The Other Half of the Story

P&L-Cake-TopperYou can’t stay married to the same person for almost twenty years without amassing a goldmine of writing material. In some form or other, I’ve used a lot of events from our “real life” in my fiction, good and bad. The bad ones somehow end up funnier. Heck, if life gives you citrus fruit, why not squeeze them into tasty adult beverages for other people’s entertainment?

This past weekend, we were with family, and one story led to another. It never takes much prompting for my husband to start telling the Tale of the Worst Day of his Life. Although the years have magnified each horrible turn by a factor of ten, it originally started like this: My boss at the time, a lovely woman, decided that when she turned fifty, she would throw herself a bat mitzvah. Great. I had no judgments about that. I even helped her type her script and do her invitations. But it happened to fall on the hottest day of the year, in a building without air conditioning, and went on for three hours while we sat on metal folding chairs sweating through our itchy grown-up clothing. This was in Woodstock, so nearly everyone else wore Birkenstocks and shorts, a fact that irked my spouse all the more, as did the fact that the rabbi performing the ceremony was the same one who’d refused to marry us because “it would be a hollow experience,” [his exact words] as we had both stepped away from our Jewish roots. But if we paid five hundred bucks to join the Congregation, he would be happy to oblige. Okay. Given all that, however, Husband is no stranger to religious ceremonies, so he expected that after being forced to sit through such a ceremony, with the Torah performed as interpretive dance, yet (I may be exaggerating), at least there would be food.

No food. Just tabouli, iced tea, and an awkward wait at the receiving line. He made me stop at McDonald’s on the way home.

We perform this story as a duet now, filling in the parts that the other didn’t remember or was laughing too hard to get through. As I chimed in with, “and in the first row they’d wheeled in ten people from her mother’s nursing home, and they were hooting and singing all the way through it,” my stepmother and my brother’s girlfriend just about lost it. At the same time, they said, “Use it! Why haven’t you used that somewhere?”

I was flummoxed. It’s great stuff. I don’t know why I never used it. Maybe I felt it would be disloyal? Or maybe I just never found a home for it yet. But it’s there, waiting for the right set of characters.

Is there a story from your life that you yearn to write about one day? What’s stopping you? Or do you have one that gets exaggerated every time you retell it?

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16 thoughts on “The Other Half of the Story

    • laurieboris says:

      Holy smokes, Yvonne! I hope nobody got hurt! Jeez, kids… When my parents brought me home from the hospital, my brother (also four) said, “I wanted a brother!”

      • Yvonne Hertzberger says:

        I had laid her on the floor so I could take some muffins out of the oven. I think, because I heard her squawk I turned around right away to see him jump back onto the sofa. I took her to the chiropractor, who adjusted her and said she was fine.She only cried for a couple of minutes, so I think he never put his full weight on her. I was so afraid I’d seriously lose it with my son I didn’t speak to him the rest of the day. His father got the story from him when he came home. When I heard, I couldn’t be angry any more. There was nothing malicious about it. It was a science experiment. We laugh about it now.

  1. Jen Daniele says:

    What a timely post. My husband and I were married on June 25th, 2005. That’s only eight years of married stories, but we’ve got six years of shackin’ up stories, too. While most of them involve some kind of catastrophe, they invariably wind up being retold as comedies – like the time a neighbor’s dog hurled himself at my husband as he rode his motorcycle down our street. My husband wound up with a broken scapula and seriously hideous road rash, but the dog was fine, not a scratch on him – and I swear he was smirking afterwards.
    Now, I could focus on the memory of hearing the screech of his tires, the crash of metal and plastic parts, and the sound his helmet made when it bounced several times on the pavement. But no. All we talk about is how he was once rode half a block with a mutt attached to his face.

    I haven’t found a fictional home for that one yet.

  2. Mother of many says:

    Marriage does give us plenty of ammo …I mean stories! I have 25 years of them stocked up and when the hub gets going they get bigger and bigger 🙂
    One of ours is about the time my bachelorette party met up with his bachelor party by means of fate and the fated “stripper” for the bus met my fist! The truth is I had no choice it was self defense but he tells it far differently.
    With 7 kids the stories we have in our arsenal go on and on!

  3. jacquiegum says:

    The married stories have waned in the 12 years I’ve been divorced. Now the on-line dating stories have taken over. There are many I’d like to blog about, but my editor finds them “unsuitable”. Maybe… but they are hilarious! 🙂

  4. Peabea says:

    So true, and after going on 50 years of marriage this November, our stories get really mixed up as to who takes credit for it, and then it’s hard to remember parts as our memories wane, but I so relate to the laughing so much when we recall some of the funnier ones. One not so fun for me was when we were first married, we just weren’t really the wrestling type, but one time hubby was tickling me and we had this magazine rack that had sharp spear like things sticking up all around. I thought it was metal, and cute, never thought about those. Anyway, wrestling going on, and I sat on it and it went into luckily in the fattier part of my bum cheek, but when I tried to get up ~ his comment ~ you have a magazine rack stuck to your .ass (his words).

    I didn’t even feel it until he said that, we were laughing so hard. Needless to say with a toddler, it was a wake up call and that thing was in the trash pronto once it left my derrierie.

    Great reminder Laurie of the funnier times in marriage. 🙂

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