A couple of weeks ago, in the height of the holiday season, the O-Dog and I were walking around Elmwood Avenue when we came upon a troupe of costumed Christmas characters. Santa, of course, being the main draw. After making like Frogger to cross the street, we caught up with St. Nick, did the old sit on the lap routine and came home with one pretty jazzed kid.
Me: Tell mommy who we saw, Rock.
O-Dog: Santa Claus.
Mommy: Wow. Did you tell him what you wanted?
Me: Who else did you see?
O-Dog: Rudolph, Frosty and Santa's Mother.
Either Mrs. Claus is not aging as gracefully as her husband or the O-Dog has not yet grasped the concept of wedded bliss. Should I fill him in? Not according to Bill, my defensive partner on my hockey team.
"I don't know why we bother to tell them."
Somehow I think the kids pick up the concept osmotically. For example, there's a little girl in my son's Pre-K class who says she wants to marry my son.
"Next time she says that to you, little buddy, say, 'What's the hurry, baby? We're only four.'"
(Punch from wife.)
As a guy, you just don't get all that warm and fuzzy about mah-wage. I mean "mah-wage is what bwings us togethah," but the male gender of the human species tends to mature a lot slower than our female counterparts. We just have a lot more fun single... There's much more time for play (you'd never get me out of a hockey rink). Our bills, checking accounts and carefree spending habits are our own business. Our weekends are our own. The drunk girl at the bar that just puked on her shoes might actually be fun to talk to. The tomatoes that just fell out of your sandwich can be picked up at your leisure, even if it takes weeks.
There are many other perks. You don't have to tell anybody their ass doesn't look big. You can drink out of the carton. You don't have to empty your browser cache, history, etc. on a daily basis and the bathroom is the perfect and logical place for porn. If you find the girl you're hanging out with is a bit of a pain in the ass, you could just not call her... I could go on.
For these and many more reasons, I find it difficult to say "Congratulations," to a man when he gets engaged or married. In fact, I abandoned the practice altogether. It leads to some awkwards moments, since people seem to expect it.
Me: (to college classmate holding news clipping of his new wife) Is that your wife?
College Classmate: Yeah. I just got married three weeks ago.
Me: ... ... ... ... So, ... um. What are you taking next semester?
I realize it's a natural progression, and in most cases ends up being a move in the right direction for some, but in any case, congratulations just doesn't seem to fit.
Funny enough, today is the anniversary of my engagement. Six years ago, the Whores (Buffalo Sabres) were playing the Toronto Maple Leafs. The .0002 carat ring had been in my possession four about three or four weeks. I decided to propose between the second and third periods, provided of course, the Whores were winning.
At the end of two... Buffalo 8 - Toronto 0.
That sealed my fate.
In hindsight, I'm glad the Sabres won. I love my wife, we've got a great couple of kids. We're a tremendously happy family. I don't remember if anybody congratulated me or not. (Nobody WARNED me or PREPARED me, that's for sure.) I don't think I needed to hear congratulations or advice. No high fives or shots of Cuervo. I wouldn't trade where I am now for anything... but were congratulations truly in order? Maybe just a set of earplugs to use in case of emergency, a partial lobotomy and a primer in how to say "I love you," and "You look great tonight," even though I already think it.
Happy 'Anniversary' Mrs. Claus. You do look great tonight.