Once I determine which international governing body has the sole authority, there must be a procedure, or some excruciatingly detailed protocol to follow, when one wishes to petition for a change in the usual way of doing things. I'm talking about the age old, “in sickness and in health, for better or worse,” traditional marriage vows.
While the idea of promising to give yourself so completely and unselfishly to another is serious business and quite appealing for many, I am proposing the addition of a single amendment which would, on the surface, appear to alleviate what I perceive to be the most friction-causing event to the newly (or not so newly) betrothed. Whether performed by the local justice o' the peace or your clergy member of choice, the simple phrase “and when shopping for furniture” could be tagged onto the end of the “I do” response segment of the ceremony, and when delivered with conviction and undying love, would leave nary a dry eye amongst the guests.
I would never have thought this to be a serious consideration for wedded bliss, but for the fact that my wife and I, after 20 some odd years of marriage, (I’m not using odd as in “I have no idea how long we’ve been married.” I’m using odd as in “At times I can be very odd.”) began the long, arduous task of thinking about refurnishing the family room in our home.
Reluctantly, I trudged off with my beloved to the We Have a Payment Option for You Mega-Furniture Warehouse. This is where we met “Steve,” the overly zealous yet personable salesman. His name was Mark, but to save embarrassment, he shall be “Steve” from here on.
Steve greeted us with a practiced, friendly smile, a firm handshake, and the textbook “How are you folks today? What can I help you with?” greeting.
“Well Steve, we’re shoppin’ for furniture. You got some?”
He blinked nervously while pondering my response, as I continued.
“We’re just starting to look. You know, getting ideas. Let us wander around, peruse your fine home furnishings, discuss some things,” I said. “But I’ll tell you, if you notice us sitting on a couch whispering and nodding our heads, it would be in your best interest to hurry over with some fabric samples.”
Steve should have simply walked away, but he countered with his best “Law and Order” courtroom style line of questioning.
“So,” he continued, “What styles or colors do you folks have in mind today? Do you prefer big, overstuffed pieces or are your tastes more minimal?”
If Steve had been a dog, he would have instantly sensed the change in my demeanor and warily backed away while avoiding direct eye contact.
“It’s like this Steve,” I began. “My dear wife, she likes what you’d call Earth tones. You know, tan, tan variants, or shades of tan. Those colors in the crayola box rarely used, except for desert landscapes, sand dollars or chimpanzee faces. If we had been cavemen, the blood I used to sketch hunting scenes on the cavern walls would have been too much color. She’s more traditional, style wise, while I would prefer something not totally out of place on the set of a Tim Burton movie. She enjoys comfortable, inviting furnishings. I, on the other hand, am not running a bed and breakfast. Comfort only causes visitors to linger and overstay their welcome. Show me something unforgiving and scratchy, preferably in orange.”
Needless to say, Steve did not make a sale that day. And I found out how important a comfortable couch is that night.
Chuck Mason, a self-described opinionated wiseguy, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.