Peter Bromhead: Living together

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Cartoon / Illustration
Cartoon / Illustration

"So, old-timer, tell us, when did you first tie the knot?" asked the young couple who planned to marry shortly.

"Well," I replied, slowly wiping my reading glasses clean with a cafe napkin, "I think it was in the mid-fifties."

"Wow!" they both chorused, "that's over 60 years ago!"

"I guess so," I murmured.

"So, what was it like?" they eagerly asked.

"What was what like?" I responded, unclear what aspect of newly married life they were referring to.

"Living together."

I was relieved they were not referring to delicate matters such as "bedroom fatigues", because I couldn't recall much about trying to procreate with a comparative stranger, having met my first wife only a month before we settled down.

"I remember," I said solemnly, "that we ate a lot of silver beet."

"Silver beet!" they both exclaimed. "We prefer mesclun salad, particularly with feta cheese and olives, don't we?" they joyously uttered, staring into each other's eyes.

I shook my head. "Such salads hadn't been discovered when I first married.

"There was only silver beet or tinned peas."

"Tinned peas!" they cried again in astonishment. "What about frozen peas?"

"I don't think refrigerators had been invented, or if they had, young married couples couldn't afford such luxurious appliances merely to house packets of Pisum sativum."

"Pisum sativum?" they questioned.

"It's Latin for peas," I explained, adding, "I like to keep my readers on their toes when they're reading my column."

"Well, with over 60 years of cohabiting, you must have sound advice to offer us," they continued, oblivious to my increasing boredom.

"You want to hear my secrets for long, happy relationships?" I repeated, adding, "based on my personal experience?"

"We certainly do!" they exclaimed again.

"Well," I explained, "my recipe for domestic contentment is simple. I just kept exchanging female partners and wives every few years and that way, I've stayed blissfully happy."

"You mean, you haven't been married to the same person all this time?" hissed the future bride, frowning questioningly.

"How many times have you changed partners?" asked the groom-to-be, a touch too eagerly.

"We don't want to know," snapped his prospective bride, standing to clearly indicate that she had no further interest in my recipe for matrimonial bliss.

Just as well they abruptly left, because I honestly can't remember most of the gory details of cohabiting with the opposite sex over the last 60 years.

- NZ Herald

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