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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Semi-Cromulent Blog Post

by Ben Johnson (bio)

A polar bear walks into a bar and says to the bartender, “Give me a beer........................ and some peanuts.” The bartender says, “OK, but why the big pause (paws)?”

This is the joke my wife, Katti, told me the other night just before family prayer. Of course, I couldn’t pray because I was laughing too hard. Good heavens, I love that woman.

On Friday my wife and I celebrated our tenth anniversary. This has me in a reflective mood. Has it really been ten years? Where has the time gone? As I’ve thought about our decade-long (!?) marriage I’ve tried to figure out what makes it so great. Here’s what I’ve come up with: humor. You know the old saying about the family that MST3Ks together stays together? That’s us.

I can’t think of a day that has gone by in the past ten years where we haven’t laughed our faces off. The funny thing is (pun intended) we didn’t decide that humor would be a cornerstone of our marriage. It just happened that way. Over the years, life, TV, movies, jobs, church, etc. have given us vast stores of inside jokes that we have incorporated into our daily conversations. We can’t even remember where half the stuff we say comes from, but it’s still funny.

Without a doubt one of my favorite sources of humor from over the years is our tradition of writing notes/letters to one another, specifically the pictures we include in the letters. We decided that any time one of us writes a letter to the other we have to draw a picture to go with it. I can tell you that this has been, not only very funny, but very rewarding.

I hope this isn’t the blogging equivalent of a vacation slideshow but I would love to share some of the pictures with you. I’ll show the picture first and then give the background after so it won’t be too ‘inside baseball.’

Here we go, in no particular order (except the first one).

Background: This is the first picture Katti ever drew for me. Technically it was before we were married but I’m including it for sentimental reasons. Back when I was in the singles’ ward I got suckered into planning the activity for Family Home Evening. Since it was close to Valentine’s Day I decided to buy a bunch of cards and candy so the group could make Valentines for whoever they wanted.

Being the thoughtful genius that she is, and knowing that I liked (old) Simpsons, Katti made the card for me. Unlike Ralph, I ended up getting the girl.

Background: About a year ago I had to teach a lesson in Elder’s Quorum. I’m one of the worst teachers in the history of mankind and I was foolish enough to think a centerpiece would help my lesson. It didn’t. This picture Katti drew made me feel better though.

Background: We are Halloween fanatics in our house (OK, it’s just me). I decided to draw Katti a picture of all the awesome stuff we were going to do that year. Notice how awful my drawings are compared to hers.

Background: Continuing with the Halloween theme… We had grand plans for a Halloween themed Plants vs. Zombies game. We’re still waiting to hear back from PopCap.

Background: OK, one more Halloween pic. Each autumn we put on our Halloween shirts and go down to GardnerVillage to buy caramel popcorn and soak up the ambiance. I wore this shirt last year. I also drew a picture of it for Katti. A fair approximation if I do say so myself.

Background: Katti was a cheerleader in high school. She still has the uniform and it still gets some use (for Halloween costumes of course. What were you thinking about?) Anyway, I had just returned from a motorcycle trip and found this picture waiting for me. Boy was I glad to be back.

Background: In our ten years of marriage we have only fought about one thing: which one of us got the better deal. I totally did and to prove it I drew this picture. Case closed.

Background: One of the first things that attracted me to Katti was her snowboarding skills. The first time we went together I mentioned that I didn’t like snowboarding under the lift because if you crashed everyone would laugh at you. She said we needed to do it so we could be heroes, forever and ever (she loves Moulin Rouge).

Background: I believe this was another motorcycle stay-home present. That picture isn’t totally accurate. In real life she has five fingers.

Background: Probably the tawdriest picture on this list. I’m so cheap I don't get Katti gift cards for Christmas, I make my own. I borrowed the idea though.

Background: This is the second tawdriest picture on the list. For Christmas Katti bought me a hat and a shirt. For some reason I’ve never worn either outside of the house.

Background: I had just started a new job and I was worried I wouldn’t fit in and that I would fail. After getting this letter I didn’t have any more worries.

Background: This is what was in my tenth anniversary letter. How awesome is my wife? I've always thought the triple jump was silly. All the other sports have some sort application in real life, athletically. But when would you ever use the triple jump?

As far as pole dancing goes, Katti mentioned to me that they were considering making it an Olympic sport, which is fine with me. My bishop says it's OK to watch Olympics as long as I watch it with my wife.

Background: The top one is by far my favorite drawing of Katti’s. I’m not sure why, but she once drew an elephant during Relief Society. She was going to throw it away but thankfully it was saved. Needing a good gift for our tenth anniversary I submitted the drawing to a website to have it turned into a plush toy.

Something in my gut told me to have another one made (from another website) just in case the first one didn’t turn out. I’m glad I did. It probably saved my marriage. The last pic is something I drew in anger. I’m over it now.

Conclusion: If you are still awake, you’ve done well. I honestly don’t know if there is a take-away from this post. Subconsciously I think I just wanted to show everyone how incredible my wife is. Consciously I thought I would give you all a glimpse of something that makes our marriage work. I would love to hear from the folks out there about anything that they do to embiggen their relationships. I’m always open to new ideas.

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