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Black Lamb

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Now in its 14th year of publication, this magazine was created to offer the discerning reader a stimulating selection of excellent original writing. Black Lamb Review is a literate rather than a literary publication. Regular columns by writers in a variety of geographic locations and vocations are supplemented by features, reviews, articles on books and authors, and a selection of “departments,” including an acerbic advice column and a lamb recipe.

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It’s all true

April 1st, 2007

happysingingcouple.jpgBY GREG ROBERTS

Everything you’ve ever heard about marriage is true — the wonderful and the grotesque. The wedding itself is always a perfectly joyful event. As a violin player in my mothy tuxedo, a bottle of Argyle chardonnay pulsing through my fingertips, I’ve witnessed countless weddings, and each was a creation of beauty and goodness.
Then, tragically, this happy union is threated by the smallest, most insidious attacks — little arguments about money or dirty dishes — things that can destroy the marriage like microscopic spirochetes that insert themselves into the brains of giants and kill them.

My wife Chrissy and I once fought over a wastebasket. I said it cost too much — twelve dollars — when perfectly good ones could be had for a buck. Instead of recognizing my shortcomings (I was making fifty bucks a night while Isaac Stern was earning $20,000), I lashed out at my wife. The lesson is chilling. If an educated person (I have memorized the scientific names of hundreds of insects and fish) can behave so stupidly, what are the chances of a marriage surviving?

Besides petty arguments, misunderstandings, and the inevitable boredom that comes from being around the same person for decades, marriage faces much greater perils: marriage haters and other iconoclasts who seek to destroy this institution. Intellectuals steeped in hatred for the establishment attack marriage as if it were the Pope’s illegitimate mongoloid son.

Comedians, actors, rap artists, and other hedonists laugh at and degrade marriage and flaunt their reptilian behavior so outrageously, it is amazing that the word monogomy is still spoken and understood by any members of our tribe.

Eighty years ago Bertrand Russell compared marriage to prostitution, saying basically that buying your wife a lobster dinner was the same as handing a C-note to some girl standing on the corner in a rabbit skin jacket.
I can’t remember if Russell said that the prostitution works both ways, but that does seem to be the case. I know of several guys who married women for the money, and they ended up living in hell. That’s because the women couldn’t bury the fact that dough was the driver in these sordid couplings. They acted with tyranny and scorn. One fellow ended up drinking a bottle of brandy every night, which was a reliable and fairly inexpensive way to deal with his demons. (Not that money was a problem — they lived in a friggin’ mansion.)

The best way to avoid suspicions of marrying for money is to find someone from your own economic class. My wife and I were not so deformed as to exclude the possibility of marrying fat bankrolls, but instead chose each other, depriving the lascivious depraved Crœsuses of the fresh meat they craved. We lived for years in heavy debt, but at least there was never a thought that one of us was a prostitute to the other.

Anyone who claims to have a perfect marriage is either a liar or severely mentally retarded. When you spend Saturday setting down a dozen irregularly-shaped flagstones into the lawn, digging in each one to make it flush with the grass, only to be told that it doesn’t look right, that the whole thing has to be moved closer to the porch, you realize that women are not human, that they are satanic incarnations who can test your will to live.

Marriage partners are just like cars. Some of them are complete lemons, but most turn out to be so much better than no car at all; there should be almost no divorces in this world. It seems to me that getting out of a marriage is usually a nonsensical move, the same as getting rid of a car just because it has bald tires and a loose rear end.

Saddest of all are mid-life crisis separations that occur because “he’s down in the basement again with those model trains” or “she used to have an ass like Goldie Hawn’s and now she could be a spokesperson for Anjou pears.”

Get real. The only way a beat-up bastard like you is going to trade up to a young thing is to pull out wads of cash, and that’s a sad and ugly business, as already noted.

It is a blessing that there is no such thing as a perfect marriage, or perfect anything else, for that matter. The prospect of growing old and leaving a perfect world would become insanely frustrating and sad. Our envy of the young would become so poisonous, it would cause us to seize up and melt down like a 1975 Gremlin that has lost its oil plug.

Hitting sixty, sitting a home with your wife and a bottle of Tempranillo, watching David Suchet in his marvelous role as Hercule Poirot, may not be the same as entering the sorority on a Friday night, but it is good, really good. •

Posted by: The Editors
Category: All Marriage Issue, Roberts | Link to this Entry

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