1972: the Okie and I

crossing the border

I never said so explicitly here, but the Okie and I were 19 and madly in love. After I got arrested, she lived in my parents’ house in Johnson City, NY, near Binghamton. Even reading about it in my journal, I still can’t figure out, “How did that happen?”

And because we were 19 and knew everything, we decided that maybe we should get married. We talked to my parents about it, as well as our family friends Betty and Jim, with whom we played cards. Of course, they all thought this was a terrible idea. Perhaps the conversation started making both of us a bit anxious.

The rules then, as we understood them, were that we couldn’t get married in New York State without the consent of a parent. Here’s an interesting tidbit. In the state of Pennsylvania, as of Tuesday, August 22, 18-year-olds can get married without parental permission.

The Okie and I traveled to Susquehanna, PA, on Tuesday, August 22. We saw a Dr. Davis, who took blood samples. He was having difficulty finding my vein, which distressed me. To Montrose, PA, the next day to get a registration form which asked questions like could I support my wife economically? We told Betty, who told us we should tell my father before the fact.

The day

Saturday, August 26: my sister Leslie wore a red and white pantsuit. The Okie wore the long dress she made last year. We put the cake that my sister Marcia had made, champagne et al. in the car. Borrowed a pair of Dad’s car, the pair I had broken buckles. I wore a Guatemalan work shirt and jeans.

We went to Montrose, which has inverted traffic lights. Got the license. MD has sent blood tests, and we don’t have syphilis.

Returned to Binghamton and went to my friend Carol’s house, where her then-beau Jon was already. Carol’s sister Annette questioned me on my reasons for getting married. Carol’s mother already knew about the plan, but her father was surprised and congratulated us.

Jon and I went to Hi-Fi Record Shop and bought a couple tapes, including Electric Hot Tuna. We went to the Justice of the Peace, one Norman O. Brummer, waited and talked about rain had stinted the corn. Finally, The Okie, Leslie, and Carol arrive. Norman’s wife was nice.

The Okie looked beautiful. She was, for lack of a better word, radiant. Jon had my ring, and Leslie had the Okie’s. We all went to the Skylark Motel on Vestal Parkway. Leslie took all the corny pictures (cutting cake, drinking not very good champagne.

The next day

After breakfast, we went to Betty and Jim’s house and hung out with their kids. When we got back to my parents, they were in a good mood, although I heard through the grapevine (my sisters? Betty?) that Dad wished he knew beforehand. We loaded the car and the next day, drove off.

You may wonder what the urgency was in getting married. From a reliable source, my arrest at IBM Poughkeepsie caused a bit of static for her father at work, IBM Kingston. Apparently, the “bad” behavior of his daughter’s boyfriend made his jerk of a boss make noise about Okie’s dad’s employment.

Moreover, if we were married, the Okie’s parents could treat me like a son-in-law. Us living together in sin would have been difficult for them to cope with. At some level, that was probably true of the Okie and me as well.

Why you will marry the wrong person

we are basically psychologically quite strange

why you will marry the wrong personI came across this 22-minute video Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person some months ago. Alain de Botton, Creator of The School of Life, spoke at a Google event in London in 2017.

It makes a lot of sense. Happy Valentine’s Day!

“The reason is that all of us will not manage to find the right person, but we will probably all of us manage to find a good-enough person. And that’s success, as you will come to see.” Wow, is this guy romantic!

The reason why this will happen is that “we are basically psychologically quite strange.” In other words: “I know that you’re not easy to live with. And the reason is that you’re Homo sapiens and, therefore, you are not easy to live with. No one is.”

Really? “Our friends don’t want to tell us. Why would they bother? They just want a pleasant evening out… Our parents don’t tell us very much. Why would they? They love us too much. They know…

“And our ex-lovers, a vital source of knowledge. They know. Absolutely they know.” Well, THAT’S undoubtedly true, at least in my case.

“Almost all of us are addicts, not injecting heroin as such… I like to define addiction… Addiction is basically any pattern of behavior whereby you cannot stand to be with yourself and sort of the more uncomfortable thoughts and, more importantly, emotions that come from being on your own.

“And so, therefore, you can be addicted to almost anything so long as it keeps you away from yourself, as long as it keeps you away from tricky self-knowledge… And this is a disaster for your capacity to have a relationship with another person because until you know yourself, you can’t properly relate to another person.”

I don’t want to give away the payoff of Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person, but it involves redefining love, or at least the idealization thereof, and sulking and hope and Kierkegaard. Here’s the transcript.

Oct. rambling: idealism, cynicism

coming to the aid


cell phone functions
XKCD is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.
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John Oliver: National Weather Service

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Today’s Environmental Crisis Was Created in 1919

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Why The Normalization of Stan Culture is Unhealthy

Tips you need to know to help you spot fake news

D.C.’s Newseum Is Closing Its Doors at the End of the Year

What Happens Right Before Your Best Employee Quits

The Best Home Protection: Home Security Systems

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Goodbye DARE — More Schools Are Embracing Realistic Drug Education

A good reason to brush your teeth – from the American Dental Association

How Long Do Average U.S. Marriages Last?

Was Bruce Springsteen born to be a filmmaker?

Greg Burgas: Idealism and cynicism in art

Albany Library Foundation gala photos by DTrae Carter (I’m in there somewhere)

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Canned Pumpkin Isn’t Pumpkin At All

Mad as a Hatter


Do What’s Right – chockablock with links

He serves nobody except himself


The un-American president: he hugs the flag every chance he gets, but the truth is very dark indeed

The Daily Show: Kurds edition; John Oliver: Syria

AIER: Presidential Harassment Is a Public Good and Five Wrong Claims about Trade

Rob Dreher in The American Conservative: Is he mentally unstable?

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Nate White: Why do some British people dislike him?

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William Barr’s Wild Misreading of the First Amendment


Guiliani – Randy Rainbow

The Fury – a suite from John Williams’s score

Coverville: 1282: Cover Stories for No Doubt and Avril Lavigne and 1283: Yes Cover Story and Yacht Rock Revue Interview

Piano Sonata No. 9 by Alexander Scriabin

Moses Supposes from Singin’ in the Rain, re-created by dancer Derek Hough and an animated Donald O’Connor

The Isle of the Dead, Sergei Rachmaninov’s epic tone poem

How’d You Like to Spoon With Me? – Angela Lansbury, from Till The Clouds Roll By (1946)

Swing You Sinners! (Fleischer Studios)

You’ve Got to Eat Your Spinach – Mae Questel

Hocus Pocus – Focus, from Disney and Pixar’s Onward, released 6 March 2020

Nippertown: IN MEMORIAM: LYRICIST ROBERT HUNTER Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a non-performing member of the Grateful Dead

Married one score: the first year was the hardest

Carol and Roger
Carol and Roger, June 2018
Carol and I got married 20 years ago. Maybe a decade ago, I told her I thought the first year was the hardest, and I’ll stand by that.

After we got married, we moved into the first floor of the two-apartment house she owned. One of the very few things our then-pastor said that turned out to be sage is that we should move into another place that was ours.

Carol didn’t understand. She was making room for my stuff. But that was just it; she was making room in HER place for MY stuff. And not all of it; a love seat I had purchased only a couple years before, one of the first pieces of real, new furniture I ever bought I gave away.

Squeezing my stuff in was tedious. I had a dresser on top of a dresser, after some cable station guy – maybe on HGTV – said that to fit everything in, you must build “up, up, UP!”

In July 1999, she went on a trip to Scotland with her college friend, an excursion she had planned before we were engaged. I encouraged her to go. But being alone in that space, with its specific creaks and noises was rather unsettling.

We had gotten married at our United Methodist Church. But by February, after “the troubles” had taken hold, we spent two weeks at Emmaus Methodist with the Hispanic gathering that had booted out of Trinity, against the specific wishes of the congregation.

Then, since the Trinity choir was still banned from singing, I started sitting in at the choir at First Pres. But Carol went back to attending Trinity, keeping up with the gossip.

Meanwhile, we were house shopping. We found a house we REALLY liked in the fall, but the hidden water damage in a wall caught in the inspection made that a no go. Finally, the house we now live in went down in price and we bought it.

i went to the closing, without Carol, but with a cashier’s check. Our lawyer had miscalculated the amount due and I was $1800 short; talk about angina. I borrowed money from somewhere, maybe a credit card, to close on May 8, 2000, a week shy of our first anniversary.

After surviving that first anxiety-prone year, I figure we can get through anything. Happy anniversary, my dear.

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A brief history of men getting credit for women’s accomplishments

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Ruben Bolling won the 2017 Herblock Prize

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MEET APRIL THE GIRAFFE, formerly from Catskill Game Farm!

Sammy Davis Jr. Oscar blunder

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