May 17, 2006
The Della Femina Curse
This is a column I repeat every year. I suggest that you rip out this page make copies and send them to all your friends and relatives, or go to the new, nifty Independent website and e-mail this column to all your friends and relatives. Put a little note on this that reads:
Dear Friends and Relatives:
This "Jerry's Ink" guy is a jerk and 51 weeks out of the year his column is baby poop. But this is the one time that he makes sense. Won't you please show us you love us by not inviting us to anything until the week after Labor Day?
The Della Femina Curse
Why do they do it?
Why do our friends and relatives destroy the summer for us? Why can't they get married in February? Why do they choose the middle of summer to have birthdays, anniversaries, bar mitzvahs, family, college, high school and even nursery school reunions? That's not all. Frankly, some of them are thoughtless enough to die in June, July, and August and there goes another weekend.
I promise that if it's possible when it's time for me to go I will go on life support until some rainy Friday morning in January so that my mourners can bury me early in the morning and still enjoy a three-day weekend. That's the kind of generous guy I am.
Now I know you're wondering what I'm ranting about, since you're on top of the world because it looks like another endless summer. Let's just see how endless it really is.
If you're like me, you work Monday to Friday, leaving you with 15 Saturdays, 15 Sundays, and three long holiday weekends.
It adds up to a total of 36 days. Now you know that at least nine or 10 of these days will be cold rainy days where no matter how hard you try to avoid it you'll end up arguing with your spouse. All a man has to say is, "No, I don't think it's romantic to freeze my behind off walking in the rain on the beach. Why don't we stay in bed and fool around?" and that's when the pouting starts. So write off 10 miserable days to weather and you're left with 26 days.
Sound like a lot?
I bet everyone reading this already has one lost weekend coming up where your Aunt Matilda is celebrating her 50th wedding anniversary and she and your Uncle Benny would be brokenhearted if you don't show up on a beautiful Saturday afternoon to their house in Brooklyn or The Bronx or Westchester or wherever the hell they live.
So, now you're down to 24 days.
If you're young enough to have children, that means you're stuck with a weekend trip to some summer camp with an Indian er . . . er . . . Native American name in Maine or Massachusetts in the middle of what always turns out to be the sunniest, most beautiful weekend of the summer.
This is where you are sentenced to spend the weekend admiring neatly made bunk beds and ceramic ashtrays (which in these politically correct days are called candy dishes). Show me a camp that is wise enough to schedule parents' visiting days on a Monday and Tuesday and I will show you a camp that deserves the exorbitant amount of money they get to guard your kids for the summer. An amount of money, I might add, that is more than it took, a few short years ago, to cover the tuition that would get a child through four years of an Ivy League college.
If your children are grown, it's even worse. They have children and all their children are having birthday parties in town in July where you will find yourself overcome by heat while surrounded by 20 sticky five-year-olds playing musical chairs.
What frosts me is the weather. Did you ever notice that every one of the weekends you have to spend at a family event is beautiful? The sun is shining. The sky is blue. And you are stuck in some disgusting catering hall, or worse, drinking warm white wine out of a plastic cup in some relative's backyard in White Plains. Which brings me to summer weddings in the city.
They must be banned.
There are some facts that people who drag their friends away from the beach for their wedding must be made aware of. A few years ago, Jerry Seinfeld had a message for all the newly engaged couples watching him on stage at the Beacon Theatre: "Nobody wants to go to your wedding! We are not excited like you are." Both Mr. Seinfeld along with Don Imus, who was recently heard lamenting having to go to his nephew's wedding, are right.
The only people who must attend a summer wedding are the bride and groom, their respective parents, the best man and the maid of honor, and maybe a priest or a rabbi. All the other guests are hostages who may be smiling but inside they are seething because they have had one of their precious summer weekends screwed up.
I remind every dewy-eyed couple in my family that in the summer it's bad luck to get married anyplace west of Westhampton. I have, in my life, attended four weddings that took place on a summer holiday weekend (three Memorial Day, one Labor Day) and must report, in all honesty, that not one of these couples are still married.
This is the famous Della Femina curse: Screw up my holiday weekend and your marriage is doomed. Pass the word.
If you wish to comment on "Jerry's Ink," send your message to email@example.com