Daniel Ruth

Laughing all the way to a happy marriage

Just a little piece of advice to the newly minted Mr. and Mrs. Windsor. If you're thinking of having a bit of a nosh to tide you over until the big wedding reception, avoid at all costs a shrimp cocktail or clam chowder.

Based on firsthand experience in such matters, believe me, no good would come from sampling it.

The world has been agog ever since Prince William settled on the comely Kate Middleton to be his bride and begin a life together waiting for their relatives to die. Well, everybody has to do something to pass the time.

As spectacles go, the nuptials have been a lavish affair, with other crown heads of state taking time away from their busy schedules of cutting ribbons, waving at their subjects and going on vacations to assemble in London for the royal tying of the knot.

It was thoughtful that the Bahraini royals decided to decline an invitation to attend the wedding, since they have been rather busy of late shooting their subjects. It would be bad form to show up, although they did send a toaster.

But as history has proved, a large, extravagant wedding does not a marriage make. William certainly had a front row seat to that truism as he watched his parents descend from a blue-blooded Ward and June Cleaver to Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf meets The War of the Roses.

For regardless of one's station in life, after the wedding bouquet has been tossed and the drunken conga line has dispersed and the chi-chi cake has turned to crumbs, come the next morning the daily business of being married begins, even if your sole purpose in life is to monitor the vital signs for your grandmother and father.

Nineteen years ago this summer, the Bombshell of the Balkans and I got hitched in Las Vegas at the kitchy Little Chapel of the Bells. Westminster Abbey it was not. The preacher who married us was something close to a cross between an Elvis impersonator-in-waiting and a pre-hooker scandal Jimmy Swaggart.

Good grief, we even filled out the marriage license application with a pencil.

The best man was my much, much, much, much older brother, who managed to tear himself away from the off-track betting parlor at the hotel to show up for the big event. As you might imagine, romance filled the air.

After returning to the Excalibur Hotel, we decided to grab a bite. Ergo the shrimp cocktail and clam chowder. Within moments we realized we were being visited — how to put this gently in a family newspaper? — with what might be best described as Wayne Newton's Revenge.

What an interesting way to begin a marriage — racing through the hotel to get to our room before our gastrointestinal adventure could run its course.

I am no expert on marriage. But after almost 19 years both the Azalea of Athens and I would like to think we've learned a few things about the institution and each other, which might be of some benefit to Will and Kate.

And it probably boils down to this. In all our years together I could probably count on less than one hand the number of arguments we've ever had, and even those few were merely simple disagreements over this and that.

We have a fairly simple marital standard we follow — it's called the Shecky Green Rule, in honor of the Vegas nightclub comic. And it works like this: If, in the middle of a disagreement, one party can make the other party begin to laugh, then the disagreement is automatically ended. After all, you can't continue to have an argument if the two people involved are laughing together.

It's worked pretty well. We've never gone to bed mad at each other. Or perhaps put another way, despite all the trappings of royalty, the castles, the yachts, the jewels, if you're not laughing, you're not married. You're just miserably sharing space and time.

The newlyweds seem like a nice young couple. But their lives won't be easy. For in addition to holding a mirror every morning to the noses of Will's grandmum and dad, there will be stresses. There will be strains. And for Kate especially there will be the paparazzi, not to mention stultifying dinners with the in-laws at Buckingham Palace. What fun.

The Sunflower of Saks and I are merely middle-class people. We don't have much. But what we do have is perhaps the best wedding gift Will and Kate could possibly receive.

Mr. and Mrs. Windsor, we give you the Shecky Green Rule. Take good care of this priceless treasure. You're going to need it.

Laughing all the way to a happy marriage 04/28/11 [Last modified: Thursday, April 28, 2011 7:45pm]

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