While my wife Becki claims to speak English, I would contest otherwise: She speaks Wisconsinese. We have been together for almost four years now and, with the aid of a translator, I have been able to understand more of her indigenous language with the passage of time.

For instance, she regularly says “I need a scissors,” or “Pass me a scissors, please.”  Which is like saying, “Pass me a pants, please.”

“Pass me a scissors, please,” is Wisconsinese for (wait for it) “Pass me the scissors, please.” Communication breakdowns like this have no doubt visited divorce upon hapless couple after hapless couple. I have learned, however, that when I do not understand what my wife is saying, if I simply choose to take some form of action, she is generally satisfied. If I hand her, say, a stapler or a spoon when she asks for “a scissors,” she will laugh it off.  “Oh you silly boy.” Little does she realize I have just dodged a bullet or, rather, “a scissors.”

She has also been known to say, “Pass me a scissor, please,” which confuses me even more. No one says, “Pass me a pant.” Why is it okay to say “Pass me a scissor?”

Last night Becki and I were walking on 6th St. here in Lawrence, just trying to rid ourselves of excess holiday pounds. My parents, saints that they are, bought us a four-pound canister of jelly beans for Christmas. It is now a zero-pound canister of jelly beans, and I am now four pounds heavier for it. So I am walking off jelly beans. In the midst of last night’s walking, Becki noticed a singular scissor lying in the grass next to the sidewalk.  Not a pair of scissors, mind you, as there was only one blade. It had been separated from its twin, left in the grass just outside of Ace Hardware. If this “scissor” had its own Facebook page, it would undoubtedly self-report its relationship status as “single.”

“See?” Said Becki. “A scissor.”

“Yes, that’s right,” I said. “A scissor.” For a split second, the universe had validated her Wisconsinese.

“It’s okay for you to say ‘a’ before the word ‘scissor’ right now, Becki,” the universe seemed to say. “For that matter, it’s okay for you to say ‘scissor’ instead of ‘scissors.’  Just this once!”

It is worth mentioning that we were only a few miles west of a hair salon called Sizzors. I know the owner is probably trying to be cool, but I cannot help but see the spelling of the salon’s name as yet another case of someone playing fast and loose with a pair of a scissors. And everyone knows you shouldn’t play with scissors. Or matches. Or nail guns.

If you see my wife out and about, shopping for shoes or earrings, make sure you ask her to pass you “a scissors” or “a scissor.”  She’ll know what to do.