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Matrimonial Monsoon II

Jun. 11, 2008
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I’m Art Kumbalek and man oh manischewitz what a world, ain’a? So I got a call the other night from my buddy Little Jimmy Iodine to remind me that we got a 40-year highschool class reunion later this summer that we got to find a way to shirk. To be 17 in June of 1968 with a passion for who the next president could be is not a time I care to celebrate. And then a more recent June, for such a one I request a little quiet time this week.

But rather than leave an empty page here, I’ll flip you something from the file of a June past. It goes something like this:

How ’bout this June monsoon we’ve been having around here, ain’a? Like all of a sudden we’re in Indochina for crying out loud. I tell you, if I wanted to live in Bangkok I’d get into the sweatshop business, but don’t so I won’t.

Hey, I don’t want to say it’s been good and goddamn wet and damp around here, but I was getting ready for my Saturday night bath last Sunday when I took a gander in the mirror and noticed I’d sprouted a plot of chest hair. What the fock, chest hair, out of the blue after all these years? So I got closer to the mirror to check it out, and guess what? It wasn’t chest hair at all. It was moss. Moss, I kid you not. Anybody out there knows a handy method of moss removal short of kerosene and a match, give me a call why don’t you.

I tell you, if this daily drenching keeps keeping up, somebody tell the mayor to deep-six the notion for light rail and start thinking about light ferry. It’d be a hell of a lot more fun for these commuters to float into work on a boat than it would be to suffer the claustrophobia of being crammed into a caboose like a bunch of sardines. If they do light ferry the right way, en route to your crappy job you’d be able to do a little fishing off the deck or maybe get in on some spirited shuffleboard action. Ahoy matey, even if you had the misfortune of having to sail out to Waukesha (shiver me timbers), doesn’t that sound more fun than the train where all you got to do is look out the window and hope some fat, smelly guy who likes to talk doesn’t park his butt next to yours? You bet your boots it does.

And blow me down if the light ferry wouldn’t be a hell of a lot cheaper to get rolling than the rail, since you wouldn’t have to mess with laying all that track and everything else that goes with it. With light ferry, all you’d have to do is dig out a bunch of trenches from here to there deep enough to float boats in it, let all this rain fill ’em up and you’re ready to say bon voyage.

Anyways, don’t hold your breath for the launching of light ferry. Just think of it as another one of my million-dollar ideas that’ll never set sail ’cause it’s just too goddamn practical not to mention utilitarian to boot.

But don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining about this rain. To an indoors guy like me, it’s just water off a duck’s back, big focking deal. And I do realize there are those who might have a problem with all these June showers, such as those whose bleating car horns I hear through the windows of my dinky apartment, signifying the betrothing of their connubial nuptials on these Saturdays during the wedding month of June. Yeah I know, who wants such a lousy day on the day of their wedding? Hey, get used to it. Now that you’re married, there’s a boatload more of those babies coming your way, I kid you not.

But that’s not the kind of thing you newlyweds of this month need to hear. You want to hear something uplifting and hunky-dory. Something along the lines of what Samuel Johnson said when he heard of a friend getting married for the second time after his first wife croaked, and remarked how he found that admirable ’cause it celebrated the spirit of hope over experience. Kind of a nice thought, isn’t it?

Since none of you’s happy couples invited me to your shindigs, even for the open bar portion, where I could’ve wished you all the blah-blah best in person, I did a little research to find some bright words of wisdom about the wedded state I could pass on to you through this essay. I checked the Bible and you can just imagine the kind of gas they were passing on the topic. Of course they’d be all gung-ho on marriage back when a wedding cost next to nothing. For christ sakes, think what you’d save on the reception alone. You wouldn’t have to pay a photographer since the snapshot had yet to be discovered; and a band? Hey, how much you think a couple guys tooting on potato pipes would’ve run you? You tell me.

What the Bible had to say sounded trite and contrived to me and I figured you already heard it all before, anyways. Then I came across a couple things from the ancient Greeks. One, a proverb, “Marriage is the only evil that men pray for,” and the other from some guy named Hipponax out of the 6th century B.C.: “Two days are the best of a man’s wedded life: The days when he marries and buries his wife.” Kind sexist for this day and age, so I kept researching.

I leapt ahead a couple thousand years to Helen Rowland in 1922’s Guide to Men, Husband is what is left lover, after the nerve been extracted”; Ambrose Bierce wrote in The Devil’s Dictionary, “Bride, n. A woman with fine prospect of happiness behind her.” And speaking of happiness, the ol’ ray sunshine himself, Friedrich Nietzsche, had this to “If married couples did live together, happy marriages would be more frequent.”

Sheesh. I thought Shakespeare. He’s known for having a way with words and I found this of his
Twelfth Night: “Many a good hanging vents a bad marriage.” Can’t argue that, ain’a?

None of the quotes found had anything good say about marriage, which turns out to be the same thing I could’ve said myself on the subject in the first focking place—nothing good. So you’re on your own. Looks like you’ll have to come up with something good to say about marriage yourselves. Don’t worry, you got a whole lifetime to find but since you’re married, it’ll only seem like two times ’cause I’m Art Kumbalek and I told you so.


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