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A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

Twenty-Two Years Of ZZ Marriage

Circumstances used to demand the ZZ marriage from everybody. You couldn’t run around assembling and disassembling your affairs all over the landscape over and over. You placed your bets and you took your chances and you stuck to it. Sometimes the chances were pretty slim. You always stayed until closing even if your chips were gone in the first five minutes.

I’ve got a ZZ marriage. It is not required any more. No one would much bat an eye socially or otherwise if we parted. There is no disapprobation, even on purely practical grounds, to keep us together.

I do not understand my wife, and have no desire to. I am not a vivisectionist of her personality. The patient always dies in that situation, after all. I am not explaining my situation here; I am simply observing it. I can tell you that I have an enormously defective personality, and she don’t seem to care. I don’t know why that is, either.

Poor people, dumb people, sick people, interesting or dull people, all sorts of people, no matter how straitened their circumstances, no matter how hard-hammered by life they were, got a chance to do something sublime in their life. For many, it is the only really transcendent thing they will ever be allowed to attempt; opportunities to win a Congressional Medal of Honor or a Pulitzer Prize or something aren’t just lying around, never mind the actual article.

I’ve had an interesting life so far, I guess. It’s not over yet. I could tell you wild tales, many of them true. Nothing compares to my ZZ marriage. It’s made all the more piquant by the fact that no one is making us do it.

12 Responses

  1. A very happy anniversary to you and the Mrs., Sipp. This was a nice antidote to some depressing article I was foolish enough to read this morning about, well, the rise of those who utterly fail at the one thing that ought to be sublime, while searching for what inevitably turns out to be a shabby, empty substitute. Thanks for that, and may you continue to have your something sublime for all of your years.

    On a completely unrelated note, an old post of yours came up on Neatorama this morning. Thought you'd like to know.

  2. There are only three comparability requirements for a successful and lasting unity of a man and a women:


    It has worked for me and my first wife who parted this world after 33 years of sharing.

    I have been married to my current wife for over 22 years.

    Remember the reality of you relationship in your current ZZ relationship. You are and will always be a work in progress. Deal with that reality and you will be eternally happy.


  3. Hi Julie- Thanks. And thanks to Neatorama. Who can resist an obscure picture of MM?

    Hi Glynn- Many thanks.

    Gerard said that because he knows both me and my wife.

    Chief Test Pilot- One of the great pleasures of mixing writing with making furniture is that I am able to correspond with people who normally would be anonymous to me. You and I are friends now, and friends are hard to come by in this world. Hell, you and I both had to settle for inviting people like Gerard over to our respective houses for want of better company. Luckily he always brings charming companions.

    Hi anon- "Take my wife, please" was a joke. It isn't funny if the audience thinks you mean it.

    I met Henny Youngman in an airport once. He was in line in front of me. When confronted by a public person, most people go into fan mode, whether they're fans or not. It's just a form of familiarity. If you saw someone you didn't like very much in high school, thirty years later in a far-flung place, you'd greet them like a celebrity because a familiar person in an unlikely place is apt to produce that reaction.

    Anyway, the line wasn't going anywhere, and we were all tired and footsore, and people began to actually confer with each other in the line about their common enemy — the airline — and Henny turned to grumble to me, and since I was confronted out of the blue with this familiar person, it must have registered in my eyes, though I said nothing.

    There was a little pause, and Henny said, "That's right; I'm me."

  4. Congrats to you and the Mrs. Sippi. Keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel, and don't mind the Heir & The Spare (as Dave Barry would say, a good name for a band) in the back seat.

    Kinda like CTP, first wife 18.25 years to the day, got the kids raised, and now 4+ years into #2. It ain't all good, but mostly, and can't expect more than that, and shouldn't ask.

  5. To my detriment, I never could figure out marriage, beyond gazing wistfully at those who did. I did participate in a few connubial trainwrecks.

    Another thing I can't figure out is what "ZZ" means in this context. Help?

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