A World of Firsts
This was our FIRST KISS. Bridget was pregnant with our son at the time, and she and I had suddenly just been married (to one another). Notice the Honorable Judge Kyle MacLachlan, who had officiated our marriage, is photobombing the shot. The ceremonial government institution ritual took place by candlelight in the underground Sangamon County Illinois Fortress of Mystery. The gold object above our heads is a giant coin of local currency which was being tossed through the air, per tradition to bring peace and fortune to anyone present brave enough to attempt to catch it. No one was harmed that day, although several witnesses went on to bigger and better things. Incidentally, rumor mill has it Judge MacLachlan's backstory will be the subject of an eventual spin off movie in which we discover the amazing origin of his magic stare!
This was Bridget's FIRST MARRIAGE PROPOSAL to me. There we stood, outside our new brick home, which we'd just built ourselves that morning by hand. We decided to dress up for the occasion right before the press arrived (AP Photo). Our clothes were borrowed from neighbors as per tradition. Incidentally, it's an old custom in my family to wear a necktie and then, once the marriage proposal is accepted, to quickly bury it in the backyard. I forewent that, choosing instead to climb the brick wall pictured and parkour my return to the restaurant, where I somehow earned enough to put food in the car that night so Bridget and I could immediately flee to Canada to escape the wrath of Obamacare.
This was our FIRST FIGHT—aka disagreement, spat, or “trouble in the paradise”. We were already embarrassed that we'd both worn the color blue to the downtown Springfield, Illinois christening of the Abraham Lincoln Spaceship. Sitting in first class on the ship shortly thereafter, the giant lumbering flight steward stopped by and asked if one of us would please change clothes so we'd be less similar, as other guests in the cabin were complaining and sighing in increasing numbers and intensity. I cheerfully volunteered, but I fumbled my stuffed suitcase out of the overhead compartment and dropped it into the aisle, spilling out onto the floor all of the wedges of Soy de Herb Cheese™ we'd smuggled into the country that morning through a secret transatlantic undersea tunnel. The cheese immediately exploded, of course, splattering the steward's glossy clogs and our hemp chaps pants with much vegan deliciousness. No crackers could be located in the hovering snack cart, so Bridget became peckish and squeamish. I was resigned and nonchalant, futher to her chargrin, and that's when Sedd Sourpointe, a local paparazzi and a member of the Disassociated Press, slid in to snap this unfortunate photo evidence. You take a chance whenever you leave the house, and that day was no exception.
This picture was taken during Bridget's and my FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH BATS. We had just built a cave for them inside our house in the hopes they would eradicate the mosquitoes we had introduced to keep the neighbors from visiting us at all hours of the night. The neighbors had been attracted to the free organic vegetables in the produce stands set up in the garage for the hungry firefighters, who had asked to use our garden hose to put out a small blaze on our roof caused by a meteorite which had struck the siding after the earth passed through the Orionid meteor shower—the fragments of Halley's Comet, which is now thought to have contributed to or caused a widespread famine some 1500 years ago, which incidentally was a time period when bats were much more numerous than they are now. So anyway, the bats had quickly picked off all the mosquitoes at this point, but it turned out they also really liked my hair gel, which I had found buried in the bathroom closet under Q-Tip and First Aid Kit, who were both playing the Abode Music Festival in our living room that night after having toured successfully together in the alley behind our house, and so on. In any case, my forehead bounced right off a Midwestern little brown bat, which had probably just eaten several hundred flying insects in our kitchen, which I could guess at due to the heft of the creature as it struck me. The force of its impact moved me emotionally, as I had always been fascinated by flying mammals. Bridget was proud of my having withstood a moderate blow to the head, but overnight I developed contact dermatitis where the traces of a new fabric softener in the handkerchief had reacted with the hair gel and formed a mildly caustic compound. The subsequent day was thankfully less dull, our discovery of an extraterrestrial civilization at Gliese 667 notwithstanding. (Associated Depress Photo Credit)
This was the FIRST TIME WE SAID “I LOVE YOU”. To utter those magic three words to each other in proper fashion, we set up a 150-watt pirate radio station at the YMCA. I remember feeling confident and excited but nervous and scared as we bowed before the elliptical machine before going on the air. Bridget later admitted that she felt brave but terrified. We began the show by playing a 20th century love song to which we had romantically slow-danced on our first date the evening prior: “The Dogs of War Pigs” by Pink Sabbath. Our guests were, in order of appearance: Dee Meritz, alderperson of our city ward; Rich Schmoeling, lead singer of the local smooth jazz fusion band Windy Pants; and evil time-traveling cyborg Martian insect farmer Guard Sync. Guard's act caused chaos in the studio when his hat spiders refused to perform tricks, so we were compelled to finish the show several minutes early with a makeshift end theme of "Happy Idioteque" by TV on the Radiohead before making a mad dash for the fire escape window. The downside was we still had not professed our love! Nevertheless, the gas station on the way home had stocked plenty of charging cables and gum—and so, there by the electric twitching of the fluorescent lightbulb in the hallway outside the unisex bathroom, Bridget and I looked far into one another's eyes... wondering who was going to pay to fuel up the stolen limo.
This was the FIRST TIME WE FELL IN LOVE. It's funny how you think back and don't realize all the things you do now, because the special way we're holding each other—like pencil neck hippies clinging to two electric blankets in an ice storm—is telling. That morning Bridget couldn't find her Chapstick, and I sat on my sunglasses: the usual. But then, later on the way to the lake park restaurant, the intense odor of soybean processing in distant Decatur slowly wilted our hair. The chips and salsa weren't free and several drunk Canadians nearly ruined the concert by yelling out the lyrics of the quietest song in Yo La Tengo's repertoire. Speaking of which, it was only several minutes after this photo was taken (by Estoy y Cómo of the band the Association Press) that we learned the truth about the acoustic guitar and ukulele duo that opened up: it was composed of the ghost of James Fenimore Cooper and a robot incarnation of Philip K. Dick! And so, that's how we became each other's sweeties.