Oct 2, 2005
Last night, I worked for more than thirteen hours, standing for nearly the whole time in high Fornarina heels, producing my company's coverage of the Comedy Death Ray 3rd Anniversary Show at the UCB Theatre. And as much as I was there to advocate for and promote an event I support and want to help to make super famous, being part of a production crew like that feels a smidge like being a leper. Asking people to sign releases and trying not to be in the way of the actual show doesn't feel fancy or exclusive. And I'm not the sort of peacock that wants anyone to be inconvenienced, so mostly I just kept trying to make my physical self smaller and more invisible.
The show itself went from ten p.m. until long after six a.m., and the crowd was unbelievably stalwart. By the time Hard n' Phirm closed the show, nearly none of the house seats had been abandoned. Which is part of the reason I had to stand for so long. Here's why people stayed:
The Fun Bunch
Hard 'n' Phirm
Paul F. Tompkins
I didn't get home until well after eight a.m. But even that felt like a cop-out. I'm sure other people were out doing things I would have wanted to be doing. Even if I would have required the assistance of a wheelchair.
I wasn't sure what to call this entry, so I went and looked up the traditional materials that the various anniversaries are supposed to be celebrated with. So this gets me to thinking. Why would the third anniversary be leather?
The first and second are obvious. Paper for the first because there is very little chance you'll make it, so don't invest in anything substantial. If the union fails, you'll be glad your gifts are water-soluble. And it's also an opportunity to hand your spouse a document. A photograph of the two of you. A coupon for a free backrub. A no-fault divorce kit.
The second being cotton is equally understandable. Why not celebrate two statistics-defying years together with a fun t-shirt. Maybe one that says, "In it to win it." Or if things aren't actually defying statistics so much, a jumbo bag of cotton balls is a thoughtful acknowledgement of the frequent need to absorb mouth blood.
But why leather for number three? Does it really take three years together to get comfortable and honest enough to let your BDSM interests see light? Does the third annum necessitate a lot of motorcycle jockeying? Does this come from a period in history when leather was the only material used in clothing and year three was about the time a couple could finally have done with being perpetually nude? I'm just wondering.
And because I'm thorough, I may as well explain the rest of the traditional gifts. Using Occam's razor, of course.
4th - Fourth - Fruit/Flowers
By year four, constipation has set in. A gift of fruit and/or flowers -- properly ingested -- will help smooth the journey into year five.
5th - Fifth - Wood
This is symbolic of the fact that you've managed to keep the thing afloat for five impossible years. Also, wooden gifts make for good kindling.
6th - Sixth - Candy/Iron
This is the all-important Flintstones Vitamin anniversary.
7th - Seventh - Wool/Copper
Wool is a great insulator. Copper has powerful conductive properties. Both come in handy, as this year is going to be a cold one.
8th - Eighth - Bronze/Pottery
Bronze and ceramics are representative of the fact that your love life has taken on the appearance of a sculpture garden.
9th - Ninth - Pottery/Willow
Recycle the ceramic gift you bought last year, or get something made of willow, the most emotionally distraught and tormented of trees.
10th - Tenth - Tin/Aluminium
Canned goods contribute nicely to the "fallout shelter" cast your relationship has taken on.
11th - Eleventh - Steel
You live in a cage. Celebrate!
12th - Twelfth - Silk/Linen
The Mongols wore their silk underclothes until they literally rotted off their bodies. That was on or about year twelve.
13th - Thirteenth - Lace
Your marriage is beginning to feel like your grandmother's house. Therefore doilies -- not lingerie -- would make the most appropriate gift for this doomed year.
14th - Fourteenth - Ivory
With longevity like this, you are part of a legitimately endangered species. Murder an elephant.
15th - Fifteenth - Crystal
Fifteen years in, it's not Swarovski you're shopping for. Tweaker.
20th - Twentieth - China
Apparently at this point, anniversaries are only celebrated every five years. Also, apparently you've finally been together long enough to sit down to a meal in your formal dining room. And microwaveable plastic plates would just seem gauche in there.
25th - Twenty-Fifth - Silver
Time to plug the parking meter of connubial bliss! Although the true progeny of this gift-giving tradition is that photo of a dead Abraham Lincoln with two coins over his eyes. I might have seen that in a scary movie as part of a dream sequence. But apparently, so has everyone else.
30th - Thirtieth - Pearl
Pearls are very rare. You get the analogy. They are also found in seafood. For some reason.
35th - Thirty-Fifth - Coral
This is the year your spouse buys you a scuba-diving vacation in shark-infested waters. As a means of recapturing "the spark."
40th - Fortieth - Ruby
I'm pretty sure this is just a marketing idea from the Wizard of Oz franchise.
45th - Forty-Fifth - Sapphire
By necessity these days, you drink a lot of gin. Now everyone can buy it for you. In quantity.
50th - Fiftieth - Gold
Only Jews manage to stay together this long.
55th - Fifty-fifth - Emerald
Another ingenious ploy of the Wizard of Oz people, all the more appropriate as this anniversary is as rarely arrived at (and as fictitious) as that storied green city. Your eyes are so milk-colored and cloudy with age, you wouldn't know if you were getting a gemstone or a Skittle anyway.
60th - Sixtieth - Diamond
By the time you make it to this fabled milestone, one of your mothers is probably dead. That's when the woman in the couple gets the heirloom wedding ring. And victory.
Labels: comedy, Paul F. Tompkins
posted by Mary Forrest at 7:40 PM | Back to Monoblog