Friday, June 23, 2006

The Wedding Of The Decade

Somewhere in my ranting last Thursday, I promised to write about my wedding. I will. As a matter of fact, I'll do it today (or at least start it today - it will probably run for a week) but I have a good story to tell and no better place to put it, so since it concerns MY WIFE, this seems as good a time as any.

Friday night we ordered some Chinese food. One of the items we ordered was Moo Shi, which is sometimes known as Moo Shu. Some of you may not be familiar with Moo Shi (or Moo Shu) so I'll explain what it is. Moo Shi is shredded vegetables and some sort of meat (in this case, shrimp) stir-fried with spices in a brown sauce. An order of it always includes four or five of what are called "pancakes", but are really closer to crepes. The Moo Shi may be eaten by itself, but the usual way of having it is to lay a couple of forkfuls onto one of the pancakes, put some plum sauce on top of it, and then roll it up like a cigar. It may then be eaten by hand or with a knife and fork; either way is acceptable.

As I began to prepare some Moo Shi, MY WIFE tried to give me a better way to enjoy it. She instructed me to first put the plum sauce on the pancake, spread it over the entire surface with a spoon, and then add the filling. Following that, rather than just roll it up like a cigar, she had me fold it over twice - the plum sauce acting as an adhesive - and then tuck the ends in under the main body. She said, "That way, when you eat it you won't get as much of the juices running down your... your... your arm shins."

I was momentarily bewildered. Arm shins? What the heck are arm shins? I then realized that she meant my forearms, so I started laughing like a loon.

"Hoo hoo hoo! Arm shins? Hoo hoo! Arm Shins?!? Hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo! ARM SHINS!!!"

Meanwhile, finally realizing what she had said, she was doubled over laughing on the other side of the kitchen, saying "No! Stop! I'm going to pee all over the floor!" She then s-l-o-w-l-y started edging towards the bathroom with her legs together, still doubled over and laughing. There may have been a tear coming down her face.

Of course, this sight made me laugh even harder. "Arm Shins! Hoo Hoo Hoo!" I said, the only thing keeping me from collapsing onto the floor being the fact that I had a plate full of hot Moo Shi in my hands and I was cognizant enough to not want to spill it onto the linoleum. As I heard the bathroom door close, I was still laughing. "Arm shins! Hoo hoo hoo!"

After she came out of the bathroom, and while I was eating my Moo Shi - very neatly, too, I might add - she said, hands on hips, "You're not going to let me forget this one, are you?"

No, I'm not.

However, it isn't out of meanness. It's because, like MY WIFE, I find it especially hilarious when otherwise intelligent people say something ridiculous.

But here's why I love MY WIFE and why MY WIFE loves me. It's because very few minds work in such a way as to come up with "arm shins" as a substitute for "forearms", and as the recipient of such an absurdity I didn't say something crude like, "Don't you mean FOREARMS, you moron?" but mostly because, while some couples remember every bad thing that their partner has done and won't hesitate for a second to bring it up again in a later argument, the only ammunition either of us stores away for later use is the funny stuff. As a result, we've had no more than a couple of real fights in the entire time since our wedding.

Our wedding? Oh, yes. That was what I was supposed to be writing about here. And so I will, starting now.


Before that, though, you might find it good background to know how I met MY WIFE. You can read all about it here.

Also, to further flesh out the story of our relationship, The Shish Kebob Incident will be instructional. Part One is here and then you'll (of course) want to read Part Two.

Come back when you're done with the history lesson. Those of us who have read it (as well as those of us who wrote it) will be waiting for you just underneath the string of asterisks below.


And here we all are again, so let's get on with it.

Most marriages begin with a proposal and so did ours. Many women tell charming stories of how their future husbands creatively proposed to them. For instance, they might have been sitting in the stands at Fenway Park and, during the seventh inning stretch, "Felicia, will you marry me?" flashed onto the scoreboard in center field, while Felicia's boyfriend, Archie, suddenly dropped to one knee in the aisle. While everyone in the park cheered, Felicia tearfully said, "Yes! Yes!" as she wrapped her arms around Archie, hugging him tightly.

(Meanwhile, Archie was thinking, "What the hell? I just dropped a quarter here. Is she that happy that I found it? What an oddball..." while in another part of the park there was a different Felicia telling her ex-boyfriend [they broke up in the bottom of the sixth in an argument over the infield fly rule] that she wouldn't marry him if he was the last man on earth, so he can take that cheap ring he got from a Crackerjacks box and shove it up his ass.)

Well, there was - I'm sorry to say - nothing so glorious about my proposal. It was one of the worst proposals ever. It was so bad, MY WIFE will probably be extremely embarrassed (for both of us) if I go into detail about it. So, I really shouldn't. Really. I shouldn't.

However, I know that I can't cop out here, so I'll try to put it as delicately as possible. I'll use all of the linguistic powers at my command to save her dignity and make the whole thing sound much more romantic than it actually was.

We had just finished dancing the horizontal bop. Between gasping breaths, I said, "Hey, would you like to get married?"

(Smooth, baby. Don Juan? Casanova? Those bums had nothing on me.)

MY (future) WIFE said, "What do you mean by that?"

She was serious. See, for the previous 12 months I had been telling her - whenever marriage happened to come up during conversation - that I had no desire to ever get married and that I didn't believe marriage was necessary if two people really loved each other. She had no reason to believe I had been lying when I said those things, so her question was certainly not without pertinence.

And I wasn't lying when I said those things previously. I had, at the time, no desire to get married and I really did believe (still do) that marriage isn't necessary if two people truly love each other. However, just because something isn't necessary that doesn't mean it can't be nice, and the desire to get married is always affected by the person with whom you have the opportunity to be spliced.

My most previous relationship had been hideous; full of trivial arguments that escalated into full-scale shouting matches and an almost totally-at-odds-with-each-other view of what our future plans should be. Whenever that person brought up marriage - which was every other day - I cringed.

Now, understand that I was no saint in that relationship. I was as much to blame for the ridiculous amount of fighting we did as my girlfriend was. And not all of the arguments were trivial. We had some extremely major philosophical differences and they were, in my view, irresolvable. However, we soldiered on - an apt description, considering how much of our time was spent at war with each other - until she finally had the brains to leave me.

(She didn't tell me she was leaving me. She told me she was going to visit some friends of ours in Florida and that she'd be back for Christmas. Then, a couple of days before Christmas, after I had spent half my months pay on gifts for her, I received a "Dear John" letter. Nice. However, I've gone into those details before, so enough digression.)

Anyway, I had been completely and utterly soured on the concept of marriage, mostly because - from my limited experience - it seemed like something that a woman wanted to force on a man much more than something a man might actually want and find pleasant. Being a contrarian by nature, the easiest way to get me to not want to do something is to tell me that I have to do it. So, I never gave marriage any sort of serious consideration nor did I think I ever would.

Sometimes, though, you realize that the situation you're currently in isn't anything at all like the previous ones you've had. At that point, if you have any brain, you understand that a different approach altogether is needed. So, I had to consider whether marriage was actually something that could be a good thing. And I had decided that it could be, if you were married to the right person.

MY (future) WIFE was definitely the right person. I had no doubt about that. And I had no doubt whatsoever that we could live together and be happy. So, would a proposal be in my best interest? Most assuredly yes, because I figured that she might not be willing to stick around if I didn't propose. That was the one lasting lesson of value I had taken away from the previous relationship. Therefore, I had been considering proposing to her for a few weeks before I actually did. I hadn't made any real plans concerning how I would do it, but I figured I could improvise. So, I improvised, as explained earlier.

(Just because you can improvise, that doesn't mean you should.)

Although I didn't know it at the time, MY (future) WIFE was pondering whether or not she could continue as we had been. Some time after the fact, she told me that - had I not proposed - she was probably going to tell me that she loved me, but her values wouldn't permit her to continue our relationship without being married. So, it turned out my train of thought had actually been on the right track for once.

So, there you have it. I proposed, albeit in a truly non-spectacular fashion, and she, being caught totally off guard, ended up telling me that she had to think about it.

Yup. She had to think about it. Which meant that I, too, had to think about it, until she had an answer for me, which meant that I became a basket case until she told me yes or no. I had assumed that she would break down into tears of joy and immediately say "yes" - I was a catch, after all - but my expectations were not met.

(The word "catch" in the preceding sentence can best be defined in the same sense as what might be found at sea - something fishy.)

So, I awaited her answer - much as you will have to await the next installment. See you then.

Go to Part Two

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