My wife and I met in Pensacola when I was stationed there as an Instructor at the Naval Technical Training Center.
At the time I was the king of really, really lousy relationships. Really.
Think I’m kidding?
In no particular order, I’d been involved with a self-destructive alcoholic, an self-destructive obsessive compulsive, a self-destructive hypochondriac, a pathological liar, and a faithless bitch who managed to get herself pregnant while engaged to me all the while loudly claiming that she was still a virgin (just for the record the father wasn’t me, it was half the Marine barracks, a couple of Seabees, and a Tijuana horse act). Those were the highlights. I wasn’t any better at the casual date – in fact my so-calling ‘dating’ life was an ongoing comedy of errors that resembled a Ben Stiller movie, i.e. not funny and more than a little mean, just for meanness sake. My dating life could be best summed up by that sound the Titanic made as it slowly and inexorably ground down the side of the iceberg, ripping open its guts in a scree of tearing metal, freezing water, and impending doom. Hell, I once went out with a girl who, during dinner, mentioned that she had to be home by 8:00PM so she could get ready for her real date - see that guy couldn’t pay for dinner but he was really hot, so this way she got a good dinner with me, and got to go clubbing with a really hot guy later. And she was the kind of girl who couldn’t figure out why I might be insulted when she dropped that little gem of gold digging logic in the middle of the main course. As I recall, she ended up taking a taxi home.
Remember that Zevon song? Lawyers, Guns, and Money? Like that, only without the joy.
By the time I met the woman who would become my wife, I had basically sworn off relationships of any kind, forever. No dating. No nothing. Kiss my ass.
Bitter? You have no idea.
But I had a friend, a woman I worked with as a volunteer on the weekends at the USO, who just would not leave me alone. She swore she knew a girl who was perfect for me. She pestered me for weeks about it. She kept on about it every single time I saw her, like one of those little yappy dogs. Yap yap yap. It was driving me insane.
A blind date? With my track record? Sure, what could possibly go wrong?
Tell me about her, I said. Well, replied my friend, she’s really nice! Nice? Uh no thanks. Idi Amin in drag, no doubt. Nice girls are the absolute worst.
But my friend just wouldn’t leave me the hell alone and finally I gave in and agreed to call the girl. I fully expected it to be a disaster of about 9.98 on the shitty-date-O-meter. She’d be crazy (because, as you know, all woman are psycho), she’d have hygiene issues and terminal BO, or talk to invisible friends, or bring along her husband who was out on parole, or be a Soviet spy, or some goddamned thing.
The only reason I agreed to the date was so I could get it over with and so I could say, “See? I told you so, now shut up. No really, shut up or I will hit you in the head with a shovel and feed your body to the alligators. Shut up.”
Things didn’t work out exactly as I expected.
It was literally love at first sight. I kid you not. She was the most amazing woman I’d ever met.
And she liked me.
As of today, we’ve been married 18 years.
I’m taking the day off. See you tomorrow.