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Here comes the bride - there goes the afternoon.

I usually have no problem coping with boredom. I spent most of my early years in a small town during an era when watching the neighborhood dog sleep seemed interesting. I found mild joy in counting the cracks in the sidewalk, and on those rare summer days when a couple of dung beetles would roll past the porch, I was enthralled. I believe I can honestly say I have never placed unreasonable demands on life as a source of entertainment.

I am, however, bored by weddings. I have gone to perhaps 300 of them in my lifetime (including my own) and have almost always ended up wishing I had stayed home to watch the dog sleep.

I am not completely sure why weddings are so boring. On the surface they look as if they wouldn't be. There are people in facny costumes. There's music. There's closely choreographed pageatry. There is the high drama of two people publicly pledging their entire lives to each other. (Well, at least 3.9 years, if you believe the census.)

But in spite of all these "right elements," weddings don't quite escape the snooze factor for me. I think that's because they are all so predictable--as predictable as my cousin's four-hour slide presentation on his family's journey to the Grand Canyon.

For instance:

--There is the wedding of Suzie Schmaltz and Darrell Drip. They have each seen the movi Love Story 14 times and really do believe--in spite of all human evidence of the contrary--that "love means never having to say you're sorry." In fact, they go a step further and believe love means never heaving to say anything. Instead, they stare at and drool on each other throughout the ceremony--holding hands and batting eyes while Suzie's sorority sistern sings the theme from Endless Love.

Just before the "I do," the maid of honor steps forward and reads the couple's favorite poem--a one-stanza creation Darrell found in a fortune cookie on their first date. It says: "Love means always having to pay your check."

As the rites draw to a close, the minister says, "You may now kiss the bride.c Darrell does--for 15 minutes--and uses a Rumanian Vacuum Kiss he learned while on shore leave in the navy. (I've been to this one several times.)

--There is the wedding of Clyde Contemporary and Nancy Now. They wrote their own ceremony, which has lines in it like: "Will you, Clyde, take Nancy to cohabitate in a meaningful relationship until it is no longer meaningful?" (The groom's answer is "Sure.") She vows to "permit Clyde the freedom to reach his potential without applying undue stress upon his selfhood."

Clyde wears a corduroy sport coat and blue jeans. Nancy wears a hoop skirt she finds meaningful because it belonged to her great-aunt who once shook ands with Eleanor Roosevelt. The minister can't seem to follow the handwritten ceremony and finally gives up, asking: "Will you?" They both reply, "Sure," and walk back down the aisle as their parents weep hysterically in the front pews and a guitar in the balcony strikes up some tune no one recognizes.

--There is the wedding of Ken Kool and Barbie Beautiful. They met in modeling school. The procession includes 19 attendants for each. The minister's Bible is pink and white to match the bridesmaids' dresses and has an Izod alligator on the cover. The procession takes six hours, and because all the attendants are clones of the bride and groom, everyone loses interest after the third couple.

Just before the bride enters to begin her stroll toward nuptial bliss, 14 little girls dressed like cherubim and seraphim trip down the aisle and spread 350 pounds of rose petals on the white carpet. The brass section from the Boston Symphony rises to its feet and begins to herald the coming of the bride.

Finally the bride enters, escorted by two fathers--a little touch her mother thought up to fill out the wedding party a bit more. Seven little boys (Doc, Sleepy, Dopey, etc.) carry her train, which was designed to autdo Amtrak.

Everyone in the pews oohs and ahs. Several women cry at the sight. One of the escorting fathers (the one who still has the retanl tag on the tail of his tuxedo) also cries and operates a tiny calculator with one hand. This is the way those attending can tell which one is the real father and which one is the dummy. (Excuse the expression.)

I don't know whether these people ever get married. Three hours later when the bride reaches the altar, I am asleep.

In addition to these reoccurring weddings, there are several less prevalent ones I will not take the space to describe in detail but shall list:

--The back-to-nature wedding, held outdoors--usually in the rain at some fish-and-gun club. The vows are read from an old book by Marlin Perkins.

--The theme wedding. This wedding is tied to some other special event. It might be a Fourth of July wedding with the attendants dressed as Uncle Sam or a Super Bowl wedding with the bride wearing a Dallas Cowboy helmet instead of a veil.

--The nostalgia wedding, a favorite of the children of antique dealers, is held in a barn somewhere. The family spends $9,000 to make it appear that the wedding is taking place in 1895. (They fail.)

--The ethnic wedding, conducted by families who remember the old country--or claim to--or come from New Jersey. The postwedding party at these weddings is not boring--the wedding itself is boring. Throughout the ceremony, people keep nudging the father of the bride and asking: "When does the party start, Giuseppe?"

--The small, family wedding. These are all the second weddings, tenth weddings, quick weddings and embarrassing weddings to which only close family members are invited. These are my favorite weddings.

Whenever one of these weddings comes along, I'll just send a gift and stay home to watch the dog sleep.
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Title Annotation:satire
Author:Herron, Bud
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Date:Jul 1, 1985
Words:993
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