Monday, November 1, 2010
Thinking Out Loud
The world has changed much since my wife and I were married more than half-a-century ago, 1953 – to be exact. And I’m not just talking about cell phones, the Internet and take out pizza. You would think that something as basic as marriage would be sacrosanct, but clearly such is not the case.
Whenever my wife and I are out together people – particularly young people – are wont to ask how long we have been married. This happens most often when we frequent a Starbucks, which – being heavily into industrial strength coffee – is several times a week. Now for some reason and I truly don’t know what it is, I never remember seeing a barista old enough to have seen Mickey Mantle play. So when we tell them fifty-seven years they are astounded.
Apparently, to those young pups any monogamous relationship lasting more than a fortnight after a one night stand is beyond their ability to comprehend. And since my wife and I are especially gregarious to young people, we sometimes draw a small crowd all of whom want to know “our secret,” how on God’s good earth have we managed to stay together for what seems to our audience – an eternity.
Here I must admit that I am somewhat facetious and look for an opening for a bon mot. One time I was grilling one of my servers who alleged he was a history major and asked if, he knew anything about Mussolini. After a pregnant pause the future Toynbee admitted that he might have had a Mussolini salad with his soup at an Olive Garden. Possible, I guess. So I go with the old saw about what makes a marriage work, what makes it last?
“Easy,” I tell my rapt audience. “When my wife and I took our vows we agreed that I would make all the major decisions and she all the minor ones.”
“Wow!” murmurs the audience. “And it really works?” they wonder.
“Well, luckily for us so far nothing major has come up,” I explain. Sometimes I get a few laughs, but mostly they just nod.
Click on Gerard Meister for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.