Larry and Butch were taking it easy one afternoon, both of them lazing on the back deck without half a worry between the two.
Larry took a long, slow pull off his beer and looked out at the yard. "Butch," Larry said, "You have done a damn fine job with this backyard. I especially admire the pagoda-like structure you built over the hot tub. That is a mighty nice touch."
"Thanks," Butch answered. "I'd like to take credit for the design, but it was actually somethin' the first ex-wife saw in a magazine. I didn't get around to building it for almost a decade after we divorced. Heh. I have a slight procrastination problem - might have been a factor in the divorce now that I think about it."
"The first ex-wife? Wasn't she the one everyone including her own Mother told you to run away from?"
Butch looked over at Larry, took another long slow pull from his beer, and replied, "Yep."
After a long pause Butch added, "Before you ask Larry I have no clue at this juncture why I married that woman. The Devil made me do it, I suppose."
"The Devil made you do it? That's a cop-out Butch, take some responsibility for your choices man."
Butch gazed off into the distance, taking in the huge cumulonimbus clouds on the horizon that indicated it was to be another stormy night. He looked over at his friend Larry and pondered his answer.
"I don't literally mean the Devil, Larry. I'm an Atheist, you know that, no God, no Devil. I use that expression as an euphemism of sorts, it's just a handy cliche."
Larry stared at Butch for a hard second and then quipped, "What you talkin' 'bout Willis? I just heard you say the Devil made you do it!"
"Yeah, I know that is literally what I said, but that is not
literally what I meant. That was a figurative statement. If anything, what I should have said was 'the Devils,' not 'a Devil,' made me do it, and further, I should have elaborated that it was my personal demons directing my actions, not some random-ass 'Devils' that happened to be in the neighborhood when I was with my even-then barely tolerable girlfriend that eventually became my first ex-wife."
"Dude, you are going all English Lit. major on me here. I have no idea what you just said. I barely graduated high school, remember? Could you put that in what they call Layman's terms?"
Butch considered this request from Larry for a couple of big sips, then put his right index finger to his lips as if he was trying to slightly hold back on a little bit of condescending sarcasm.
"Well, you were right when you said I should take responsibility for my own choices, Larry. But hell, what man wants to own up to his own shortcomings? It's much easier to quip 'The Devil made me do it,' than to say 'As a child of divorce I suffer from a grossly underdeveloped, static emotional state; one which construes an ideal of a mutually beneficial relationship that predisposes that I should feel lucky anyone is paying attention to me, much less saying they love me and exhibiting a willingness to engage in any level of physical intercourse with me.'"
Butch added, after a slight pause, "I don't think I can explain it any clearer."
Larry looked at his friend with a slight tinge of sadness, saying, "Dude, you're right, 'The Devil made me do it' is sufficient"
Larry and Butch proceeded to take yet another long slow draw off their respective beers and returned their attention to the storm clouds moving in from the horizon.