Life on the Other Side of Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll
On Valentine’s Day 2014, I did the unfathomable and had dinner with my cousin Rick and his then-fiance, Annie. I knew it wasn’t a great idea. Unabashed in their affection and dementedly in love, Rick and Annie are the grossest couple ever.
They were only in LA for a couple of days, though, and I didn’t think it was physically possible for them to be any worse than usual. But still, I made Rick promise to keep the soulful staring to a minimum. Or I think I did. I’ve repressed all memories of that night. I only know it happened because I have evidence of it. I took a photo of Rick and Annie with their arms intertwined as they fed one another chocolate mousse.
Not surprisingly, I’m not much of a fan of Valentine’s Day. Over the course of my very long life, I’ve enjoyed it only four or five times, and all of them were with Scott. He referred to me as his not-girlfriend, I referred to him as Fucking Fucker Fuck, and our greatest pleasure as a not-couple was based on finding new ways to insult one another. There were no unmet expectations on Valentine’s Day — no disappointments, and no grasping for perfect Hallmark love. If our arms were intertwined, it was by accident, and if there was chocolate mousse, it was because we were stoned.
No: I’m not a romantic. But I’m not alone in my aversion to Rick and Annie’s lovestruck presence. Even Rick’s brother Rob, who’s been known to get gooey about his wife Renee, is horrified.
“You’re definitely not the only one who notices,” he wrote when I emailed him, ever diligent in applying journalistic standards by seeking second-source verification. “We all notice and are thoroughly disgusted by it. Anytime I spend more than 20 minutes with the two of them, I just want to punch Rick a few times to remind him that he’s not nearly as great as she thinks he is.”
When Rick and Annie got married in New Orleans in October, I was prepared; by then, I’d had well more than a year to acclimate to their demonstrations of togetherness, and I’d become more charmed than repulsed. But there were four wedding-related events before the big day, and by the time the ceremony rolled around, I was queasy again. So was everyone else. When the bride kissed the groom, an 85-year old guest yelled “Get a room!,” and even the 10 dressed-in-white children who sang “It’s a Wonderful World” during the nuptials looked ill. Later, after a toast, I discovered that when a roomful of celebrants simultaneously roll their eyes, it actually makes noise.
Technically, it was a shotgun wedding, and Rick and Annie’s son Asa was born on Super Bowl Sunday. I’m thrilled. Rick and Annie are as extraordinary as people as they are revolting as a couple, and their son will grow up to be spectacular and sound. There’s already proof. According to Rob, who saw a video of them singing “Happy Birthday” to their one-week old, “despite the fact that he doesn’t yet know how his arms work, Asa attempted to strangle them to make them stop.”
I’ve been dying to talk to them since Asa was born, but I know the new baby drill, and I thought I should wait until they’d had a chance to settle in. I emailed Rick last Sunday to find out if the time was right, and it was. He suggested we Skype, and then added a warning. “Beware, you thought we were the worst before? With a baby we’ve taken it to a whole nother level.” Since then, I’ve tried and failed to get in touch every day. I can’t wait to lay eyes on the baby, but I need some time to get ready for it. It may be today, but if it isn’t, at least Rick and Annie will know via this post that I’m thinking about them.
Welcome to the world, Asa Burke Farman, and know you are blessed. Your parents, two of the best people on earth, will raise you to be confident and strong. Thank god for that. No one likes a pukey kid, and by the time you’re eating cookies, you should have the strength to keep them down.