The one I should have married.
“Making the sport legal”, is what my mother used to call it with regards to the institution of marriage when it came to me. Her tongue-in-cheek description was usually meant just for you-know-who. The mother of ten, almost twelve, had serious concerns about her oldest tying the knot. To the point of being blunt, she would explain that marriage was meant for people with more than my allotment of gray matter. She used to call me a “gamoola.” Whatever that means.
She said I was born part Irish and mostly foolish and she just couldn’t see it in my future. She was also never shy about pointing out the smarter of the clan that such a bargain might benefit. My brother, who will be married for fifty years this year, always had a lock on the marriage, home, family, responsibilty, gene. Not so, I, as I have proven many times over the years.
When Nora had a lucid moment during a long illness, on what was soon to be her death bed, she would say, “Bobby, you wouldn’t ever do that, would you? Marriage is not for you.” Not that I was ever that close to the altar, mind you. I construed my own hybrid sampling program with a variety of patients from which I could do my extensive research. My interactions were always volatile and could collapse at any minute. That “any minute” always came sooner, not later. And not a minute too late.
More than ten years after she passed, at the end of the millenium, I met someone and hit it off. She was bright, level headed and attractive, and after a few years, I got married for the first (and last) time at fifty-five. As all good things do, they end. It was a good run and I fault no one. I think Nora would have approved.
But that’s not the intention of this piece. If I had done things the way I usually did them, meaning just lived with that person, instead of “making the sport legal” the parting of the ways would get extremely complicated. The amount of possessions and detritus, after that amount of time, can tie up courts for years.
If you waltz in with a he-said, she said, gimme back my dog you lousy bastard complaint and you never entered into a legally binding contract, good luck to you. You have almost no rights and the courts don’t even want to deal with you. My mother also used to say, “Love and a dollar will get you a cup of coffee.” Adjusted for inflation, she was right.
So Ma, if you’re listening, I was a sport, but at least I made it legal. For once.