Journal entry: September 25, 1986 (age 17) — Marriage
From the time I started high school at Seton Catholic Central, I knew that I would be a husband and father by the time I graduated. It was not my dating prowess that gave me this confidence. It was the fact that all seniors are required to take a health class in which they are paired up with a “spouse” and given an egg to take care of. The fragile egg is meant to represent a helpless infant. Our health teacher is Mrs. Patti Murphy, who also is the mother of my close friend, Mark Murphy. She has been like a second mom to me, and has been looking forward to putting me through my paces in this sociological experiment.
A few days ago, I proposed to my classmate and friend, Trina Schwing. “Trina, will you make me the happiest man in Homeroom 210 by agreeing to be my pretend wife for several weeks, during which time we will care for a pretend baby that is actually a raw chicken egg with a face drawn on it with Magic Marker?” Her immediate response of “Um, I guess so…” was everything I had dreamed of. It’s tough to judge marriage material when I’ve never even had a girlfriend, but Trina strikes me as a good prospect. She’s pretty, smart, and very responsible. Plus, I think she’s anxious to take a new last name.
Unfortunately, marital discord set in quickly. Trina did not agree with my plan to set up a gift registry at the school bookstore. “But, honey,” I said (as she rolled her eyes), “this way our child will have all the Bon Jovi book covers and pencil topper trolls he could ever need.” She also ignored my requests for a dowry, even though I asked for a very reasonable sum, to be paid in small increments that would be immediately fed into the cafeteria’s vending machines.
Once “our baby” arrived, the marriage deteriorated further. Yesterday, immediately upon receiving our egg from Mrs. Murphy, I named it “Eggo,” and drew a mane of red hair and a pair of glasses on it. Trina felt that was presumptuous. “But he has your yolk, dear,” I offered. She came back with “And who decided that the baby was a ‘he?’ And I’m not your dear!” This harsh reaction caused me to blurt out “Is that why you won’t make out with me behind the bleachers anymore?” After she correctly pointed out that we had never, in fact, made out anywhere, I tearfully brought the conversation to a close. “Not in front of the boy.”
Thankfully, we were able to part ways today. Our marriage experiment ended abruptly, when my locker door smashed into the coat pocket that carried my young charge. Moments later, when Trina came up and put her hand in the pocket to check on him, her face registered a mixture of shock and relief. As she wiped the slime onto my shirt, I put my arm around her and softly said, “I know it’s hard, but we have to leggo our Eggo.”
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