carol and reid wedding

Paper thin margins

February 15, 2021

Photo Credit: Carol Madigan

   Carol and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary on Saturday. It’s called Paper. I mention that only because I’m hoping a joke or smart ass remark about it will occur to me before I get to the end of this.

   And yeah, virtually this whole first year was spent in various levels of lockdowns, quarantines and Netflix binges. Plus, we’re both retired, so 24/7 has been literal to describe that time together. And I will tell you from experience, I’ve had mixed results among people being around me for just 16/7, 9/5 or in the cases of doctors, dentists, bank tellers, deli clerks and wait staff, maybe less than 1/1.

   I’m not suggesting I’m hard to live with, just odd. Instead of a dog or a cat as a pet, imagine a platypus or a Tasmanian devil. Nevertheless, this first year together under Covid-19 has gone well, in large part because Carol is the Steve Irwin of spouses.

   The first scientists to examine the platypus thought it was a fake, stitched together from parts of different animals. Carol saw me as real, though stitched together from several different, but mild personality disorders, and embraced me anyway. The Tasmanian devil was a bit more of an adjustment for her, given the devil’s tendency to be a loner, and when confronted by things like long lines, millennially dense retail clerks or Trumpsters may be given over to bouts of seething, snarling lunacy. But in one short year, Carol has more or less tamed the latter and reassembled the former to better resemble something more naturally occurring in the animal kingdom.

   The part that evidently escaped me last year, but will loom larger as the years roll on is that we married on February 13. That means two of the most fraught remembrances in the life of the married male will occur for all times for me within a day of each other. The logistically-challenged male might consider it a stroke of genius that he can kill two birds with one box of chocolates, as it were, with one trip to the gift card section of CVS, or one phone call to 1-800 Flowers.

I’m not suggesting I’m hard to live with, just odd. Instead of a dog or a cat as a pet, imagine a platypus or a Tasmanian devil. Nevertheless, this first year together under Covid-19 has gone well, in large part because Carol is the Steve Irwin of spouses.

   But just supposing you forget the one. The odds favor maybe not forgetting the other, but then remembering too late to snag a table anywhere except Olive Garden or Red Lobster. To screw up both days – especially these two days – back to back in any given year, and you might as well get your documents in order and make out a will.

   And I bet you thought, by this point, I wouldn’t be able to end this with a joke about the Paper anniversary. It’s not a good enough joke to leave you with, though, so I’ll just add this about our first married year together. We both think it flew by, even though most of its waking moments were spent on the couch eating breakfast and discussing what our dinner options were. If you can make a fun and laugh-filled year go by as quickly as this has, we’ve either hit on something magical about the simplest of lifestyles, or science will claim a new fake life form stitched together from several different kinds of mollusks.

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