not be going to Talladega, or anywhere for that matter.

If not for her, I would still be working a crummy job under a boss who used to take the credit for every good idea I ever had and who, despite the fact that I worked there for several years, kept giving me pay cuts while co workers got pay RAISES.

I still remember the day when I was at my lowest and my wife hugged me, saying, “Whenever you finally figure out what you were meant to do, I’m gonna be beside you. And we’re gonna do it together.”

And that’s pretty much how my life has happened. We do most everything together. I still don’t know what I’m “meant to do,” exactly. But we’re doing it. And it has been fun.

The truth is, it would all mean nothing to me if this woman wasn’t in the driver’s seat. Because I would have nobody to make me laugh. Nobody to kiss my cheek before bedtime and say in a sweet voice, “Why did they cancel our health insurance policy? Didn’t you pay the bill like I asked you last month?”

And there would be nobody to smile at me the way she does, a smile that tells me she’s genuinely proud of me.

So if you travel with her, remember she’s the boss. The boss of me. Forever. And then some.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go introduce myself to a few cows.


  1. Judy - October 21, 2019 7:59 am

    So funny!
    God bless your wife.
    God bless you for appreciating her.

  2. Harriet - October 21, 2019 8:05 am

    I love it when you write about Jamie. She sounds perfect for you.

  3. Meredith Smith - October 21, 2019 8:44 am

    She’s a keeper!!

  4. Brenda Belvin - October 21, 2019 9:21 am

    After your recent appearance in Aliceville AL, I purchased your books, of course. You signed a copy of your newest offering. But I asked Jamie to sign it too. She looked dumbfounded and asked why on earth I wanted her to do that. I explained, “Because you SAW him. It was your love and encouragement that helped bring his heart to all of us. And i love you for it.” She smiled like the morning sun, took my book, wrote a personal note, and signed it…”Love, The Boss”. What a gal…

  5. Katherine - October 21, 2019 9:53 am

    Haha….saw a mirrored reflection here. It makes me wonder if it usually happens this way – left brained meets right brained and they feel perfect together? After all (to use the cliche) opposites attract. In my relationship – I’m the ideas person and he’s the action person. All the bills get paid because his excel spreadsheet is always working and he hangs his shirts in the closet in ascending order according to color with two finger spaces between hangers – hanging to the left. I however, jam mine all together, no color coding and so smushed that it is a fight to find the right needed one. I make his life more interesting and he keeps mine from falling apart – perfect match, like yours. Have a happy time in Alabama – roll tide.

  6. Keloth Anne - October 21, 2019 10:07 am

    What a wonderful team you two are ♥️♥️♥️
    Keep traveling, telling stories and bringing happiness to everyone y’all meet😍😍
    Be safe

  7. AL SMOLKO - October 21, 2019 10:31 am


  8. Elizabeth - October 21, 2019 10:37 am

    Oh my gosh, this explains so much about how my hubby and I travel!

  9. Mara Russell - October 21, 2019 10:46 am

    Sean, I think both of you are blessed to have one another. Keep loving her like you do.

  10. Steve - October 21, 2019 10:48 am

    And this is exactly why I am not married. I used to be married…………………(an channeling my inner Forrest Gump) “and that’s all I have to say about that”.

  11. Naomi - October 21, 2019 11:17 am

    I finally figured out what is wrong with my husband. He was a math major. We traveled a lot and everything had to be planned to the minute, even to making sure we drive so that the traffic lights would be green when we get to the next intersection. When we went to Disney World some years ago, he planned every ride so that after we got off of one ride, the next one we went to would not have a long line. As far as using the bathroom, he won’t stop for me and I can’t go outside because I am a female. He won’t do anything that changes his minute-to-minute schedule, like letting me get a jacket out of the suit case when I am freezing. I can’t even tell you what happens if we make a wrong turn on the interstate and get lost.

  12. Karen - October 21, 2019 11:31 am

    God bless Jamie, and God bless you, too, Sean.

  13. Nancy - October 21, 2019 11:43 am

    I am your wife…only to a different husband. And I’m not a math teacher; I’m worse. I’m a nurse.

  14. Nita Risher McGlawn - October 21, 2019 11:54 am

    Ritz Theater in Talladega…isn’t that an oxymoron?

  15. Phil S. - October 21, 2019 12:20 pm

    Sean, I too am married to a math teacher. She’s retired now, but hasn’t forgotten a single algebraic formula. I was terrible at math, barely passed Algebra II; did OK in geometry and trig, but calculus? Forget it! Wifey, on the other hand, numbers is her game. She can’t spell kat, so I have to halp her with wurds. She also does all the driving on our trips. Once in a while she even gets behind the steering wheel. What a gal! In our younger years I was the one having to stop every couple hours for her to go potty. Now, it is the other way around, and she is enjoying that turn of events enormously. Like Jamie to you, she is the love of my life and the most wonderful gift God has given me.I thank Him every day for her. Supportive? Man, O Man! She has forever been propping me up on my leaning side. We are truly fortunate, my friend. Say Hi to the cows for me. I will do the same.

  16. Donna - October 21, 2019 1:26 pm

    Bwahahahaha: “no wiggle room for doing fun or touristy things like, for instance, stopping to go pee.”

  17. Marilyn - October 21, 2019 1:39 pm

    Had a good laugh while reading this. My husband was pretty good at math and was a long distance truck driver,so on vacation we went exactly to our destination with only food stops and if absolutely necessary (four young children in tow) there were potty breaks. But no site seeing or stopping at a garage sale – ever!! He was a good man though and we had almost 57 years together. Today is the six year anniversary of his passing and I am remembering the good times.

  18. Susan - October 21, 2019 2:32 pm

    Your wife and I are gonna have a chat!!! ( not about math, since I missed the day they were giving out math genes… Likely distracted by pretty colors in God’s backyard… Thus the extra creativity gene, because God, rolling His eyes, said ” We gave out all the math genes for today… Give her that leftover creativity gene and lets go home.”) My creativity gene is itchy and it is concocting a plan in overdrive at the moment… And she will love my plan!! Lol!!!
    Thanks for keeping me laughing!!!!

  19. Shelton A. - October 21, 2019 2:56 pm

    My dad was a math wiz and even after calculus in college, he could solve complex equations on his slide rule than I could on a calculator. Very humbling…but he would pull over to a bathroom when we travelled. So, I guess, you’re more of a cow expert than I am.

  20. Harriet Bryan - October 21, 2019 4:06 pm

    Hi Sean I laughed today at “My Wife!”Thanks! Opposites do attract! I just finished your new book.I twas a great plot. I’m sure you’re getting good feedback.
    i grew up in Montgomery and spent summers around Grayton Beach back when “The Store” was a great place to hang out and dance. Also hung out at Orange Beach, Foley etc. Great part of the universe!sThanks for your contributions to my bag of memories. Harriet

  21. Edna B. - October 21, 2019 4:28 pm

    You are so blessed to have Jamie for your wife and life partner. May you both have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

  22. Linda Moon - October 21, 2019 4:32 pm

    My husband has nearly died while travelling on road trips. We traveled to the Ritz Theatre and the Oak Hill cemetery in Talladega to see Jamie Dietrich and her husband,…what’s his name….., and also to visit some family who have already died. I am not usually the driver, but like Mrs. Dietrich, I am the boss of the driver; therefore we arrived safely and on time. And a good time was had by all, even while loving on my people who have passed on and later, listening to the professional writer, musician, and storyteller! Maybe Jamie Dietrich and I can travel together as mutual bosses and just enjoy the scenery!!

  23. Martha Young - October 21, 2019 5:00 pm

    Smart lady and you too !

  24. Bonnie Specchio - October 21, 2019 5:59 pm

    Sean just have an empty pickle in the car at all times.
    Bonnie, mother of a boy

  25. Mary - October 21, 2019 6:15 pm

    Sean, I was delighted to get to meet Jamie in Thomasville, GA in September. She is indeed a treasure. Definitely, a keeper!

  26. Robert Chiles - October 22, 2019 12:30 am

    The church (where I used to work) had these Tuesday staff meetings, and one (very organized) lady talked about how at the grocery store she always put the cold items in one corner of the cart, and the canned goods in another corner, and the fresh veggies in another corner, etc.
    My reply was, “You use a buggy?”

  27. Jack Darnell - October 22, 2019 1:14 am

    Just a little curious. Does she already have the hospital picked out for you since she read this? Just sayin’.
    Good read, sorry for the bandages etc you be wearing by now!
    Sherry & jack married 63+ years and still alive because I know how to say ‘Yes Ma’am’. With out sounding like a wise guy! 😉

  28. Dawn Bratcher - October 22, 2019 9:13 pm

    Your descriptions of life paint a vivid picture of my young life spot-on! What joy you bring everyday!
    Thank you!

  29. Estelle - October 24, 2019 7:25 pm

    I’m sorry to tell you that you are a member of the TWBC. That’s the Teeny-Weeny Bladder Club. I am one of those people who could go 12 hours without going. We know a couple who had the same problem. She had begged her husband for a potty stop. Since he wouldn’t she moved over next to him as close as she could get and let go. From then on when she had to go he would ask “right now or at the next exit”.
    Lesson learned. True story😂

  30. Kathryn Rose MacDonald - November 15, 2019 11:17 am

    I think your wife and my Beloved are related. LOL. He always lets me know precisely when I need to pee…………or eat…………or go to bed. He also plans our pub crawls/party activities down to the minute. I don’t know how I survived the 45 years before he married me….I should have been dead, for sure. LOL

    But, mate, lemme tell ya’……….I sure do love that man! I wouldn’t trade him for a new truck and a hound dog.


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