Saturday, May 29, 2010

Welcome to the family

When E and I decided to get married, his mother kicked into high gear:
Mom:  I'm so happy!  When is this going to happen?
Me:  Well, my health insurance runs out in three months, so we'll do it soon.  We'll just go to City Hall.  We'd love to have you there!
Mom:  Absolutely not!   For years, I've been going to my friends' children's weddings.  Now it's my turn.  I'm throwing a big party and inviting everyone! 
E:  Uhhh...let's not fall victim to the wedding-industrial complex, okay?  Maybe we can have a small, simple celebration at home with family and close friends.  But nothing extravagant.  And no gifts - we hate that whole thing.
Mom:  What?  But that's the whole point!  Do you know how much money I've shelled out on other people's wedding gifts?  This is payback time!
E:  Look, no gifts!  And no meat [E and I are vegetarians].  People can skip meat for one meal. 
Mom:  But people need to see shrimp!  That's the only reason they go to weddings.
E:  Well, too bad for them.  They can go to Red Lobster on the way home.  
Mom:  Alright, alright.  As long as I get to have a party.   Don't worry, I'll take care of everything.

You can probably guess what happened next:  Mom's plans grew increasingly elaborate.  What started as an informal gathering in the backyard became a complex, catered affair with rented tents and a string quartet.  Things were rapidly spiraling out of control (our control, at least).

Then Mom announced that there would be an entire, roast suckling pig at the wedding.  The poor thing would be spinning on a spit in the yard, apple in mouth.  E and I were aghast.  After E threatened to boycott the wedding, Mom agreed (again) to our vegetarian terms.  The pig was canceled

Two weeks before the wedding, Mom reviewed the final plan with us.  She quickly changed the subject when E asked about the menu.  Something was up.  E asked about the menu again.  She confessed having ordered veal parmigiana.

Veal!  We were furious.  Is this not the cruelest of meats? Mom begged us to be reasonable:
Mom:  But people love veal.  And you already took their shrimp away!
E:  No veal!  How could you do this?  
Mom (annoyed):  But you won't even see it.  It's covered in sauce!
This battle of wits finally ended when Mom and E agreed to exchange veal for shrimp, which E reasoned was the lesser of two evils. 

The fateful day arrived.  E and I drove to the house, dreading what undisclosed horrors we might find.  The only surprise was a wedding singer, sporting a mullet and a Casio keyboard. He appeared to be clinically depressed.  His haunting vocals gave such wedding classics as Kool & the Gang's "Celebration!" a new, ironic twist.  It was great!

Best of all, it was finally over.  E and I tied the knot, no pigs died, and everyone - especially Mom - had a good time.  You can't argue with success.  As E's brother declared on the wedding video:  "Mom's happy, and that's what this is all about!"