Dear Future Wife,
Hello. I didn’t see you there. Maybe that’s because I’m blind as a bat, or the fact that I’m barely 5’1 so a lot of things (like short jokes) go right over my head. I’m not sure how you found this letter, but either way, here we are. If this relationship is going to go anywhere there are some other things I think you have a right to know from the outset. Take some time and mull over what you learn. Then, you can make an informed decision about the future of our relationship and if things eventually go south, I can point to this letter and say with confidence that you were warned.
1). I’m a writer. What this means has already been extensively covered, so I won’t beat a dead horse (particularly because I am not a fan of animal cruelty) but you must understand that writing is a very mood-driven moment-to-moment process that I do not always control. I write at bizarre times when the inspiration strikes and I can’t promise when that’s going to be. I’m crazy. I’ll write and write and write and then tear the page completely screaming at the top of my lungs in frustration that it’s complete shit and that I’ll never write anything again. My future memoir has gone through seven working titles, yet I haven’t written a single page. I know that to be an artist you have to make art. Imagine that. So while I’m perpetually stuck in my lunacy waiting for inspiration you’re going to have to deal.
2). My bookshelf is filled with books half-read. Some I’ll get to. Others I won’t. Regardless, when you eye it and curiously ask if you can borrow it, my reflexive answer will almost always be no. Why? “Because,” I’ll say emphatically, “I’m going to read it.” The reality that it’s sat on my shelf untouched for months means nothing. If the mood does strike me I want to have the opportunity to read it without having to harass you to return it.
3). If it’s Sunday it’s Meet the Press. That isn’t just a tagline, it’s a reality. I’m an unapologetic policy wonk and living in D.C. only adds fuel to the fire. I will religiously watch Meet the Press every single Sunday and I would love it if you would engage in a philosophical and political discussion with me at the same time. You’ve got be able to keep up with what’s going on in the world. I realize that the show itself is much more about David Gregory meeting the the newsmakers and the spokespeople for the press and not so much the press themselves, but that’s really beside the point. If you want to really meet the press, watch Jay Carney during a press briefing. That’s some PR Jiu-Jitsu. That’s not to say David Gregory isn’t press, but calling it Meet David Gregory with David Gregory is more than redundant. Not only are we watching it, we’re doing it in sweats comfortably and there will be refreshments involved. Sure it may only be an hour long, but this kind of political theater deserves popcorn.
4). I’m the most indecisive person you’ll ever meet. Or am I? In a word, yes. Where shall he go to dinner? Chinese? Mexican? I might want tacos, I’m not quite sure yet. Wait – didn’t we have one of those last week? I don’t care. I’m craving it. I want the fortune cookie, or the extremely addictive chicken enchilada, or whatever it is. While we’re on the subject, should we see the 7:30 showing at the nearest theater or the 8:00 showing at the theater that’s a little further simply because I know the seating will be nicer and it’s likely to be less crowded? Which shirt should I wear? I don’t care that we’re going to be sitting in the dark. I need something that brings out my eyes.
5). I combat my indecisiveness by going to Starbucks. As Tom Hanks astutely observedin You’ve Got Mail, one of the great benefits of Starbucks is that it instills indecisive people like myself with a tremendous sense of accomplishment by forcing us to make as many as six decisions in a matter of seconds just to order one cup of coffee. All it costs, according to Hanks, is $2.95. Of course, that was 15 years ago. Adjusted for inflation, the cost of that defining sense of self has more than doubled. So help you God if you expect anything from me ahead of my morning coffee.
6). I’ll kill spiders for you if you promise to get things off of the top shelf for me. In case you missed it, see my note above about being super short. I’m convinced the only person who understands my plight in that regard is Peter Dinklage. Thanks to Cerebral Palsy I have balance and coordination issues, too, so please don’t ask me to climb on a ladder or a step stool unless you want me falling and ending up in the ER. Been there. Done that. Bought the T-shirt. I’ll probably go there again many times, but I like to avoid the foreseeable disasters at the very least.
Keep in mind that my preferred method of killing spiders is not quite the manly one that you envision. If I see something creepy crawly my first reaction is going to be throwing a shoe box at it and moments later tiptoeing up to it to see if it’s dead. At the slightest indication of movement, I will completely freak out, declare that portion of my apartment a disaster area, seal it with police tape, and never go back there again. The whole notion of that creepy crawly thing being more scared of me than I am of it is a complete fallacy. I don’t buy that for one iota, not even a second.
7). If it’s between April and October and it’s 1:05 or 7:05 it’s time for baseball. You’re welcome to join me, in fact I encourage it, but be warned that I am one of those people who screams at the TV during a game. Yes I know it’s illogical, and yes I know the players can’t hear me, but short of actually being in the stadium it’s the best I can do. I like to think that on some cosmic level my inane screaming actually has some positive impact on the decisions made in the game. Yes, I realize I’m at home watching this game but I will wear my jersey anyway. I’ll argue balls and strikes with the umpire despite my vision and I’ll chastise players for not running fast enough or jumping higher at any given moment. With all that money they’re getting paid they should do whatever they have to do to win. If we lose, I’m going to be very upset, so it’s best to leave me alone.
I’m not going to tell you that your relative can’t die or that I won’t go with you to Parisbecause it’s the playoffs and there’s a big rivalry happening— i.e. Yankees vs. the Red Sox—but they/you get major bonus points for taking that into consideration.
8). I’m not really good at sharing my food. It’s my food, and I’m hungry. No I’m not a jackass. I’m hypoglycemic. There’s a difference. I proportion my meals accordingly. Besides, anyone who’s ever asked me for “just a small bite” has redefined what the word “small” actually means to the point where I’m left wondering if I’m going to faint in the very near future as my blood sugar continues to drop and there isn’t an energy bar in sight.
9). I will quote random pieces of cinema on the fly and expect you to understand why and how it relates to what we’re talking about. I know you’ve never seen the movie (you’re working on that, right?) but I’m going to quote it anyway. The connection in my brain is there. The lines connecting one thought to another may be thin, but they exist and I will expect you to keep up.
10). I will forever be stuck in the 90’s musically. Can I help it if that decade of music shaped my childhood and my thoughts on what would ultimately be defined in my head as “classic" music? No. So every time I hear “Hand in My Pocket“, “Tearin’ Up My Heart” or “Mr. Jones” I will sing it with every vocal bone in my body like I’m trying to turn a chair on The Voice. Speaking of the 90’s, "As Long as You Love Me” is a song title that belongs to the Backstreet Boys, not Justin Bieber. Stop causing brand confusion.
Along the same vein, playing songs on repeat is not an uncommon occurrence either, and there is usually a great story behind it ranging from inspirational/motivational kicks to pushing myself beyond emotional hangups. When you have the time, I’ll explain what prompted 15 straight hours of Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’” or how John Mayer’s Battle Studies was responsible for getting me across the finish line during my master’s thesis.
11). Drinking is a rare occurrence unless I am in the company of longtime friends. Have you ever noticed how quickly alcohol turns people into one of the seven dwarfs? Think about it. Happy, Bashful, Dopey, Sleepy, Grumpy, Sneezy? As for Doc, well he was constantly mixing up words, losing his train of thought and mumbling. Need I say more? I’m just not into the whole thing. Plus, when you have C.P. another truth sets in rather quickly. I can barely walk when I’m sober, much less intoxicated. Acting/looking the part doesn’t require libations when you’re blessed with a neurological disorder the very nature of which restricts muscle movement and results in a shuffled gait among other things. On the rare occasion that I do drink, cycling through Kübler-Ross’ stages of grief is also likely.
Denial. Here I am a few drinks in and trying to convince myself that walking across the room without injury is possible. “You can do it” says my drunk brain. My body clearly having other ideas, like staying sill in the name of self preservation.
Anger. “Damn it. I am going to do what I want. If I want to get up and move, I will.” I then promptly stumble and fall. That’s what I get for not listening.
Bargaining. I’m not a religious guy, but here it comes. “OK, God. I can’t afford to lose [any more of] my dignity in front of these people. Let me just get from point A to point B without injuring myself and I’ll be in synagogue first thing Saturday.” [Stumble] “OK. OK. Friday and Saturday. You win. “
Grief. This is where I’ll realize that despite all my personal achievements and the medical miracles to date, my quest to be a real boy will never include the ability to even feign being functionally drunk even at my best.
Acceptance. I know the effects of alcohol on my body. So if I do drink and you happen to be there, consider it a sign that I place a tremendous amount of faith and trust in our friendship.
Now you know exactly what you’re getting into, for better or worse. If and when we do get married I am having this letter appended to our prenup. But you’ll love me anyway, so it won’t matter.
I Told You This From Day One