This is my last column as a bachelor. By the time you read this column, I’ll be a married man, which is almost an incomprehensible concept to those of us who have never been married. I might as well say, “by this time next week, I’ll sprout wings and turn into a unicorn.” Three years ago, it was even more nebulous, this concept of being married to someone. Every once in a while, Jameelah would bring it up, usually when I was held captive in her car. “How do weddings make you feel?” she once asked. Normally, I can tell when she is about to ask these “deep questions” about relationships, and during those occasions in the car, I would prepare myself for the discussion by opening the door and jumping into traffic.
But by the end of today, we’ll be legally married. After months of discussing where we would have it, who to invite, which colors to choose for the invitations, etc., and getting really stressed out to the point of nearly breaking up, we realized that all those things shouldn’t get in the way of the fundamental reasons of why people get married in the first place: tax benefits. Kidding. I mean, the love they hold for each other and their commitment to nurturing that love. So we thought, eh, the stressful reception can come later; we should just get papers signed right now if we’re serious about it.
So we got a great friend to be ordained online. (Apparently anyone can be ordained. It’s free and instant. While researching, I got ordained by three different places in a matter of minutes, so let me know you’ve always dreamed of being married by a humor columnist). I’ll be dressed in jeans and a button-down shirt, which I’ll have tucked in for the occasion. I’ll even comb my hair. Jameelah will wear a simple summer dress. We invited a dozen friends and family, and whoever we ran into who is available. We’ll be at a park that we like, and the whole thing will last 30 minutes or so, and then we’ll go home, pack for our honeymoon in Mexico, and play Dragon Quest IX. We’ll have a “real” ceremony and reception later in the year, when we feel like stressing ourselves out for six months planning the thing. For now, it’s great just to get the papers done, which I think most people do before their wedding day anyway.
This morning, at work, a coworker asked me, “So, are you ready to get married?” I told him that any fool can get married. It just takes 60 bucks or so for the marriage license. The hard part comes after the ceremony, when you have to work hard to support each other and your family. Or so that’s what I heard. These past few weeks, I’ve been harassing old married couples for advice, and that’s what they keep saying. “You know what the secret is?” said this 35-year-strong couple I met at Walgreens, “you have to like each other. Love is a given. Like, not so much. Also, have a dishwashing machine.”
I think we have the liking down. I am looking forward to our having a little garden together, where we can plant one zucchini plant and maybe some tomatoes. I can’t wait for us to travel around the world and buy our first house and have a kid or two, whom we’ll name after mushrooms, like Chanterelle and Portabella. I can see us on the porch, watching our grandchildren play in the yard while the setting sun paints the sky hazy bands of orange and purple, reflected in our graying hair; and I’ll turn to Jameelah and try to remember how she looked today at the park, when today will be a distant memory. And when April rolls around every year, I’ll sit across the table and gaze at her lovingly while she fills out our taxes.
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