Monday, June 11, 2012


There are two unique hemispheres to my brain. Not the right and left. Everybody has those for the most part. I'm talking about the plotting and the pantsing parts. And, here's the trick, one lives inside the other, and yet I swear they are of equal strength. If you look at my brain, you'll see one brain-shaped thingie with no seams. That's the plotting brain. Inside of that, like a floating kidney, is the Pantsing Brain. It's the part that nods and smiles while Plotting Brain explains what we're about to do, then dekes and makes a run for unknown territories at the first opportunity. It's the Leroy Jenkins of invented human organs.

Want an example? I was going to do a post about how strange the convention of marriage is, how much effort goes into making it work and the final advantages of it. I may have been led astray.

* * *

Marriage is one of the oddest conventions I can think of. I understand the purpose of it, the reasons behind common-type law marriages, before the rituals and various authorities got involved, with their blessings and their licenses. But the mechanics, the actual meat and bones of the thing, are strange.

If someone came up to me on the street and asked if I wanted to spend most of the rest of my life with him and whatever collection of strangers he might have revolving around him - sight unseen, mind you - I would most likely say no. Because that's fucking insane.

Unless that man was Zachary Quinto, in which case I'd think that he seemed like an interesting fellow who was probably surrounded by lots of interesting people, and I might agree, but more out of curiosity than dedication.

I once read (I think this was Joseph Campbell or, if it wasn't, I was reading The Power of Myth at the same time I read this) that marriage isn't simply two people uniting. It is, by the act of agreeing to get married, the creation of a third thing. You make your vows, but those vows aren't just promises to each other. They're promises to the marriage itself.

"I take you in sickness and in health" means that I won't let the marriage wither and die just because you ate all that bad crab meat and fell ill, then developed a secondary infection that became permanent, and then your hair fell out  - not because the crab meat was bad but because you're actually allergic to it - and so now you have endless diarrhea and mangy hair.

Where was I going with this?

Oh, yes. So, when I stay with my spouse through these bad times (that was a hypothetical. our crab-eating has never had dire consequences), I'm sustaining the marriage. Sacrificing to it, I think Campbell (or whoever) said. Like there is this invisible, shivering presence over in the corner behind the recliner, and each day that the spouses stay together it becomes more substantial. Growing more powerful on the mutual sacrifice. Or maybe it starts off substantial, a warmth surrounding the shared home that glows brightly and once just before nightfall. But, if it's forgotten, then it darkens and dissipates. And then one day, you've got the Swiffer out and it swiffs up a pile of ash behind the recliner and the marriage is over. The two spouses are intact (having survived the crab incident), but the third thing - that entity you created through the exchange of words - has died.

Alternatively, I suppose it would be possible to give too much to the marriage, taking too little for yourself. You will become aware of this when your sister stops by to check out the kitchen remodel and leans in and says, "Who's that hairy bloke eating turkey legs on the divan?" And you look over and realize the bloke wiping his greasy mouth on the curtains is your marriage, bloated and smug, and that it's your needs and dreams that you've been swiffing up for the last few years and, by God, perhaps it's time to put that fucker on a diet.


Allow me to sum up:

1. Marriage is an odd thing.
2. Marrying creates a third entity which may or may not come from a demon realm, sparking into existence through the conjuring magic of vows.
3. If "swiffs" isn't a verb, it should be.

Any questions?

1 comment:

  1. Great post. Also, you linked to a WoW video, which makes your post extra awesome.