Tag Archives: God

A Modest Proposal

I remember the exact moment I fell in love with Heidi.  I looked up from brushing my teeth to find her standing in the doorway of my bathroom clad only in toe-nail polish and holding a bottle of my favorite beer.

Love, it seems to me, is fraught with perilous events, things over which we feel we have very little control, but are somehow propelled toward, which is why I think men try so hard to avoid it.  I learned this first-hand when I became engaged to Heidi some 14 years ago.  My decision to become engaged was actually brought on by a “discussion” that occurred the night before I proposed.  Heidi and I don’t have fights; we have “discussions”—and the discourse to which I refer was our first since I started seeing her.

Our discussion revolved around her insistence that I buy a dresser.  Being a bachelor at the time, I saw absolutely no need for a dresser.  I was perfectly happy with my system for storing clothes: when I ran out of hangers I piled them “neatly” on the floor next to my bed—unless I was hosting company, in which case I stuffed them in my closet.  For some reason, this arrangement bothered her, and she applied some convincing logic, explaining that “you can’t live this way”.  Now while I didn’t really buy her reasoning, I did decide that in the interest of domestic tranquility I should look into buying a dresser, and promised to do so the next day.

The next day at lunch I was scouring furniture stores feeling completely ill-equipped, which must have been obvious to the astute in my proximity because at one point a nice lady wearing too much perfume approached me and asked whether I needed help.

“I’m looking for a dresser.”

“What did you have in mind?”

“I’m not sure.”

“I mean what style suits you?  What sort of décor do you have now?”

“I have a small, one bedroom apartment, so something not too big I suppose.”

“I mean your current furnishings.  Contemporary?”  Pause.  “Metro modern?”  Nothing.  “Vintage casual perhaps?”

I continued to stare at her, my mind devoid of any data whatsoever.

“Sir?”

“Thank you.  I’m just looking for now.”

Clearly out of my element, I punted.  I turned and headed back to my car as I began to invent excuses about why I didn’t get a dresser, racking my brain for a suitable, believable alibi that would absolve my neglect of this critical problem of my improperly stowed clean attire.

And then it struck me: what I needed was a surrogate gift.  Some token of my sincerity, which I could present as a down payment on my good intention.  As I walked toward my car I spotted a jewelry store.  Jewelry.  Yes.  Small package; big pay-off.  Of course.  A delicate gold necklace with an opal pendant, perhaps.  Precious, yet not too expensive.  Viola; mission accomplished.

As I entered the jewelry store, I was immediately assaulted by a sign clearly designed to up the ante: “Show her how much you love her.”  Recalling my recent epiphany in the bathroom, I began to think about my relationship with Heidi in more serious terms.  Heidi is a really amazing woman—smart as a whip; an athlete with no equal on the tennis court; a woman with model good looks arrayed with a thick mane of long blond hair.  She seemed perfect to me at the time.  Besides, I had this nagging feeling that if I didn’t start getting serious about this relationship soon, I might never have my beer delivered in quite the same way again.

For the next half-hour, my thoughts wandered as I began to contemplate what was previously unfathomable.  I was officially divorced a mere four months prior.  Yet as I stood there looking at the glitter of romance within the crystal showcases, I was seriously considering a second foray into the land of until death do us part or until I can’t stand you anymore.  And this is the peril of my first reference.  We say until death do us part, but the fact is that we are all too comfortable with until I can’t stand you anymore.  But not to preach; I’m just a writer.

I was next accosted by a stunning vision who identified herself as Linnea.

“May I help you?”  A sense of déjà vu overtook me.

I’m looking for an engagement ring.” I replied with significant trepidation.

“See anything you like?”

My mind was again reeling—repeatedly asking a host of questions: “Is this what I want to do with my remaining years on Earth? What sort of setting would she really like? Can I really afford this?” and, much to my surprise, the most terrifying question of all: “Would she say yes?”.  As I contemplated the rest of my life, I wasn’t sure which possibility was scariest: a polite reply of “no; not now” or an enthusiastic “yes”.  I mean the proposition of forever is frightening on its own merit—with or without the one you love.

I looked up and the clerk repeated her question: “What sort of set did you have in mind?”  I stared at her, unable to speak.  Sensing my uncertainty, she reached down, unlocked the case, and pulled out a simple diamond trio setting.  “I think this is beautiful.”  I replied simply “OK; I’ll take it.”

I returned to the office cash poor and unable to work, distracted by what had now become an obsession for me.  I decided to make good use of the time and make the necessary plans for the evening, putting off actual work for the moment.  I made reservations at a local restaurant, and on the way home I stopped at the store to pick up some flowers and a card.  I wanted to set a romantic mood for the evening; she, of course, thought I was merely trying to make up for the previous night.

On the way to dinner, I was thinking about the evening ahead.  The restaurant was unique to Austin and had incredible romantic potential, perfect for asking the question at hand.  Sure that I was about to present her with a unique culinary and romantic experience, I asked “Have you ever been to Hudson’s on the Bend?”  “Once, about five years ago.”  she replied.  “It’s where I got engaged.”

Aghast, my lower jaw dropped, like one of those cartoon characters who suddenly realizes they just stepped off a cliff with nothing beneath them but air.  I frantically searched for an appropriate reply.  “You got engaged there?”  I asked, incredulous.  To which she replied “Yes silly.  I told you; Zeke proposed to me there.”  “He did?” was all I could muster.

“Will this bring up any bad memories?” I asked as I desperately tried to recover.  “Oh no.” she said.  “That was a long time ago.  It’s fine.”  Horribly disappointed, I briefly considered delaying my proposal, but I was already committed and at this point I doubt God Himself could change my mind.

Later at the restaurant, when I was halfway through my second glass of wine as we waited for dinner, I knew that it was now-or-never.  Looking at Heidi across the table, my breathing increased and I felt beads of perspiration forming on my forehead.  I nervously asked her to take my hand.  Unable to muster any creativity whatsoever, I recited the script most men utter in these situations.  I think it must come from the movies and TV shows our girlfriends force us to watch when we first begin dating.

“I love you, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you.” I began.  Uncertainty momentarily seized me as I tried to continue.  “Will you—will you marry me?”  I stammered.  Then, as if in slow motion, I reached into my pocket to retrieve the box with the gold and diamond token.  Fumbling as I opened it, I knocked my fork off the table, wincing as it unceremoniously crashed to the ground.

Somehow I managed to present the ring to Heidi without any further mishap.  Becoming a bit emotional, she wiped her eyes, smiled at me, and simply said “Yes.”  I breathed a thankful sigh of relief, took the ring from the box, and placed it on the third finger of her left hand.  I then looked deep into her eyes and contemplated all the wonderful things ahead for the two of us.

She returned my gaze, smiled, and softly said “Thank you for a wonderful evening honey.”

She continued “Oh; I meant to ask you: did you get a dresser today?”

Guy-o

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My World and Welcome to It

I am neither a practitioner nor a detractor of religion.  Please don’t ding me because I mentioned God for the second time in as many blog entries.  This entry is not about God or religion, although both figure prominently in this week’s presentation.  Like all of my entries, it’s about life—but guess what?  A significant majority of individuals among the human population believe in something akin to God so it does tend to surface, especially around the holidays.

Religion ruins everything in my opinion, which is not to say there is no God, or that the Christian Bible is invalid.  It’s merely the case that religion was invented by man as a way of approaching God.  When you boil it all down to its essence, religion is a set of beliefs that require a code of conduct; essentially a collection of rules and rules are, of course, ultimately necessary.

What I can’t abide is when people demand that you live according to rules that suit them and which we have not all agreed to.

Example #1: Maybe you don’t like to drink because you think drinking is bad.  Step off.  It’s legal and I like alcohol.

Example #2: Maybe you don’t think people should own guns because you think guns are dangerous unless they are wielded by soldiers or law enforcement agents.  Get stuffed.  It’s Texas and not only do we own guns, a significant minority among us carry a gun on our person while walking around in the general public—so be polite when you come to visit.

Example #3: Maybe you think that drugs are bad.  So do I.  My son is doing time for a meth-induced crime spree.  Bad stuff—but he’s doing time for the stuff he did, not for the meth he consumed.  So why would anybody lump that kind of thing into the same class as someone toking up in the privacy of his or her own home, and why would anybody care?  I don’t and neither should you.

The point: religion tends to be another example of having a behavioral code that casts a judgment on those who do not abide by it.  That doesn’t mean religion has no value, and in my opinion the world would be a poorer place without it because the behavioral code was created with positive intention.  For religious practitioners, religion is uplifting, gives them a purpose greater than themselves, and I hope it inspires them to leave the world better than they found it.  To me that last one is what a belief in God is all about.  However, I do that in ways that don’t involve subscribing to the dogma of a religion.

My wife on the other hand uses religion as a platform for her exploratory spiritual journey she calls life.  She has belonged to several Protestant denominations, was a member of an alleged cult called The Way, has practiced Buddhism, and recently flirted with becoming Catholic.  Now if you are standing on my piece of carpet, you might be asking yourself, “What’s next?”  Excellent question.

This part of the story begins as it typically does.  I had just returned home from an outing with the guys and having crossed the threshold of my front door began looking for people who live with me.  I finally made my way to the den where I found Heidi, Cindy, and grandma watching TV.

“What are you watching?” I asked.

Sister Wives.” replied Heidi.

“Reality TV again?” I inquired blinking in disbelief.

“Yes.  This one is about a Mormon family who practices polygamy.  There are four wives and 13 children and they just moved from Utah to Las Vegas.”

“Las Vegas?  They moved to Las Vegas?”

“Yes.  Sit down and be quiet.”

Now my wife, who approves everyone one of these blog entries has decided that it’s time to make something crystal clear.  Her sister Cindy who lives with us is here primarily to assist with their elderly grandmother who suffers from dementia.  She is in no way my wife, and conversely, the Sister Wives on the TV show at hand are not biological sisters.  I don’t know why that clarification is necessary—but there it is.  I thought the fact that it’s a show about Mormons and the fact that I’m not a Mormon was explicit enough, but OK; whatever.

Sighing, I poured myself a round and sat down on a barstool in front of the fireplace.  Tonight’s drama: guys’ night out for Kody, who doesn’t drink because he’s Mormon, and Girls’ night out on the town for his four wives, who also don’t drink or gamble because they are also Mormon.  A conversation with myself spontaneously erupted in my mind.

“Clever.  I see where this is going.”

“He’s going to field questions from his three best friends whom he met just last week about what it’s like to openly live with four women.   And the girls will be running around Sin City trying to avoid the omnipresent vice.  Yes of course.  It’s about the curiosity surrounding polygamy.  Genius!”

In the next episode (yes we watched two of them) they are invited to Boston by a college professor of religion to address her class on their lifestyle.  This episode contained the only bright spot.  Predictably, at one point a bitter feminist poses a question to one of the wives: “How would your husband feel about you having four brother husbands?”

The wife sitting next to her leaned into the microphone and politely replied “Ma’am, who in their right mind wants to live like that?  No thank you.  I have six children and I value what little privacy I have.  I don’t need three more husbands mucking things up.”  Classic.

You see what’s coming don’t you?

A week later I found a pamphlet at the end of the bar on, you guessed it, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, also known as the Mormons.  Of course I am way too dense to put two and two together, let alone come up with four.

Fast forward yet another week.  I was in my office writing and I suddenly realized there were several people talking in the living room, and I didn’t recognize all the voices.  I decided to take a break, refill my scotch glass, and investigate.  I passed the living room on my way to the kitchen and out of the corner of my eye I spotted a blonde woman I didn’t recognize sporting a pony tail.

I filled my glass and walked into the living room to find my wife having a conversation with two 20 year-old girls sitting on the couch.

“Hi.” I quipped.  The two strangers both looked at me and returned my greeting.

Heidi introduced me.  “This is my husband Guy.  Guy this is Sister Bruce and this is Sister Fitzgerald.  They are missionaries of the Mormon church and we’ve been getting to know each other.”

Cold beads of sweat began to ooze out of my forehead.  “Oh; you have.  How uhm nice.” I stammered.  Flummoxed, I spit out “Nice to meet you girls.” and then turned to walk back to my office.

The next evening Heidi was thumbing through what looked like a Bible and some other literature as she sat at the bar with Cindy and Grandma.  “Here; let me read to you guys about the book of Mormon.”  I stifled the groan.

I listened patiently as she talked about plates containing sacred scriptures and some guy whose actual name was Mormon and claimed to be a prophet who foretold the coming of Joseph Smith and Jesus appearing to the Native Americans, and a bunch of other crap I can’t remember.

When she finished I mockingly asked “Are you contemplating becoming a Sister Wife?”  “Maybe.” she replied coyly.

OK; this is going to go down in one of three ways.  1) She’ll forget about becoming Mormon when it loses its novelty the same way she forgot about converting to Catholicism. 2) She’ll convert and leave me for a practicing Mormon to be his fourth wife. 3) She’ll convert and invite a Sister Wife into our home as a permanent resident.

I’m personally pulling for option #3, but only if Megan Fox is available.

Guy-o

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Holiday Cheer

I am not the Grinch.  At one time Christmas was my favorite time of year.  I grew up in a place that received snow every year—many times during the winter holidays.  It seemed kind of magical.  The time off from school, the change of seasons, and—of course—presents.

Then I grew up and had kids of my own and the Holiday season became about making it special for them.  Actually I’m not sure I ever really grew up, but I certainly had children.  Call me crazy but in addition to doing my best to make the holidays special for them, I also made certain they understood what we were celebrating.  At that time political correctness was being invented, but had not yet been integrated with the infrastructure of our culture.

So I actually talked with them about the birth of the Son of God and what that meant to Christians.  Which reminds me: I recently saw Bill Maher’s film Religulous.  I think Bill is a very funny, surprisingly intelligent guy, but in my opinion he has the wrong idea about the Bible.  I don’t want to get into it here; I just wanted to offer a nod to anyone who doesn’t quite buy into the whole Christian aspect of the holiday season.  You’re entitled to that opinion; I don’t care—but if you’re offended that I mentioned the birth of the Son of the Almighty, step off.  It’s freaking Christmas.

Over the years, however, I’ve become a little jaded about the holiday season, which seems to be less about holiness and more about parties and commercialism.  Have you ever noticed that people on the road become absolutely unbearable during the holidays?  Also, I noticed that there are two variables that turn otherwise courteous drivers into road-rage warriors:

Proximity to

  • Christmas Eve

and

  • Your local shopping mall

It seems that the intensity of the rage enjoys a linear relationship to how many calendar days we are from the 25th of December and how many miles you are from the shopping Mecca in your part of town.  Isn’t it great the way people greet the Salvation Army volunteer on the 23rd with a twenty and a Merry Christmas on their way to the car and then offer vulgar gestures if they think you cut them off leaving the parking lot?  Classy.

Then there are all the other unwanted intrusions—like Christmas decorations and incessant holiday music the day after Thanksgiving.  Look; I just don’t want to hear dogs from 1955 singing Jingle Bells because I hit the wrong button on my car radio.  It was a clever trick at the time but how about this?  Archive that crap and bring it out to amaze high school students once each year or as a college exercise in psych 101 when you’re covering Pavlov.

Also, some of the traditional music starts to lose its meaning.  Hark the Herald Angels Sing and Silent Night have been functionally reduced to children’s nursery rhymes.  For those who don’t subscribe to a Christian approach to life it doesn’t mean anything in the first damned place, and for those who do you’ve killed the original meaning when it comes up in rotation as list play 243; for the Faithful it has been reduced to meaningless gibberish.

Next we have the proclivity to run up your credit card balance because of the pressure to artificially make it special to friends and loved ones.  Do your kids really need the latest electronic gaming box or iThingy?  Does your wife or girlfriend really need another piece of jewelry or perfume or some other expensive trinket?  Does your boyfriend or husband really want that shirt, tie or whatever girls buy for guys these days?  Please.  Pick me up a box of practice handgun ammo and be done with it.  It’s 20 bucks and I can buy my own clothes.

This brings me to my own personal holiday burden: the dreaded family Christmas letter.  That unattractive sound you just heard was me groaning as I sit at this sports bar drafting this entry.  Don’t get me wrong I love to write—but this beast is just so unwieldy.    First of all, it’s not even to my family.  It’s to Heidi’s family.

Recently my family has started to become closer—but for a decade and a half it hasn’t been that way.  Heidi’s family, however, is very close and always has been.  They call each other.  They keep in touch.  They know what’s going on in each others’ lives.  And, of course, they have a family Christmas letter.  The purported purpose of the letter is to keep in touch and to know what’s going on in each others’ lives—but wait.  They do that without the Christmas letter, and yet this chore falls to me.  Why?  Because I’m known as the writer in the family.

Now what’s interesting to me is that my wife also wrote and published a book as well.  So why am I the writer who is asked to take on the burden of writing the Christmas letter to her family about what they’ve been doing all year, even though they already know what they’ve been doing all year?  Because she said so; that’s why.

Now this year, I’m not doing anything anyway.  I’m just hanging around waiting for the next thing, and so writing the family Christmas letter isn’t really that big of a deal—but there’s always a catch.  The catch in this case is that my wife is the assigner and I am the assignee.  What that means is that I am working for her, and by extension she has to approve the final product.  It also means that I’m not compensated directly.  Well she does give me an allowance, which I spend on fast food, whiskey, and beer—but you get the point.

As I sat at my desk two weekends ago watching 1,000 Ways to Die, a series on bizarre ways that people have been accidentally killed, she tossed the assignment across my desk to me in the form of a directive.  Heidi often addresses me in this way because, as I’ve already pointed out, she’s in charge of me.

“I need you to write the family Christmas letter.”

“I did that last year and you rewrote it.”

“No; I edited it.”

“I’m pretty sure you rewrote it.”

Raising her voice, she insisted “I edited it!”

“I need talking points for your parents.”  She left my office and returned about two minutes later with a bullet list.  “Pretty impressive.” I thought. “Do I have a deadline?”

“Yes.”

“When is it?”

“This weekend.”

“OK.”  I responded as I turned Netflix back on to watch deathtrap #20: a man crawls into an industrial clothes drier to inspect it and the door closes behind him.  Whoa!  Totally gruesome.  Why the hell am I watching this crap?

I turned it off, reviewed the bullet list from Heidi, pulled up Word, and began to write.  For the next two hours I crafted a beautiful tribute to her father, mother, sister, grandmother, and her, with an honorable mention of myself.  Virtues were extolled.  Tribulations and successes alike were offered.  The living of life was celebrated.  All in Heidi’s voice.

Did I mention that this was an assignment from Heidi’s mother?  No; I didn’t think so.  Her mother always looks to her for this assignment, and Heidi invariably passes it onto me.  It is a labor of love in which I say the things about each family member I think Heidi would say so that her mother will not be disappointed.

Noon o’clock rolled around and I was done.  I walked into our bedroom where she was working diligently on whatever Heidi works on when I’m watching Netflix and YouTube videos.

“I’m done.  Do you want to look at it?”

“Sure!” she replied enthusiastically.

I waited impatiently wanting to head out for time with the guys.  She made a few minor corrections, giggled a couple of times, and seemed truly touched on one or two occasions as she read my sterling copy.  When she was done she looked up at me and smiled.  “That was very nice honey.”  Smugly I inquired “Am I dismissed?”  “Yes.” she replied.  “I just need to tighten it up a bit.”  Off I went for beer and pub-grub.

Fast-forward to the next afternoon.  After wasting most of the day plotting Texas secession from the Union, I wandered into her office and asked “What’s happening?”  She answered “Just working on the Christmas letter.”

“You’ve been working on it for a while.”

“I know.”

Puzzled, I left the room.  A few hours later I overheard her talking to her mother on the phone.  She was dictating the “tightened up” version of the letter I so lovingly crafted.  I entered the room and listened as she read the foreign sounding tome into her high-tech cell phone.  Sometime later she hung up and she looked over at me.  I guess the horror on my face was apparent.  “What?” she inquired.

“You rewrote it.”

“No; I edited it.”

“You portrayed your dad as a former covert agent, running drugs for the CIA.  He was a B52 pilot in the Air Force during the cold war.”

“Right.  It’s a where are they now kind of format.  Mom loved it.”

“You said your sister was interviewed by Entertainment Tonight.“

“Yes.  I thought it would be funny.”

“I thought the point was to inform the rest of the family of what we’ve been doing for the last year.”

“Right.  So I referenced the kind of thing they used to do in an exaggerated way and made it relevant to what they’re doing now.  It’s called creative license; look into it.”

“You said your mother was on a reality TV show flipping houses!”

“Well she did make a lot of money buying old houses in the right neighborhood and fixing them up.”

Nonplussed, I shook my head and offered “I see.”  I then shuffled out of the room, poured a glass of scotch, and put on some traditional Christmas music.

Newsflash: Jesus just cancelled his tickets for the Second Coming.

Merry Christmas,

Guy-o

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A Wedding or Two

My youngest daughter, Ashley, was married last month.  This followed my oldest daughter Rachel’s wedding seven months earlier.  A wedding ceremony springs from a simple concept: two people publically profess their love and announce their intention to spend the rest of their lives together.  It occurs to me, however, that intention is fulfilled by the invitation, which seems in my mind to nullify the need for the wedding itself—but that fact is rendered academic to the blushing bride.  Somehow the wedding ceremony has evolved into something so elaborate it is terrifying to the average American male.

Now to be fair, weddings have been lavish occasions throughout recorded history in every culture.  Intellectually, I understand why, but it seems today they are not merely elaborate.  They have become exorbitant spectacles in which the bride must be appeased like some sort of volcano goddess who makes demands at the point of an emotional gun.  I think the term in pop culture is bridezilla.

The obsession does not end with the bride, however.  I recall the latest British royal wedding for Kate and William.  By the way, is it appropriate to call them by their first names?  I digress.  The word recall is a bit of an overstatement because I never saw the wedding so I don’t actually recall any of it.  I do, however, remember that a lot of people on this side of the pond (as they say) set their alarms to be awakened at an hour that should be reserved for other events.  Things like your wife going into labor, for example.

Sorry for the aside, but I am suddenly compelled to ask a rhetorical question: why is it that women tend to go into labor when you’re supposed to be doing something really critical—like sleeping?  I think it might have something to do with God needing to be entertained.  To me it’s no different than creating two creatures seemingly from different planets and then programming them to seek each other out to live together in something called marital bliss.  I think he just kind of gets a kick out of watching the aftermath.

So what exactly is the appeal of royal weddings specifically and wedding events more generally?  What would motivate my wife and ex-wife to invest so much time and effort into months of planning, whole families to temporarily relocate, and for otherwise rational people to get up for the 4:00 a.m. pre-game royal wedding show?

In the case of my ex and my wife it could be argued that they simply love my daughters and want to give them what makes them happy.  Fair enough—but that begs the question: why would this particular thing make a person happy?  Further, it certainly doesn’t explain why someone would go out of her way to watch a wedding between two people who are quite literally strangers to her.  No; there’s certainly more to the appeal than a simple act of loving kindness or latent voyeurism.

I asked a friend of mine about that out of mere curiosity—just a sort of passing question.  At the time we were walking to a diner to have lunch and she suddenly stopped and looked at me as if I had asked about why we need air and replied with something akin to “Because we’re not fish you moron.”

She then went on to describe the importance of publicly declaring your vows to love honor and cherish another human being and celebrating a Holy union in a world devoid of moral integrity.  “Besides,” she continued “what’s wrong with doing something nice for your daughters?  Did either of those weddings really disrupt your routine so much that you were significantly put out by spending an afternoon and two evenings to be there for each of them on their special day?”  Feeling the need to disarm her I simply capitulated: “No.  Do you want the bar or a booth?”

For the next week I spent a lot of time just wondering about the whole notion of weddings and what it means to decide to marry.  I finally arrived at the conclusion that it means something entirely different to women than it does to men, and it’s something we’re not really going to understand—ever.  For one thing I think the event has a significance for women most men can’t possibly understand.

I have another good friend who was married about a year ago, and planning the event was as important to her fiancé as it was to her—but that’s an anomaly in my experience.  My oldest daughter Rachel’s best friend was married a couple of years ago, and there were two things important to the groom in that case: he wanted a lot of Sinatra at the reception and he wanted a personalized beer stein for each of the groomsmen.  For the record I put that sort of planning squarely in the category of First Class, but that’s not the point.

The point is that the former is the exception and the latter is the rule in my experience.  I think that’s because the groom is celebrating because he decided to get married, he got the girl, convinced her to marry him, and now he’s done.  He can stop looking.  It’s sort of like taking down that first deer.  Mission accomplished right?

I think women see the entire affair differently in a way that makes the ceremony more typically important to her than it is to him.  I offer that for a number of reasons.  Part of it was my friend’s reaction when I wondered aloud about why these things become so big so fast.  I also noticed that both my sons in law had a few very brief vows they had prepared for the bride, which can essentially be summarized as “I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”  Both my daughters approached the altar with near-tomes that rivaled the Bible.

These vows were offered with intense emotion and great passion.  There were confessions of how their lives had been changed by their betrothed and why they were taking this step.  What it meant to be standing at the altar with this person they loved and respected.

And I guess that’s the essence of the difference.  They had a sense of what that moment at the altar means that eludes most men.  I think most men see the ceremony as a formality.  I think most women see the ceremony as a defining moment in which bride and groom publicly declare that they are from that point forward entwined in a Union that bears declaring.

That doesn’t make it any less meaningful to a guy, but the ceremony doesn’t seem to carry the same emotional weight that it does for a girl.  Like most things, the experience just seems different for each, and the desire on the part of the bride for the ceremony to be “perfect” can make it kind of brutal on the groom.

Case in point: I was standing in for one of the groomsman at Ashley’s wedding rehearsal.  My dad was performing the ceremony and he said “This is the point at which communion will be offered.”  The groom (also named William by the way) inquired “So how will we do that?”  I thought he meant “Will wedding attendees be participating?” but it turned out to be a deeper question.  “What do you mean?” Ashley replied.  “Well we’re Catholic, so can you provide some details about this particular part of the service?”

I was raised Baptist but have attended Catholic services including a Catholic wedding.  I knew exactly where this was going and I was pretty sure Ashley did not.  I looked on as Ashley attempted to answer William’s question as William continued to repeat it, each weighing in with greater and greater verbal force.

I winced a little and then squirmed involuntarily, causing the flask of Johnny Walker in my vest pocket to rattle against the pistol on my hip concealed by my blazer, which was a little embarrassing.  I was meeting the groom’s family for the first time and I wasn’t certain how they felt about either of those things.  Of course in addition to being Catholic, they were also from Louisiana so I was guessing they were OK with the whiskey.  What gave me pause is having both.  In church.  At the same time.  Some people are funny about things like that.

Frankly this only reinforced my confusion about wedding events and the importance the bride places on everything being just so.   Here’s what I did figure out: it’s really important to have friends like Johnny Walker and Jack Daniels to confide in when you’re dealing with wedding “situations”—whether you’re the groom or the father of the bride.

Guy-o

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