Today’s discussion deals with the thorny problem of certain couples fighting to get married, while others are wanting to remain single but together.
Is that clear? Well, leave it to the Irish to sum up the situation when they said, “Oh what knotty times are these — all civilized people are at war, all savages at peace.”
First we’ll discuss the various splinter groups in these disputes:
• There are some folks — we’ll call them “gays,” because they’re so happy — who have spent their entire lives underground. But they’re now demanding all the privileges and benefits of married couples (unless they are drug lords or NFL football players, in which case they go back underground, and we have six more weeks of bad weather).
• There are other groups wanting just the opposite. They call each other “significant others” or “snookums.” They believe the laws granting special benefits to married couples are unfair to those who choose to live together without so much as a wave out a courthouse window by a probate judge.
• Then there is a third group — I call them “geezers” — who are too preoccupied to face issues and just grind their false teeth and stroll off to the third hole.
• And finally there’s a group we call “has-beens” who sit across from their honeys at breakfast and say, “You’re so lucky. I look just like I did 40 years ago.”
Well, as a long-time veteran of the matrimonial game, I’m willing to yank these controversies out of the closet and put them right on the razor’s edge, fighting my way up squabble creek without a paddle, bucking the tide but taking the bull by the horns and shamelessly taking full advantage of rambling metaphors wherever I can find them.
If my wife Marilyn heard me say that, she’d roll her eyes and quip, “Thank goodness you never wanted to cook.” It’s little wonder I keep reaping awards. Why, if I entered the Westminster Dog Show, I’d probably win.
But back to this marriage business: I decided to take to the streets recently to find out what the great unwashed had to say, if anything. After all, it’s a journalist’s duty to feel the pulse of the community and make sure everyone out there is still alive.
Question: “Excuse me, sir or madam. I’m feeling the pulse of the community today concerning official marriages for gays and matrimonial relief for live-ins. What’s your stand?”
First person: “My pulse is none of your business. I don’t like your touchy, feely ways either. Get outta here. Scat. Git.”
Second person: “My daughter’s name is Gay, and if she ever marries, everyone’s pulse will go wacky. She’s that ugly. Got an attitude too. Takes after her mother.”
Third person: (Note: I had a tough time with these comments. I didn’t know if I should reproduce them, because this is a family newspaper. But I’m anything but wishy-washy, so I came right out and decided NOT to run them. If you don’t like it, get your own newspaper.)
Fourth person: “My pulse is OK. It’s my teeth that worry me.”
Well, you can see that my query awakened a whole gob of interesting but hibernating brain cells, but I was still lacking in-depth arguments. So I turned to my neighbor, Nick Scourge the abacus professor, and said, “Where do you stand, Nick?”
Nick: “Knee deep in grass, waiting for you to return my mower.”
Me: “No, no, Nick. I’m serious. Just tell me where you stand.”
Nick: “Well, if I went to a gay wedding, I’d sit where I could make a quick getaway.”
Me: “Does that mean you’re against gay marriages?”
Nick: (shaking head) “No, I’d just want to rush back home to witness the miracle in case you returned my mower. It’d be a religious experience.”
Me: “I should tell you, Nick, I messed up your mower when I ran over your dog. I’ll be happy to help you shop for a new one though. A mower that is.”
Well, you can see there is no middle ground here. I suppose it all boils down to whether or not folks are willing to say what they mean, or at least mean what they say.
I hope that clears things up, because I’ve already lost my train of thought.
Bob Huber is a retired journalist living in Portales.