Sunday, August 31, 2008
A Traditional Polish Marriage Blessing
As many of you may know, I am currently vacationing in Poland at my brother's wedding, also known in these parts as a 72 hour vodka fest. Lastnight, I delivered my dear brother a toast, which I shall now share with my blog readers in a diversion from my usual race report postings...
To my brother Zach:
Marriage has not always been the way that it is today, in this present day. And so today, since it is your wedding day and you probably don’t have anything better to do, and since I am something of a marriage historian, I want to give you a brief history of marriage.
Marriage first started out sometime in the 2nd century. We as historians are not sure whether this was A.D. or B.C., but traditionally, historians do not find this important. It was during this time that men realized that rather than just jumping out of a tree and tackling the woman who they wanted, or dressing as a bush and tripping her horse, or dressing as another woman and sneaking into her special women-only village parties, that it may work even better to figure out a way for her to like him.
And so most of the men in that very first 2nd century village had a special meeting. During this meeting, they passed the first law of history, if you don’t count the law about running people over in your chariot. And what this law said was that if you liked a woman, and you wanted lay with her, in a biblical sense, then you need to avoid resorting to violent or deceptive tactics like tree-jumping, dressing up as a bush, or dressing up as a woman, and instead you would need to have a more diplomatic approach.
Because these early men were so wise and had many more brain cells that our current society men, who have smaller heads and walk upon two legs, they designed three different diplomatic approaches that were much less violent and deceptive:
The first approach would involve lighting a large fire in the front yard of the woman’s house who you wanted to marry. Dousing yourself with a bucket of water, you would then run through this fire and barge through her door. Wait, go back. What I forgot was that you also had to hold flowers in your teeth. So you come through her door screaming with these flowers in your teeth, and she right away knows that she wants to be with you for the rest of your lives together, because what she doesn’t know is that you doused yourself with water before you ran through that fire.
The second approach would involve catching three wild baby coyotes and raising them in your house. Each day, you would feed them with a bottle of milk and brush their fur. You would do this every day, for two, and sometimes up to seven years, depending on the breed of the coyote. Then, when all was ready and those coyotes were just as tame and lovable as could be, you would take them over to the house of the woman who you wanted to marry, and you would throw them into her window. Then you would run around and burst in through her front door and you tackle the coyotes and strangle them one by one. Right away, she would want to be with you, because you saved her from the wild coyotes. Make sure she is home first on this one, or you’ll just have a bunch of coyote poop to clean up before she comes home.
The final approach would be the very approach that has stuck to this day. In this approach, you would not even worry about the woman, but you would instead target her parents. One day, when her parents are having a picnic out in the countryside or when they are perhaps making love out in a little meadow, you would quickly get your shovel and dig a giant tunnel all the way out to underneath them, then you would pop up out of this tunnel and surprise them. For greater emphasis, when you pop out of the tunnel, you can throw some gold coins up into the air. Then you tell them that you have just come from the other side of the world, and you came all that way just to be with their daughter. Typically, this is enough to make them go get their daughter to give to you, but if for some reason they hesitate, then follow up by saying, “You can have those gold coins too.” A good strategy as they scrounge around on the dirt picking up the coins is to quickly run and fill in the other side of the tunnel, so they don’t see it when they go to get their daughter for you.
Well, that’s about it for the history of marriage. I performed most of this research while I was on the airplane on the way over. It was an official government airplane, so this is trustworthy information. Most of the people on the airplane were actually certified marriage historians, which I am not, and so I learned one final traditional wedding blessing that I would like to end with:
“May your marriage be like that of the great kings of old, so that all of your wives love the other wives that you have, your strongest children survive and the weaker ones die off, and on your gravestone it is written, ‘He loved naturally, he lived naturally, and we’re pretty sure he died naturally, but please don’t open the coffin’.”