Weddings

This one was written a while ago – but it seemed appropriate to bring out on 6/26/2015.

I want to get married. I want a big church wedding, with flowers, and candles, and brides maids and grooms men, and as much pomp and as much circumstance as the building can hold. Actually that’s all a lie. I haven’t set foot in a church in ages, flowers make me sneeze and make my eyes water, candles from anywhere other than Illuminations are an abomination, brides maids assumes that there is a female involved or a person playing a female role which is not me in the least, and pomp and circumstance are highly overrated in today’s society.

That being said. I want a fast, efficient, process driven, project plan scheduled meeting, where I sign a piece of paper, a notary watermarks it, and a legally authorized official says “it’s done!” I don’t want to wear a veil, even if properly tszujed, I don’t want to pay a ton of money for a tuxedo that I will never wear again (despite the recommendations that every man should own one good tuxedo), and I don’t want to spend hours registering for things at Macy’s, Cost-Plus, or Best Buy that no one wants to buy me anyway.

I don’t like getting gifts and I question the value of surprises.

Birthday’s are always a chore because there is something wrapped that will come as a complete surprise, unless of course it’s from my amazon.com wish list, in which case I can just click that button that says “show me what’s been purchased” and the surprise is over. Weddings are a different story. Nothing is a surprise, because you asked for it all. In fact, registering for a wedding is one of the most pretentious things that I can imagine.

How dare you tell me what to bring to your wedding. If I want to make sure you get 8 toaster ovens and 3 crock pots, I’m darn well going to do it. Planning the gifts that you will receive is materialism to the highest level. And people, you don’t really want the sterling silver ash tray set. Half of the people who register for crap like that don’t even smoke, and don’t even know how to polish it. Basically it verdigris (turns green) before they remember what it was, and they set it on the back patio, under the tiki torches and use it as a cheap ash tray for their summer barbecues. Eventually the person who gave it to them will notice it and feel utterly rejected that the $75 gift is relegated to having a puddle of water and soggy ashes in it because it rained last night and the host didn’t bother to clean it up.

When I get married, I don’t want a wedding, I just want the reception. That’s where all the fun happens. I don’t want gifts, if anything I want cash that I can spend in any way I want. That way, if I decide that I just can’t live without that vegetable juicer or that automated onion slicer, I can go buy those things myself, and then be the only one to blame when I realize after 4 years that I haven’t even used them at all, and they wind up in a moving sale when we move into a bigger house, and they sell for 1/50th what I paid for them.

Come to think of it, I’d rather people not even give me cash. Let’s just avoid that whole self-guilt thing that would be caused, because being the awesome, wonderful, non-materialistic person that I am, I just want my friends and family to be there, dancing to awesome music, drinking tons of champagne or red wine, eating from the elaborate buffet, and enjoying themselves and sharing the day with me and my new husband. OK, reality check. Who cares about all that crap, bring on the CASH!

So, instead of saving up money for an elaborate wedding, I’d funnel all the money into the biggest reception possible. Given how hugely popular I am, renting out a ballroom at a hotel or resort would be the best option. Obviously, everyone I know will want to be there, and that can easily fill a small room. But the point of having a reception is that you invite everyone you’ve ever met before in your life, to maximize the number of useless gifts you can receive. If you go with the cash option as I mentioned before, you can actually recover all the cost of the reception, pay for your honeymoon, and a new car at the same time. It’s amazing how much cash you can raise if everyone gives you $30, instead of buying you another useless hand mixer.

Let’s add this up. Say you invite 50 people, each bringing $30 for the cause. That adds up to $1,500.00 right there. That covers a lot of cases of wine, and tons of ready to serve buffet food. But why stop there? Use the network you’ve been building! Start sending invitations to every distribution list you are on, whether at work or outside the company. Now you’ve increased your invitation list to, let’s say 750-1000 people. If we use the standard statistical estimate that you’ll get approximately 75% of the invited population to actually attend, and we assume 1000 receipts, you’ve got a list of 750 people. Guess what that means? We’re talking $22,500.00 baby!

With that kind of cash, you’re on your way to a week-long cruise around the south of Africa! Down payment on the new useless H2 SUV? No problem! A couple thousand for new granite tops on the kitchen counters? Done! A reception cover charge is the way to go for the couple of the 2000’s. We’re already used to cover charges for every other party we go to, so why not a wedding reception?

So now you have your money problems solved, and you don’t have to worry with returning useless gifts to the store to recover cash that way (you know you’ve all done it so don’t get all huffy, I’m just pointing out the facts), you’ve had the reception of a lifetime, with all of your friends, acquaintances, and really anyone who was willing to pay a $30 cover charge to a mega-dance party. What more could you ask for?

Personally, I’m thinking of having an 80’s cover band attend, and filling the entire place with foam and making everyone show up in only their underwear. For that, I’m thinking we can go to $50 a person. $37,500.00 would be a great down payment on a new BMW 7 series…

DSC

So over the last few months, I’ve been fighting off a recurring problem which I think impacts a large number of people. Some of you may have experienced this issue both at work and at home. At work, it is less frequent, but often makes people stop, look around, and wonder. At home at least you are in the privacy of your own home. I am of course talking about dieresis.

Dieresis is a problem that affects, on average, 873 million people per day…mostly Europeans. For those of us who are not European, and may be slightly concerned, I offer a translation. Dieresis is an umlaut. An umlaut you say? But I dreamed about one of those just last night! Those two precious little dots that appear above some but not all of the vowels in our language, causing a tightening of the mouth…a puckering if you will…to achieve perfect pronunciation.

Some of you possibly have lives and don’t dream about umlauts. Instead you may have day dreams of degree signs, affirmations of acutes, tirades about tildes, or dialogues about diphthongs. Some of you, a very small special some of you, may even be having an affair with a cedilla. But no matter which of these marvelous characters you ponder, they all serve the amazing purpose of turning words and sounds into the language that we speak every day. (Ponder that one for a moment.)

Most of us are pretty familiar with “special characters”. I’m not referring to Tinky Winky, or Binky Banky, or Plinky Plonky, or whatever the h*ll those creatures are called. I’m referring to those marvelous symbols that were not originally included in the 26 letter English alphabet. Perhaps you are familiar with the ampersand &, the at @, the pound # (or £ if you’re Region-2), the splat *, and the bang !. Those special characters do nothing to change the way a word sounds, but often represent words of their own (mostly because we are too lazy as a species to write “and” or “at” so someone developed the & and @). But having a language means that it must be adaptable. New words must be created on a regular basis to keep the discussions flowing. But how are we to create new words with only the 26 letters available to us?

There comes the true value and impact of the diacritical marks. Not only are the diacritical marks “special characters”, but they are “diacritical special characters”, DSC for short. DSC have allowed us to extend and expand the language to include words that may never have appeared. DSC allow us to change the pronunciation of a word, without changing the composite letters. DSC allow us to truly sound more pompous and pretentious than we ever could have been, unless we had been born in Europe. (*snaps to my European friends who sign away most of their rights once they become my friends*)

Many years ago while on a trip to Oregon I had a lovely dinner and social event with a group of work folks. I had traveled north to attend a leadership development class, and on the journey felt as though I should go amongst my people and drink. After a lovely dinner, the remaining group made our way to the local Chevy’s for margaritas. Chevy’s, being an authentic Spanish restaurant, offered us the opportunity to interact with people who speak somewhat differently than we do, and who natively make use of DSC in every-day language. I am of course talking about our friends in the south, our Spanish-Mexican-Or-Other-Spanish-Speaking-Country-Americans.

One such native speaker was our waitress/attendant/server/provider/food service professional. Her name, Consuèlla Maria Conchita Aloña Rodriguez Turner. I knew that this was a person I could ask a question that I had been waiting all my life to ask.

What on earth is a cedilla?

For those of you just joining us: Ç. It’s basically the letter C with a little curvy tail. Almost as though a comma and a C just got a little too close one night after several top shelf margaritas on the rocks no salt. Honey, if I had a comma shoved in me, I’d pronounce things differently too. (sorry, I just channeled Queen Latìfa for a moment)

Much to my chagrin, CMCART had never heard of the cedilla. I don’t know whether it is because I pronounced it “seh-DEE-uh” or whether she was from an area that simply did not have this DSC as part of their dialect, but none the less, my question remained unanswered. [note: I later discovered that the cedilla is NOT part of the Spanish dialect at all, therefore, I was totally off-base in asking CMCART]

So what to do with all of these special characters? Well, once you’ve had a few TSMotRnS (top shelf margaritas on the rocks no salt – honestly, if you would keep up with me I wouldn’t have to explain these things), the natural inclination is to start using DSC to make fun of people. And that we did. Thankfully, there were so few people sitting near us, we thought it easier to just make fun of ourselves by giving everyone their own special accented name.

I won’t go into the full detail of our naming scheme, but suffice it to say we made sure that everyone had at least one special character. To illustrate our most precious name, I will introduce Monte.

Now in the original form this would be pronounced: Mahn-tee, with the accent on the first syllable. Obviously, this name needed some special characters, and with so many at our disposal here’s what we came up with… Möñté. Three special characters (o-umlaut, n-yay, and the l’accent acute), all in the same name…transforming Mahn-tee into Moon-Yehn-Tay. As you can clearly see, inclusion of special characters transformed this normally boring and bland name into something posh, debonair, and ear-catching. Imagine the looks you would get yelling across the cafe…”Moon-Yehn-Tay…over here!!” (So much better than Mahn-tee…don’t you agree? *snaps to Monte for his willingness to be temporarily portrayed as a boring/bland-named individual, because he’s not boring or bland at all*)

Alas, not everyone can have such a special name like Möñté. Most of you will go through life with mundane-as-molasses-Martin’s, bland-as-butter-Bonnie’s or routine-as-rain-Rhonda’s. But just think of the possibilities for your career, or your life, if you could be Mare-TEEN-yah, BOON-yeee, or Ro-HOON-day. Great Las Vegas Showgirl names…