Milestones for Letterman, newspaper, my marriage

What do David Letterman, my marriage and the Boyne City Gazette have in common?

They all constitute noteworthy occurrences in my little mustard jar of life.

LETTERMAN – Late Night with David Letterman ended after 33 years on the air and he will be missed.

The host’s influence on me and my brother Adam’s sense of humor cannot be overstated.

Everything, from the way he boldly pushed the boundaries of edgy late-night humor, to his use of sketches and recurring characters, and, of course, the iconic top 10 lists.

My brother still brings up the canned ham dispenser bit from decades ago.

A few great Dave quotes:

  • “It’s so warm now, and Thanksgiving came so early—is it just me, or does it not really feel like Ramadan?”
  • “Fall is my favorite season in Los Angeles, watching the birds change color and fall from the trees.”
  • “Next in importance to having a good aim is to recognize when to pull the trigger.”
  • “There’s no business like show business, but there are several businesses like accounting.”
  • “I’m just trying to make a smudge on the collective unconscious.”

NEWSPAPER – In the first act of the movie “300”—a story about half-naked, sexy Spartan muscle men fighting those who would force them to wear shirts—the king kicks an enemy messenger in the chest while screaming “This … is … Spartaaaaaaa!”

Speaking of 300, I am pleased to see the Boyne City Gazette published its 300th issue last week.

And, while there are a few people I wouldn’t mind kicking in the chest, I promise to keep my shirt on.

This newspaper was started at the height of the worst recession since the Great Depression. Doing so at a time when every internet guru and technophile salivated over the forecast demise of all things print was a risky proposal.

In August, we’ll turn 7.

In honor of those facts, I peaked into my wallet a little early this year to reread the same news clipping I’ve had there since June 6, 2006. On it is a brief opinion column assuring the end of newspapers within 15 years.

That was nine years ago.

Maybe someday everyone will do all their reading via brain download or a hologram projected by the Apple iNoseRing.

But, for now, dead trees and ink aren’t going anywhere.

“This … is … paperrrrrrr!”


MARITAL MILESTONE – On May 30, the wife and I celebrated 21 years together. I’m no Dr. Phil, but I’ve learned a thing or two. So, in honor of Dave, here’s a top 10 list about marriage:

10. Never go to bed hungry – The old adage is to “never go to bed angry” but, let’s face it, that’s not always doable. Besides, that pepperoni and mustard sandwich won’t yell at you for eating a pepperoni and mustard sandwich just before bed.

9. Miscommunication – They say communication is key to a strong relationship. In my experience, talking openly and honestly with your partner makes it very difficult to lie to them.

Does she really want to know how many beers you drank with the boys last night?

Can your blood pressure handle knowing she spent $1,000 on designer glasses?

If familiarity breeds contempt, then communication leads to, “My mother was right about you!”

8. Financial Fairness – An article suggested couples discuss their financial styles before marrying.

“I’m an aggressive foreign markets investor. Where do you see yourself in 18 months?”
“Uh, moving my junk into your apartment?”

7. Surrender – There are lots of chances in this life to surrender: surrender yourself to Jesus; to the sweet jazz stylings of Miles Davis; to the cops after a six-day manhunt.

The most important surrender you’ll ever make is the one to your wife.

I was 19 when my Uncle Bert taught me the two most important words in the world: “Yes, dear.”

Sure, you’re not always going to want to drive through a snowstorm at three a.m. for clam chowder to cure a pregnancy craving. And, what sane person takes down the tent after dark to move because one of you has an irrational fear of fire?

But you do these things.

You do them because marriage.

I know some of you are saying, “But, Ben, that doesn’t sound fair.”

Fair? Wedding vows speak not of fairness.

Priest: “Do you Mildred promise to love, honor and cherish Daniel?”
Mildred: “I do.”
Priest: “Do you Daniel vow to give her the big half of the candy bar? To get out of bed and kill innocent mice in the hall closet? To fix the thingy that’s broken but not really broken because nobody put batteries in it? To order the pizza, because she doesn’t like talking on the phone unless it’s for an hour with her mother?”

Daniel: “You didn’t ask her any of those things?”
Priest: “Now you’re getting it, sport!”

6. No Nukes! – A recent article I read says folks who don’t swear or call names in the first few minutes of the fight are more apt to stay together. So, you know, save the nuclear option for telemarketers and in-laws.

Dr. Phil suggests using “I feel” statements like so:

“When I’m working on a deadline and you say ‘let’s eat’ I feel like punching you in the boob and giving your dinner to the dog.”

5. Give it a try – Unless there is physical or emotional abuse or drugs or gambling, you might just trying sticking it out for a while—especially if you have kids. On second thought, a little drugs and gambling might be just what you need!

4. Sex – The wife told me not to write on this topic.
“Yes dear!”

3. Parenting – You’re going to disagree on parenting styles but the first thing you should know is that nobody knows anything about parenting—nothing!

You’ll need to compromise with your spouse about how best to reach your children. One of you may use a stick, while the other prefers a longer stick.

2. Do Less Together – Studies show spouses who have friends that know each other are more likely to split. Couples too similar are more likely to divorce. And, having separate hobbies is good for your marriage.

Not only do opposites attract, but they’re less likely to be found on the kitchen floor with their hands wrapped firmly around each other’s neck.

1. Be Honest – Do you care more about you than you do about others?

When someone asks to borrow something, do you scream, “Mine! Mine! Mine!”

Does the idea of people stealing all but one of your pairs of new socks right out of your dresser without asking tick you off?

Ho-ho! Just say “no” to matrimony.

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