While talking to a fellow Toastmaster the other evening, the subject of marriage came up. I've been married for almost three years now. My wife is named Ann. I met Ann at a Mensa open house. Her first. She had some ridiculous notion that she was going to enrich her social life by joining Mensa and meeting fifty or sixty new men. Hah! I might be lacking in some areas, but I know a good thing when I see it. I grabbed her off, before anybody else even saw her, and locked her in the trunk of my car. Kept her there until she promised to marry me.
[quoteright'/>About four days later, I let her out. When her eyes were used to the daylight and she could stand upright again, we decided to get married in a quiet unassuming way. The quieter, the better. I called around, and learned that we could be married by a judge at the Municipal court in Newport Beach. Very quietly.
I was told that if we showed up at 3PM April 10th, Judge Grinchfinger would be delighted to perform a quiet, simple ceremony. When I talked to Ann about it, dangling my trunk key the entire time, she agreed that that would be splendid.
Because I have a thing about punctuality, we were there at 1PM. Ann, her two kids, and me. We told the lady at the desk that Judge Grinchfinger was to marry us at three. She looked somewhat puzzled. "Gee, Judge Grinchfinger isn't here. He had pressing business in Bermuda. Won't be back for three weeks."
"You got some soft chairs where we can wait?" I tried dangling my trunk key at her, but she seemed not to notice.
"Wait a minute," she said, "here's a note. Judge Grinchfinger has made arrangements for Judge Poofnerf to perform your wedding. He's upstairs in courtroom six."
We had to hurry. We were supposed to be there by three, and it was already one fifteen. We made it to courtroom six by one eighteen.
I said, "Since we're here early, why don't we go in and get it over with?" Dangle, dangle.
I bashed my head smartly on the locked door. A huge face that looked like a cross between Cyclops and Attila the Hun peered out to see what the noise was. Actually, what made him look like Cyclops was the large badge in the middle of his hat. He dangled his trunk key at me. After hopping up and down, holding my forehead with one hand and my nose with the other till I regained some semblance of a pain-free state, I peered through the door. There were about 185 people in there. At first I thought they had heard about our wedding, but then it occurred to me that Judge Poofnerf had a case.
We waited. We waited some more.
They say that in this country, you're innocent till proven guilty. In the event that you ARE guilty, they're going to be damn sure that you're not comfortable while you're waiting to find out. There's a little plaque there that reads "Benches designed by M. de Sade."
At 4:30, Ann's youngest son volunteered to perform the ceremony.
Finally, the doors opened. Everybody came out. A lady, whom I was later to refer to as Ms. Mouth, came over to us. She was the jury foreman. She wanted to know if we were involved with the case. I told her that we were supposed to see the judge. About her case? No, we were supposed to see the judge. ANYTHING to do with her case? No, um, er, um, we were supposed to be married by the judge.
"Wait right here!" Broad smile. Dewy look in her eyes.
Cyclops came and took us to the judge's chambers. 94 seconds later, we were married.
New rings firmly installed, we walked back through the still empty courtroom. I gallantly opened the door for my new wife. We were greeted by 185 clapping, stomping, cheering, whistling people, some of whom were throwing coins, none of whom we knew. Ms. Mouth had been at work. I wanted to pick up the coins, but Ann hustled me to the elevator.
We rode the elevator down, ran out of the building, and got into our car, locking all of the doors Our quiet simple wedding was history.
BILL HARVEY used to submit his material to us with increasingly exorbitant demands for payment. One dollar, five dollars -- who knows where it would have ended? He is now satisfied with mere fame.
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