For those of you that know me personally, you probably have a fairly good idea of what my average ceremony is like, but for those of you who don't... I tend to do things a little differently. I did stand-up comedy for just over three years, and loved it intensely. Watching people enjoy themselves or laugh because of something I said or did has always been something that has brought me great satisfaction.
When I was young, a friend told me that his whole goal in life was to make people smile... or something like that. At the time I thought he was suuuper naive, but didn't tell him such. You just don't step on another person's life ambition, no matter how crazy it seems. It took me a lot of years to realize that fourth-grader was one of the wisest people I've ever met. I consider myself - even now - a student of that ten year-old, to the point that I've adopted that as a component of my own life's ambition.
Everyone, let's all pretend I said something really poignant and thought-provoking here, as a segue into what I really wanted to talk about, yeah?
I don't have the exact figures - I'm pretty sure I'd just bum myself out if I looked for them - but something like half of marriages fail... on a good day. The truth is probably much worse than that. When we're young and full of life, and excited to take on the world we act without doubting ourselves, or the choices we've made (or, if we doubt them, we pay precious little attention to those doubts). We choose a major, move to Connecticut, or some other place we aren't quite sure how to spell, we get married... and often find that our choices were made in haste, and end up regretting some of them. Okay, most of them. But before we're slapped with the salmon of life, we believe to our cores that we are the exception to the rules. We watched our parents get divorced, we watched our older siblings crash and burn wherever they went, and we're pretty sure that we've learned the lessons they did, and have this life thing pretty much figured out. So we charge headfirst into the world, bright-eyed and optimistic, believing that we hold the keys of wisdom that free us from the statistics.We ARE the exception, dammit, and you're gonna hear us roar.
Then the world gets to us, we've been slapped with a fish and we find that we really aren't sure of anything any more. We watch our friends get into bad situations - I have friends who are divorced, some with kids and some without, I have friends who are happily married, unhappily married, still living with their parents, and some who are still not sure what they want to do with their lives. I've watched people, some I don't know as well as I used to, and some I've kept up with. Facebook makes it easy to catch glimpses, but never to get the full story, the story my novelist's brain wants. However much of the story I know, it's clear to see that people my age are realizing that they aren't the exception, that the statistics are what they are, and doing anything involves rolling the dice against a merciless Game Master.
So why do we do things? Why did I ask a beautiful and interesting girl out this evening, if I - and just about everyone I know - have a Zero percent success rate with relationships, so far? Why, if I have only ever seen two or three successful, happy marriages, am I still even bothering to seek love? (To that beautiful, interesting girl, if you're reading this, please don't take all of this as anything. Bringing that up was a small example of a larger, more abstract idea I really wanted to discuss, and not a... you know what, I believe you understand what I'm getting at, and won't hold it against me. Anyway, I now return you to your regularly scheduled rant) Why would any sane person keep looking if we know that, more likely than not, if not in the first few years, then maybe twenty years later, after four kids and a whole lot of things have happened - both good and bad - the relationship will ultimately fail... and painfully so?
As naive as it sounds, it's hope. I hope to enjoy a tasty meal and a good conversation with a young lady this weekend. I hope eventually, I will find that I have faith in the very concept of marriage again, that I find another couple like those precious two or three that have made it... and find out how they did it. I hope that one day, when I do find that couple, that I am able to stand there, and make them laugh, and present them to the world as the one couple in millions that will make it, until death do they part.
Hell, I hope that I already have.
To all of the couples whose lives I have helped join, I wish you all of the happiness the world can supply. I know that sometimes it isn't much to speak of, but there are always smiles to be had, no matter the situation. When it gets hard, I want you to know and remember that I'm rooting for you.
More specifically, Tashia and Kayll, I want you to know that I deeply enjoyed watching you two during your ceremony. I believe that you are a couple that are going to bring hope to people like me, who struggle to have a little faith. I love you both, and wish all the best for you.