After being out of the Air Force for about a year, I decided to play house and marry Karen, whom I had dated for about six months. The night prior to the wedding, Benny and I had made a trip to Atlantic City. It was to be my night out on the town; since I figured I deserved a traditional bachelor party fling before I tied the knot.We rented a second story motel room and hooked up with a couple of young Jersey Shore chicks. One was short and plump—the squeezable type like Snooki of the TV sitcom Jersey Shore. The other one was tall and lanky—the stroke-able type. We tussled around with them on the beds in the room. However, they must have been virgins; because we were unable to connect.
After scaring them off, we continued to get hammered that night. I vaguely remember being on the second floor balcony of the motor lodge. The place was equipped with a large swimming pool in the center of the square shaped establishment. I was so high; I became mesmerized by the stillness of the water and anticipated diving in from the balcony. Benny jumped and in-turn dared me to jump in after him. After seeing him wadding around in the water, I immediately came to my senses. Suddenly I reminded myself that I couldn’t swim—no matter how drunk I was. After that I must have blacked out completely.
The next morning, back in West Philly, Benny and I hooked up after getting decked out in our rented monkey suits. To relieve our hangovers, we had a few drinks at a corner bar a block away from Karen’s parent’s house, where the ceremony was to take place. When we arrived, the place was packed with the preacher, relatives and friends, all anxious for us to get cracking with the proceedings. During the ceremony, I remember Benny teeter-tottering back and forth like he was about to keel over. In fact, he seemed to be more nervous than I was. Then I happened to overhear someone whisper, “Could they be drunk already.” In other words, most guys don’t normally get wasted so early in the day, but we did.
After Karen and I were officially hooked, her parents held a dry reception on their premises, since they were hardcore Baptist. Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to bounce over to my parent’s house, where another reception was held later with free flowing booze. Karen sort of leaned toward the choir girl mentality, while I was still a part-time reveler. When it was over, we sauntered off to our honeymoon in the apartment I had rented in South West Philly. I couldn’t wait to get there, so I could get out of my monkey suit.
The following Monday when I prepared to go to work, I realized that I was not in the usual mode of recoverying from a weekend of gallivanting and cutting up. Because as a pre-baby-boomer, I inherited the morality of remaining in the marriage for the duration, and braced myself to ride it out.
In an attempt to keep up with me, Benny also tied the knot a few months later. His marriage seemed to be solid; until he made a drastic blunder. Karen mentioned that during a bedtime conversation, Benny told his wife that the reason he got married was because I had gotten married. After recovering from the sudden shock, his wife immediately kicked him out of bed and asked for an annulment. The sad outcome was that Benny wound up divorced and without his former running partner—me.
Nevertheless, my marriage journey continued for many seasons to come.