Married life? Take it from me

Kevin Cowherd

April 19, 1993|By Kevin Cowherd

What I try to stress to young people is that marriage is like . . . like a big empty canvas, OK? And it's up to the two of you to decide what you're gonna splash on that canvas -- the bright, vibrant hues of marital bliss or the dark, brooding colors of an empty, meaningless co-existence.

Granted, it's a pretty heavy analogy. But that's what I was trying to get across to Tom at the bachelor party, only he was drinking shots of anisette with his beer and shooting pool and his concentration seemed erratic.

Plus "Runnin' on Empty" by Jackson Browne was playing on the juke box and the volume was cranked up pretty loud and you could hardly hear yourself think.

"You and Eileen are perfect together," I said.

"Arleen," he said.

"Right. Great gal. Catholic?"

"No, I'm Episcopalian."

"I meant Eileen."

"Arleen? Yeah, she's Catholic."

"Lemme tell you, Tom, marriage is like a . . ."

"Three ball in the side."

" . . . big empty canvas, OK?"

"A big, empty what?"

"Canvas. And it's up to the . . ."

" Kansas? A big, empty Kansas?"

"Look, forget that, OK? What I'm trying to say is that marriage is an awesome responsibility."

"Table leans to the left, you notice?"

"It's all about compromising, Tom."

"Uh-huh."

"Like if you want to watch 'MacGyver," only she wants to watch some movie with Farah Fawcett running around with a can of Sunoco 190, ready to burn her husband in bed. The two of you gotta compromise. Watch 'Coach' or something."

"'Coach.' That's a good show."

"Little things get on your nerves when you're married, though. You come home at 3 in the morning and right away she starts badgering you: 'Where were you? Where were you?'"

"I hate that stuff, man."

"You prob'ly have some questions about sex when you're married, huh?"

"Not really."

"Sex when you're married is like going to the 7-Eleven. Not as much variety, but at 3 in the morning, it's always there. Someone on TV said that."

"I'm hitting the 7-Eleven right after this."

"Sex is a small part of marriage, anyway, Tom."

"Get me a burrito and Big Gulp."

"A very small part, heh, heh."

"Maybe one of them Hostess fruit pies, too."

"Something about this conversation . . . I don't know."

"Nine ball up here."

"Like it's not very focused or something."

"They still got that Test Your Blood Pressure machine? At the 7-Eleven?"

"Marriage does funny things to people, Tom. For instance, my wife refuses to take out the garbage."

"This my beer?"

"Garbage can be piled to the ceiling -- yeah, that's yours -- she won't take it out. Says it's a man's job."

"Arleen wants me to get rid of my Bronco."

"Me, I see garbage as gender-neutral."

"Says we gotta buy a 'family' car."

"Chicken bones, coffee grinds, orange peels, how does disposing of that suddenly become a man's . . . your Bronco?! All due respect, I'd tell Eileen to shove it."

"Arleen."

"Man's Bronco is his own business!"

"Amen to that."

"Take away a man's Bronco, you take away his soul."

"You're preaching to the choir now, brother."

"Tom, we talk about sex in marriage yet?"

"Don't believe we did."

"That's 'cause there is none! Ha, ha . . . just a little married guy's humor there."

"Yo, they still have them chili dogs at the 7-Eleven?"

"Look, you don't need to hear an old guy like me babbling on and on. Here's to you and Eileen."

"Arleen."

"Lemme get this straight: It's Arleen?"

"Yeah, Arleen. That's her name."

"Huh! I coulda sworn it was . . ."

"Eight ball in the corner."

If memory serves, it was at this point that we all moved over to the bowling machine, which is when the conversation turned to the barmaid with the big chest.

I got home very late. The next day at softball practice, Tom said he appreciated our little talk, even though he only heard bits and pieces of it.

"Man, you were deep," he said.

You get as deep as you have to in those situations.

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