123Valerie Strikes Again

Unprecedented Self-Indulgence.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Stop Milking a Dead Cow

Quite by accident, I realized that "astray" and "ashtray" are nearly the same word. Something to consider, my pretties.

Something I'm considering today: matters of the heart should always involve the head, too. The heart should never, ever work independently because it can do stupid things.

When I was 13, my sister, Maryann, got married for the first time. It was mid-August, the day after her 19th birthday. A nice guy, her husband, but everyone objected because he was a bit older, relatively poor and a die-hard Star Trek fan. Further, he had taken her from the right path--she was meant for the stage, not the kitchen. She hadn't even graduated college yet. Maryann was supposed to be consumed with frat parties and exams and cafeteria food, not shopping for China patterns.

All of this made Maryann more intent on having the perfect wedding. They were in love, goddamnit, and she would prove it to the world.

I was in the wedding, of course. The bridesmaids had beautiful black velvet and emerald green taffeta dresses, found on sale--that was a sign, wasn't it, that Maryann was doing the right thing? The dresses were a steal during the Ides of March with the wind and snow whipping about. In the 100+ degrees of a small, fundamentalist Baptist church that did not believe in air conditioning, even in the middle of August, those dresses were ludicrous. And probably a little smelly.

As I stood there watching my sister and her betrothed exchange vows, my head was swimming with the kinds of images a 13-year-old conjures up about love: they would spend their time holding hands watching movies on the couch (with the lights OFF and no parents around), slow dancing in the kitchen and going out to eat at TGI Friday's. That's what love was to me. In many ways, it still is, but TGI Friday's has been upgraded.

Swimming in those beautiful thoughts, my thin frame started to sway. My hands got clammy. Suddenly, my eyelids fluttered and I found myself lying on the church's musty red carpet. Someone was rushing in to pull down my dress and cover up my underpants. I had passed out from the heat. The best man lifted me and carried me out amid the concerned hush of the guests.

Things were a little hazy after that, but I remember that nothing went according to the plan, foiling my sister's hope that everything be perfect. In fact, I would love to show you a video of the Famous Fainting of 1993, but the cameraman forgot to turn on the camera to record the ceremony. It's alright, though, because it only would have captured the pianist's botched attempt to play The Wedding March, which ended up sounding more like Brick House.

The milk fountain they had got in lieu of a champagne fountain curdled in the heat, and my Uncle Andrew brought his dog, a yippie Pomeranian who kept biting people. The food was horrible and resulted in several cases of food poisoning. The bathroom toilets overflowed. Oh, yeah, and my sister and her husband got divorced less than a year later.

My sister said she knew all along that they shouldn't get married, but it's just that she wanted to so badly that none of the logical arguments, anxious pleas or signs would impede her. She basically told her brain to shut up, "The heart's running this show."

Fortunately, I've always been able to learn from my sisters' mistakes. As the youngest of three, I've had the benefit of seeing them make a ton of messes and figure out how to clean them up. Forcing something or charging ahead with a bad idea has never been my scene. I've been called impartial, objective, even cold, because I can seemingly switch off my feelings if evidence presents itself that a change of course is a good idea. I'm not unfeeling, just practical.

Because, seriously, kids--who wants a flipping milk fountain at their wedding?

In the Comments section, tell me a favorite wedding memory of yours.

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  • At 1:45 PM , Blogger Hey Pretty said...

    My friend Morgan had her wedding in a park in upstate New York. The day of, all the close friends (no wedding party btw) were given errands--go pick up beer at micro-brewery, decorate pavilion where the reception will be held, buy Morgan stockings and lip gloss. The informality of the whole occassion, combined with the kicking blue grass band and her lack of bridezilla histrionics made it the best wedding I can possibly imagine. After the wedding, we all chilled in their cabin. Some people even slept outside in tents.

  • At 2:53 PM , Blogger Senor Caiman said...


    I'm the youngest of three too. It's like we're trekies.

    I went to this wedding and I hadn't purchased a gift, after a few drinks I forged a card and put it on a gift at the gift table. Yes it was a gift from Grandma. Seemed like a good idea at the time.

  • At 2:56 PM , Blogger Matt said...

    My uncle's second wedding was non-alcoholic b/c, unbenownst to the rest of us, he had been a heavy drinker (everyone knew my dad was a drinker 'cause he had a more... outrageous, higher-keyed style).

    It was a tea party. Everyone got really caffeinated and then felt even more uptight.

    We youngins hit the bars afterward and got liquored up good.

  • At 3:12 PM , Blogger Lisa said...

    I went to a super uptight, black tie wedding for my cousin on Long Island. My whole family was there which is never good...

    Because I know what's best for my sanity and the safety of those around me, I got absolutely obliterated, went back to the hotel, met a fine young gentleman in the lobby, and "enjoyed his company" in the service hallway near the elevator.

    Weddings rule.

  • At 3:25 PM , Anonymous 123V said...

    Thank you for bringing the word "histronics" back to the forefront of my mind, Kate. Well done!

    Hola Senor! I don't know what that means, that we're "like trekies," but I assume it's a compliment, so thank you, sir. I went to a wedding with out a gift once, so I just gave the groom a blow job.

    A tea party, Matty? Gah, that's so gay. I love it! Now, if they would just put some whiskey in those itty, bitty cups.

    "Service" hallway, indeed, Lisa Lisa. Yes!

  • At 5:38 PM , Blogger Winter said...

    I should have had that!

    Maybe I wouldn't have had to pay for the silverware that was stolen because of the "open" bar

  • At 7:17 PM , Blogger EsLocura said...

    weddings are stupid, I think everyone should just live in sin. the whole milk fountain thing might have worked had they added kahlua and vodka.

  • At 8:07 PM , Anonymous Kirstin said...

    AS I am reading this story all I can think is after "If you want to get out of here, I am behind you" could have been followed by this story. But in the end i probably would have married him just the same!!!It's funny how blinded one can be by a wedding. I was so woried baout having the perfect wedding, I should have concerned myself more with the perfect marriage.lol

  • At 8:11 PM , Blogger Edtime Stories said...

    I remember running a pool in the back of a friend's wedding reception taking bets on when the divorce would be.

  • At 11:50 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    A milk fountain? I've never heard of such!!

    I got married at 18 yrs old, too young 2!! Mine lasted 8.5 years.

    I was in my sisters wedding and cried the entire time because I didn't think she would ever come home to see me again. I was 11 I think.

  • At 12:48 PM , Anonymous 123V said...

    Winter, are you telling me that we're NOT supposed to steal stuff from weddings? I thought the forks were favors. My bad.

    I will drink to that Es Locura. Of course, I'll drink to most anything.

    Aw, K, it WAS a beautiful wedding. We'll always have Massillon.

    Well, of course, Edtime. It's always good to profit from your friends' bad choices. Way to go!

    Wow, FC&F--I never did the math. 18? Jeepers. At 18, they wouldn't even give me a Blockbuster membership, let alone a marriage certificate.

  • At 1:25 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    they might as well have "blood fountains" because the blood shed that begins after the nuptials is what is forefront in my mind. i hate weddings. nonsense. all of it. a poor excuse to be a lategoer to the prom

  • At 1:42 PM , Blogger mist1 said...

    I just don't invited to many weddings anymore. It seems that people know if it's an open bar, I will inevitably stick my tongue down the best man's throat and a fight will ensue.

  • At 12:42 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Other than my mother-in-law-to-be starting a bar fight after the bachelorette party (she pushed the door girl at the next bar through the front window), I would have to say the most fun part was when my new husband was handcuffed at the reception and forced to remove the garter with his teeth. Would have been more fun if my father wasn't watching!

  • At 1:15 PM , Blogger Lee said...

    Was the milk fountain shaped like a cow...cuz that woulda been funny. Otherwise, a milk fountain should be a crime.

    I got married real young, had kids pretty young, got divorced still mostly young. I'm glad I did it, but man, I'm glad it's over!

  • At 7:36 PM , Blogger Spellbound said...

    Well, they were Baptist. They sure couldn't have a champagne fountain, now could they? I have too many hysterical wedding memories to relate, but I do plan to post a story before long about my own special days, both of them. Then there was my daughter’s big day; two hurricanes, a flooded reception, a lot of people passed out drunk in the mud, and the groom needing 13 stitches in his hand because he cut himself with his pirate sword. Did I mention that everyone wore costumes? I think I was the one who dubbed it a “Johnny Cash wedding” because of “the mud and the blood and the beer”. Oh, check out my sons blog. One of his best friends has written a book on this subject. Fun. http://www.yelahneb.blogspot.com/

  • At 10:00 PM , Anonymous 123V said...

    Badoozie, I wanted to tell you that I actually enjoyed all of the proms I went to, but now I'm thinking that's not such a good idea.

    Mist, honey, when I get married, it will be a requirement that everyone make out with the best man. And maid of honor. You're invited.

    T! I felt a little uncomfortable just at the THOUGHT of your Dad watching that. It's the Catholic guilt, I think.

    Lee Baby, good call. Anything shaped like a cow is funny.

    Wow, Spellbound, that totally tops anything I've got. Boy Named Sue, right?


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