This Friday, Mrs. Bootleg and I celebrate five years marriage. I'm paying tribute to the little woman all week long in the hope that it'll get me out of having to buy a real gift…
January 1997 - So, we'd been dating for a little over a year to this point. This isn't to imply that we hadn't had the occasional disagreement, as I'd learned several annoying little things over the prior 12 months or so. For example, Girlfriend Bootleg couldn't read a map…in fact, to this day, she still can't. Whether it's city, state or the San Diego Zoo's "you are here" cartoonishly illustrated poster…it doesn't matter. "I'm all turned around!", she cries. Or, my favorite, "Why are the letters so small?"
Anyways, it was New Year's Day and a bunch of us were going to Six Flags Magic Mountain. GF Bootleg and I met my brother there, along with longtime friends o' mine Thai and Vig. On that day…after we'd stood in line, bought tickets and walked through the turnstile…I learned that the girlfriend doesn't like roller coasters. At Six Flags Magic Mountain. I just learned this.
Why'd she come? F*cked if I know. And, to top things off, she got violently ill. No, no…she hadn't got on any rides. Apparently, the mere sight of the rides was enough to turn her stomach. For the next six hours, she shuffled six steps behind the rest of us, clutching her queasy belly and ruining our day.
The clincher came at the end. The girlfriend forgot where I parked the car (I know, I know…yet, I still married her). While I roamed up and down the thousands upon thousands of rows of parking, the little woman sat down on the sidewalk, because she was "too sick" for any more walking.
When I finally found the car, I drove back to pick up the patient. By now, she was curled up in the fetal position on the ground as a few concerned park visitors and the Magic Mountain Parking Lot Tram driver huddled around her. None of them with any knowledge of the sabotage she wrought that day.
October 1998 - On a cool Friday night in late October, I went out for an evening of drinking with a couple of co-workers. "Christopher" was visiting from our sister division back in upstate New York and, uh…"Mandy" was in our San Diego office with me. We all drank a lot. It happens. It was 2:30 AM and none of us were in any condition to drive, so I did the right thing.
I did the smart thing.
I left a voice mail on the wife's cell phone, informing her that I wouldn't be coming home and, instead, spending the night with Christopher and Mandy in a downtown hotel.
Despite the lives I saved that night from not getting behind the wheel, in a matter of minutes, the girlfriend had left a scathing, potty-mouthed message for me. Here's a summary: "Don't bother (expletive) coming home!" and "This is (expletive) bull(expletive)!" and "Why the (expletive) didn't you call the (expletive) house phone?"
Quite the lady, no?
Never mind that Mandy got the back room, Christopher got the couch and I got the floor. In fact, as best I can remember, here's the voice mail I left for the GF:
"Hey. Me and Chris and Mandy are pretty f*cked up. We're gonna get a hotel together and sleep it off. I'll be home as soon as I sober up, but don't expect me anytime before six."
Now, here's what she chose to hear:
"Hey. Mandy's pretty. We're gonna get a hotel and sleep together. Don't expect me home before sex."
To this day, Mrs. Bootleg still gets worked up over this. Publicly, I know that all the women have to take her side, but, c'mon ladies…you know I did the right thing.
May 2001 - Five years before this, one of my best friends got married and I brought the future Mrs. Bootleg along as my date. Seemed innocuous at the time, but, in reality, I'd inadvertently laid the groundwork for Memorial Day Weekend 2001.
We'd attend several more weddings over the ensuing months and years, leading up to the fateful phone call I'd receive from the girlfriend while at work on a Friday morning:
"Guess what? J & D got engaged!"
Now, "J" was the last of her girlfriends to get hitched. I knew what was coming, however, I mistakenly assumed that the little woman's next words wouldn't come until the ride home from J & D's wedding several months later:
"So, where is our relationship going?"
She went on and on…and on. Although she never raised her voice, it was clear that she was more pissed off now than the night I slept with Mandy, er, she thought I slept with Mandy. Hell, she even dropped the "piss or get off the pot" line. Who knew anyone but your grandfathers used that gem!
Later that day Mrs. Bootleg's job had a tailgating event at a Padres game. We spent the afternoon on opposite ends of the parking lot – her stewing in her juices while pretending to happy for the newly engaged couple (who were co-workers of hers and in attendance, showing off "the ring") and me, scoping out prospects for the future-future Mrs. Bootleg, in case the girlfriend dumped me before the game started.
Pretty sure y'all know how that turned out.
October 2007 - Our son Jalen just enjoyed his fourth Halloween. So far, he's been a cat, Batman and – my favorite – The Green Lantern for his previous three candy grabs. This year, the wife and I were at odds over his costume.
There was simply no way to outdo last year's get-up, so I deferred to the wife and trusted she'd come up with something
Instead, she came up with…with this.
For an African-American child.
My African-American wife came up with this.
In the end, I invoked my rarely used veto powers – over her objections – and the boy went as a firefighter.
Although, looking back, I shouldn't have been surprised at my wife's preference.
Next: How Al-Qaeda blew up my marriage proposal plans!