Much of the best effort I’ve put into this blog is the result of flash fiction challenges issues by the estimable Patti Abbott. (Next episode to premier on September 26.) Patti recently wondered why men were loath to whip out (her term) their wedding pictures to show their friends, as women will do at the drop of a hat, even if they have to drop the hat themselves.
A large part of that is because men are far more considerate. Having been on the receiving end of photo sharing experiences, we know the last thing any man wants to see is another man showing him pictures of an event where a good time was had by all, and you were not invited. Not only is this rubbing salt, it implies your absence was a contributing factor to the general merriment. We care more about our friends than that. (We are also aware upset men are far more prone to physical violence than are women, who tend to write off anything we do to our being men.)
The enormous respect I have for Patti and her opinions has led me to search the bowels of my soul and decide to share with all of you not just the pictures of my last (not just most recent; last) wedding, along with a bit of the story.
The Beloved Spouse and I were joined in wedded bliss the day after Thanksgiving, 2009. (I don’t remember the date. It doesn’t matter. We agreed in advance to always celebrate our anniversary on the day after Thanksgiving. We’re guaranteed to be off work and she doesn’t have to worry about me—the man—forgetting. (The fact the day after Thanksgiving is universally known as Black Friday is but an unfortunate coincidence.))
Shy, unassuming sorts we are, we wanted a quiet ceremony among those closest to us. We also wanted to make it a surprise. We invited my parents down for the weekend. (My would-have-been-in-laws had gone to their greater rewards before we had a chance to meet.) We arranged for The Sole Heir to stop by under false pretenses. She brought The Boy Friend, who was not in any way prepared for what was to come.
We were all sitting in the living room watching hockey (Pens vs. Islanders) when a knock came at the door from a young woman dressed in medieval garb, asking if anyone wanted to get married. The Beloved Spouse and I opened the Wedding in a Box we’d been keeping under the bed, passed out appropriate tee shirts
and recited the following vows (bonus points to those who recognize the inspiration for these vows):
I know this was unexpected, so I will be brief.
(Allow scroll to fall open. It’s about four feet long.)
We are gathered here today on this not quite so solemn as some might have it occasion because when one heart exhibits migratory behavior toward another, it’s a force of nature, and not a question of where it grips it. Corky and Dana have married before. The marriages fell over and sank into the swamp. They tried again. Those marriages burned down, fell over, and sank into the swamp. So here they are, having learned from experience and lived as married in all but name (nudge, nudge, say no more) to build the strongest marriage in all the kingdom.
Now, to make things legitimate, please recite the vows each of you has chosen especially for each other to mark this solemn occasion.
I, Corky, take you, Dana, as my lawfully wedded husband. I promise to at least consider bringing a lasagna when coming from the basement, and not to turn you into a newt, even though you’re sure to get better. I pledge not to undertake, nor even to suggest, any home improvement projects for at least one year, unless I think of a really good one. Maybe a shrubbery. One that looks nice. Not too expensive. Maybe two of them, place one slightly higher, so you get a two-level effect with a path through the middle. I shall feed the squirrels only in times of most dire famine, to prevent them growing into the most foul-tempered rodents you ever laid eyes on, with big, pointy teeth that will do you a treat.
I, Dana, take you, Corky, as my lawfully wedded wife, in this ceremony crafted to our own particular—uh—uh—
Idiom, to share in my great tracts of land in a very real, and legally binding sense. I promise never to make you live in a self-perpetuating autocracy, but in a an anarco-syndicalist commune. We shall take it in turns to be a sort of executive officer for the week, but all the decisions of that officer have to be ratified at a special bi-weekly meeting. Soft dirt shall not tempt me, even when I find unidentified and previously unannounced vegetables in my dinner, and I shall not say “Ni!” to you unless strenuously provoked.
The rings, please.
CORKY AND DANA
I give you this ring as a symbol of my love for you. Wear it and think of me and know that I will always love you.
And now, to symbolize the coming together of these two hearts, and to culminate this eccentric performance, the rings shall be placed on each other’s fingers simultaneously. Corky, Dana, clasp the rings in your right hands, and extend the fourth finger of the left. Place the rings on your new spouse’s finger when I am at the count of three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number counted, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt I not count, neither count two, excepting then that I proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number of three, being the third number, be reached, then slide the ring onto the waiting finger of your beloved’s hand to consummate the marriage as much as can be done in a public setting.
CORKY AND DANA
And now shalt we go forth to feast upon the lambs and sloths, and carp and anchovies, and orangutans and breakfast cereals, and fruit-bats and large—
Skip down a bit.
Ummm, yes, right here.
What has been joined here today let no man put asunder, lest the Lord blow him to tiny bits, in His mercy. You may kiss the bride.
Due to a lack of space and foreknowledge, attendance was sparse, as expected. To add to the family atmosphere, other arrangements were made.
Which leads us to the final, and best, reason not to show your wedding pictures around: there’s always someone who gets left out and cops an attitude.
Now that I think of it, I can’t recall seeing Patti’s wedding pictures anywhere. What’s up with that?