By COLLEEN LEDDY
Is it common knowledge that women marry their fathers and men marry their mothers? Supposedly, women tend to choose husbands who exhibit traits similar to their own fathers and men choose partners similar to their mothers.
I haven’t really given that theory much thought in my own marriage except to notice that David and I don’t seem to have followed this subconscious method of selecting a partner.
David is not at all like my father, and that’s a good thing because copious amounts of alcohol ingestion turned my father into somebody I would in no way want to marry. The list of my father’s bad traits stretches so long and far, David could live several lifetimes and never catch up.
A few weeks ago, David mentioned something about his father worrying about needing to get his eaves troughs cleaned out. I share that same characteristic with Bob: a propensity to worry. Give me any situation and I can contemplate every manner of thing that could go wrong.
“You married your father,” I said, reflecting on that one trait. “I married my mother and that’s a darn good thing.”
My mother was kind, sweet, quiet, responsible, well-disciplined, fiscally responsible, a hard worker who loved to sing and dance.
Had I married my father I would have been stuck with a womanizing arrogant alcoholic, and a beer-bellied bigot to boot. Needless to say, my father was not a pleasant man, and the finest thing my mother ever did was leave him.
David always keep things in perspective and can always make me laugh about the things that make me worry.
The same day I told David he married his father, I recounted an incident from that afternoon that made me think early Alzheimer’s was setting in.
I was in a hurry, driving to the post office, when I saw Kenneth, one of the teens who helped out at the library this summer, walking up the block near the post office. I waved enthusiastically to him and half way down the block realized I had driven right by the post office. I had to drive all the way around the block and I got out of the car just as Kenneth was walking by—so then I had to explain to him I was losing my mind.
“I married my grandmother,” David concluded.
But that wasn’t all. Earlier that day, I was wearing two cardigan sweaters, one had buttons and the other buttonholes. I tried to snap my gray cardigan onto to the buttonholes of my white sweater.
“Yeah, I married my grandmother,” said David, with even more conviction.
Even my dreams are crazy.
Monday evening when I was taking a nap before going to the Observer office, I dreamed that I came home and found David and his brother Dan—and two alligators.
“Who let the alligators in?” I kept asking and Dan finally admitted that he had.
He felt sorry for them because it was getting cold outside. I kept saying the alligators had to go. They were scaring the heck out of me. Every time I turned around there one lay. And I knew there was a third baby alligator and it was nowhere to be seen.
At some point one of the alligators pinned David against the wall by the bathroom and threatened to bite him.
I was in that half-dream half-sleep state in which I didn’t know what was real. But my dream half was getting scary and my sleep half didn’t want to find out what was going to happen next so I pulled myself out of slumber—to the overwhelming smell of alligator poop.
As I entered full awakeness and awareness I realized what it was—broccoli soup. I had made it for dinner and the smell of steamed broccoli and the smoked provolone cheese I’d grated into the soup had created quite an odor.
As I wrote down the details of the dream before they dissipated altogether, I heard the little ding indicating a new e-mail had arrived. It was David writing from the office, wondering where I was.
“I just woke up from an hour nap in which I had the most bizarre dream,” I emailed back. “I take it the alligators didn't eat you?”
“I'm missing an arm, dagnabbit,” he wrote back, not missing a beat.
I married a comedian.