Words to chill one’s bones

I’m just sitting here, behaving myself, writing some stuff this morning, when my wife gets up and says those words:

“Happy Anniversary!”

What? No! I forgot! Aaieee, I’m a bad, bad husband. I’m a trite cliche from a misogynistic cartoon. I hadn’t even thought…

It completely reset my brain. I had to think for a few minutes. What day is it? What year is it? When did I get married? It was so long ago! Deep breath. Deep breath. It’s no fair slapping me with arithmetic when I haven’t even finished my cup of coffee!

OK, let’s think. It is…16 March, 2018. We got married on…16 March (Damn! She’s right!) in 1980. That makes it 38 years…whew. At least it’s not one of the big round numbers. Think, think, think.

“Yes, happy anniversary! Shall we go out for dinner tonight? There’s that Thai place in Benson we’ve never been to before.”

She accepts! Score! Brain saves the day! This is clearly why humans evolved these large cerebral cortices, precisely for the purpose of thinking flexibly on the fly and coming up with solutions in moments of dire distress.


  1. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Happy Anniversary! Don’t forget the card and flowers, and all will be saved.

  2. cartomancer says

    I suppose we’re all different. Some of us find remembering things like anniversaries very easy, others less so. Some of us place a great deal of stock in them, others couldn’t care less. It seems a rather pernicious piece of cultural conditioning we have that makes out that one is somehow a bad person if they can’t remember or don’t really care about what is, ultimately, an arbitrary number of days having passed since an event.

    You see this tired, tired trope all the time in hackneyed romantic films and sitcoms. Usually with an uncomfortably gendered message (Women always remember about anniversaries and always care! They’re so emotional! Men always forget! They’re so scatterbrained and emotionally stunted!).

    It’s a very personal thing, really, and I think that if people are really good together then they will understand and compromise if they have very different notions of how important these things are and how likely the other is to forget.

    For myself, I find it impossible not to remember. Though what I remember is the anniversary of the day I fell in love with my beloved (March the 24th 2001). Since he has not yet come round to loving me back it is all I have by way of significant dates to honour my feelings for him on. I mark the occasion by making a card for myself, then picking two fresh daffodils. These replace the shriveled remains of last year’s two daffodils in the vase on my desk, the latter being transferred to the box next to it containing the dry husks of all the previous years’ daffodils and cards. Then I lay the table, cook a meal for two and eat it all myself. I guess the advantage here is that it doesn’t matter to anyone but me if I forget. Though I would probably be mortified if I did, because I respond rather strongly to ritual and tradition and the marking of significance with actions.

  3. blf says

    For some reason, poopyhead’s memory being locked shut and his resourceful recovery reminded me of this story, Gang padlocks Garda station to stop response to robbery (“An Garda Síochána”, or commonly just “Gardaí” or the “Guards”, are the Irish police):

    Gang leaves empty-handed after gardaí hurdle gates to stop theft at bookmakers

    Gardaí believe a four-man gang was behind the padlocking of a Garda station to prevent officers from responding to the attempted theft of Cheltenham takings from a bookies in Co Cork.

    The four-man gang struck at the Paddy Power bookies on Main Street in Charleville at around 2am on Thursday — minutes after putting a chain and padlock on the gates of Charleville Garda station to prevent gardaí responding.

    The alarm at the bookies went off, but when gardaí discovered the station gates were locked, and they were unable to get the patrol car out.

    However, two officers vaulted the gates and ran the 500 metres to the bookies shop, and the gang to fled empty-handed.


    The obvious difference is Mary didn’t fail in her dastardly plot.

  4. davidc1 says

    I should check when your marriage license expires if i were you .
    Congrats and all that stuff .

  5. fusilier says

    I’m the one who remembers dates; we celebrated our 45th anniversary this past August. My Beloved and Darling Wife is always a day-or-two and a year-or-three off.

    However, I never get my act together for ordering gifts for them to arrive in time.

    Oh Well.


    James 2:24

  6. JoeBuddha says

    Mine’s tomorrow. St. Pattie’s Day. I love having important dates tied to popular holidays.

  7. octopod says

    Yeah, we went the same strategy. Pi Day. Even a space cadet like me (and, truthfully, my husband as well) can remember that.

  8. lesherb says

    I just checked for you, PZ. Beryl & tourmaline are the gifts for the 38th wedding anniversary. Hint, hint.

  9. mountainbob says

    We, 51 years ago, chose the Friday of Labor Day Weekend, ’cause we were students and couldn’t afford a big event or honeymoon. Married in Jasper (just South of Pipestone) we traveled to Grand Forks for our big weekend, and then back to The City (Mpls) for reality. Easy to remember that Friday… harder to remember that it was the 2nd of the month that year. Congrats to the Myers’s, and many happy returns of the day. Hope all is well in “Your Home on the Prairie” (as the sign outside Morris announces).

  10. alixmo says

    Congratulations to you and your wife! I may be atypical though, because I never cared for anniversaries myself (I don’t even remember the date of my wedding, to be honest) and I am always puzzled by the importance that sitcom and movies put on it (and all that drama if the guy forgets about it). How people/couples get along in the everyday life is much more important.

  11. says

    There is no excuse for forgetting, why I have even surprised my wife by remembering the anniversary of day we met (let alone our wedding).

    Two words———well one actually—iPhone!

  12. Louis says

    My wife and I celebrate two anniversaries, our wedding anniversary and the one for when we started going out together.

    A few years ago, we looked at the calendar (independently) and both absolutely shat ourselves as we realised our 20th anniversary of being together as a couple was the next day. I scrabbled around getting chocolates, flowers, booze, you name it I got it (and my wife is not enormously into those things, but they help cement the present element of the ritual!). She panicked and bought music and chocolates and booze etc. We both woke on the day of the anniversary, handed over cards and (excessive due to guilt) gifts.

    Then realised we were exactly a month early.

    Being so busy and flustered we’d both independently made the identical error. We were very very amused, and went out for a quiet dinner on the actual date.


    P.S. Happy Anniversary PZ and Mary.