A Trolley-Dodger in the Land of Nutmeg Plenty - Part One

For those of you who haven't caught on yet, lemme break it down for you right quick: marriage is an archaic institution originally designed as the only way for women to acquire property in society. Hell, women used to come with a dowry in marriage. A man not only got the (usually broken) promise of nailing the broad every night for the rest of eternity, he got a booty to boot. Not to mention the fact that in the good ol' days of unpasteurized milk and homes sans indoor plumbing life expectancy was around 40, which meant when you agreed to "until death do us part" you were only making about a 20 year commitment. Now, that number has at least tripled, make fidelity a near impossibility. And in this enlightened age of Sign Here stickers and HMOs, chicks now have equal access to professions and property as men, making marriage simply an act of tradition, much like Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery." I define a tradition as something that's been done for such a long time that no one questions it simply because it has, regardless of how much, if any, sense it makes. Times change, and certain traditions should be reflective of those changes.

In any case, I've never been a big fan of marriage for two other reasons: 1) If you truly have found your eternal soulmate, no state-sanctioned piece of paper or dreary speech by a sex-starved schlub in a robe who drinks wine from a challis for a living should make that bond any stronger than it is. 2) Marriage acts as a sort of safety net. It's as if you're saying you don't trust each other enough to be faithful, so this legal document will ensure it, consequences being grounds for divorce and 50% of your American assets. Soulmates need no safety nets.

Money and marriage, you see, are essential bedfellows and I for one don't think that's the sort of bond soulmates should share. If that is the underlying foundation of a relationship, it's doomed. And in case you haven't heard, divorce rates in the good ol' USA are plus 50%, so I must be onto something.

That being said, weddings themselves are great events if for one main reason: the open bar. So when an old Army buddy called me one night to actually be IN his wedding as an emergency substitute groomsman, I jumped at the chance. After all, aside from the open bar, you get to sit at the head table next to pretty, tight-dressed women, drink the better wine, and look for a few hours like you're actually an important part of somebody's life. Well, with a mind on massive consumption at no cost to me, and an eye on a story (which you lucky bastards have before you pro bono) I myself, a born and bred trolley-dodger, headed into the land of nutmeg and UCONN basketball. UCONN basketball is one holy concept you DO NOT want to blaspheme while in Husky-land. One of my coolest ex-'s is from Connecticut, so I had learned first-hand to not say an unkind word about Jim Calhoun, Kevin Ollie, or any other aspect of the University of Connecticut basketball program while in the Constitution State. It is a sanctified institution. Once, while in Coach Calhoun's bar in Hartford, I foolishly said out loud that I thought UCONN may not win the national championship that year. I wound up stuffed in the basket of a Pop-A-Shot game within minutes of the heretical comment. It may be because Nutmeggers are so close to the basketball Hall of Fame, just across the border in Springfield, Mass, and yet lack a pro hoops team. Or maybe it's because they live in the large shadow of the legendary history of the Boston Celtics. I don't know.

Knowing of all these things beforehand I still somehow managed, as alcohol worked its way into my Better Judgment, to get into some feverishly spirited conversations (the kind usually reserved to make convicts on death row see the light - there was the kneeling, the imploring, the evidence of statistics, and finally the promise of eternal damnation should I refuse to see the UCONN God as the true God) during the weekend. By the time I was riding the tracks back to New York, I was almost converted into a true believer. Almost.

In the very next issue of ScowlZine: witness the miracles of a Connecticut wedding and a hunters lodge reception! Will the tux fit? Will the jokes be funny? Will Frank get so drunk he actually (gasp!) DANCES? Find out ONLY in the next Maelstrom.