By Tom “Cake
on the Face” Waters
Just this previous September,
a wondrous and joyous occasion was observed. My big brother Joe
got married to a girl he was dating for the last five years. Her
name’s Jill (and no, they didn’t go up a hill). Joe was always
quite a wild card (much like his two other brothers) and we knew that
the sacred vows of marriage would change him in some form or another.
I just didn’t know that they would transform him so drastically into
a submissive, civilized husband. Those terms may seem profane
and disturbing , so please read no further if you find your stomach
queasy and your bowels constricted. The hideous mutation I am
about to describe is not for the weak of heart (strap on some Depends
undergarments if need be).
It was a stormy day in November,
a couple weeks after the honeymoon. I’d given the Newlyweds plenty
of time to settle into their rural home and get comfortable with the
idea of being around each other pretty much every waking second of every
day for the rest of their lives. I called the house and a gentleman
answered (claiming he was my brother). I’d asked if I could stay
over after work and watch a movie. To my shock and horror he replied:
“That’s fine by me, but LET ME GET PERMISSION.” Permission!
This from the man who would come home from partying all night with the
morning edition! This from the brother who took my clothes and
when questioned would say “Oh, I borrowed those, you’ll get ‘em
back before you move out!” I knew something had gone horribly
wrong so I had to go over to investigate.
That night I came over prepared
with a dirty magazine and a cigar (the bachelor’s equivalent of a wooden
stake and holy water) hoping that it wasn’t true. I walked through
the door and he HUGGED me (I thought I was ready for anything, but open
expression between two guys? It wiped me out.) and welcomed me
in asking (to my revulsion) if I could remove my shoes. It would
take all the spiritual strength of single man-kind to get me through
the night in that house alive and polygamous.
No sooner had I taken
off my coat and shoes than I noticed that the two had worked together
to cook a complete nutritious meal! My sense of reality was seriously
shaken. Before the marriage, his refrigerator consisted of half
an ice cube tray, beer, and, if you were lucky, ketchup and half an
onion. As I ate my sliced turkey and potatoes warily (chemically
testing the food under the dinner table for thorazine or saltpeter),
I took further note that the man I knew as a brother was not only directing
the food toward his mouth without spilling it all over his shirt but
HE WAS USING UTENSILS! Later, while they were sleeping, I searched
the attic, basement, and laundry room in the hopes that I would find
my real brother cryogenically frozen or tied to a rack with a ball and
gag in his mouth, but to no avail. I decided to reconvene my search
with greater fervor in the morning.
And for the love of God
the invasion of the doilies! It was almost as if, overnight, doilies
had sprung up all over the house like some hideous fungus from Martha
Stewart’s nose! The living room was disgusting! Where furniture
and appliances were once scarce (or placed where they wouldn’t be tripped
over) was a decor like some photo spread from a trendy New English House
and Garden magazine. While we all watched a movie, my mind screamed
“ESCAPE BEFORE THIS LIFESTYLE GETS TO YOU!” but the mammoth teak china
cabinet kept me at bay, guarding the exit door.
I took a shower that
night and was attacked by colors of the rainbow that a heterosexual
should never be subjected to. Pink, teal, fuscia, it’s too traumatizing
to go on. There were no hairs in the sink, the seat was up, and
the tub was STOCKED TO THE GILLS WITH PERSONAL HAIR CARE PRODUCTS!
Pert and Prell, either being a man’s best shampoo friend, were bumped
off in cold blood to be replaced by ridiculously overpriced hybrids
boasting “Hypoallergenic!” or “Hydro-Activated!” I looked under
the sink praying that my true brother, having become a contortionist
to avoid become whipped, would be in the cabinets.
Before the black peace of
sleep came on me I heard a barrage of “Yes, dears.” I’ve been
in the Korean War, I’ve seen an elephant tap dance, and I’ve even babysat
for six years, but this was far more unnerving than all three combined
on Oprah. It was time to face facts. Joe had become (Dum,
Dum, DAAAAAH!) domesticated. Marriage had grabbed a hold of him
and turned him into a decent human being.
Enough of being selfish,
though. Often, when you perceive someone in two-dimensions (i.e.
brother, mom, teacher, cop) you don’t get the whole scoop on who they
really are. The way he behaves with his wife is just another facet
of his personality. The wedding ring has sent waves of etiquette
throughout his psyche, but that’s just a part of getting older.
I used to think in high school that I’d never get married, live in a
cave, and write pretentious novels for the rest of my life. Now
the last two still may hold true, but I’ve seen divorced and lonely
old people and they’re a tragic lot. Let’s face it, none of us
want to die alone without a companion who loved us and knew who we really
were inside. I know that I don’t want to die miserable and alone.
The odds for keeping a marriage may be rigged, but I’ll take my chances.
Even if I have to practice saying “Yes, dear” in my car to a marriage
instructional cassette. P.S. Joe and Jill, please remember that
this was embellished and depicted in the spirit of parody, and that
parody is the best form of flattery, or some such rot.