Down to the Wire

I’m getting married in a couple of hours. My little brother is coming to pick me up and take me to the hotel to marry my long-suffering fiancée, Alison. This is the last article I’m writing from this side of the fence. The next time you hear from me, I will be a married man. You won’t have the single J.D. Smith to kick around any more.

I feel like taking Single Guy out for a drink to say goodbye, let him down easy now that we’re breaking up the act. "It was great fun, but it was just one of those things." Actually, a couple of friends did just that last Thursday night, and I’m here to tell you that we just don’t rebound as quickly as we used to.

Lots of people have asked me, "Are you getting excited, are you nervous?" Well, no. Not nervous, exactly. I don’t want to put a damper on things, but a lot of the wedding is just about getting from here to there. It’s like a test of your emergency relationship system. I’ve been so busy with work and planning the wedding the past couple months, I haven’t had time to devote to being nervous. By now, however, enough people have asked the question that I’m beginning to think they know something I don’t know.

I am excited, but I will never be as excited as my mother, who now answers the phone by shrieking, "I’m so excited!" It’s possible she will physically explode from joy before we get down the aisle. She started crying three days ago. I explained to Alison that there would be moments in the years ahead when my level of enthusiasm does not rise to meet her expectations, and that these would be good times to call that woman.

We’re getting married on a Thursday night. I’m going to a bar mitzvah on a Thursday night later this summer. The rabbi gave me a lengthy explanation as to the reason why it’s OK to get married on a Thursday, which boiled down to this: Thursday is the new Saturday. (In the exchange, Tuesday is the new Wednesday, and there is no Monday at all anymore. Sunday is right where it always was.)

I like having a rabbi on call. He rang up from his cellphone to ask our Hebrew names for the ketubah. I reminded him that we already passed this information on, but it seems his PalmPilot crashed and…. I have a rabbi with a cellphone and a PalmPilot! That is so cool.

I’ve had a good time being engaged. People are really nice to you. Strangers wish you "Congratulations!" and "Mazel tov!" Thank you, everyone. As the date has gotten closer, I noticed that people go a little bit insane when I tell them, "I’m getting married — on Thursday." They all seem to think that I should be doing something. What, exactly, I don’t know. Baking a cake, maybe.

I have to admit I’m a little disappointed that the whole dowry thing went away. That was a right fine idea, if you ask me. In lieu of a dowry, now there’s something called a bridal registry. This is a bit like selling time-shares in the marriage to everyone you know. I simply had no idea how much stuff one needs to get married. It seems I need 12 to 16 of everything. Sixteen place settings? My table only seats eight, but why not? If I’d known what a great deal this was, I’d have gotten married years ago — several times.

All the women who are coming to the wedding know exactly what all the other women are wearing. "What are you wearing to the wedding?" has been a kind of mantra around our place. I think that the guys will all be in dark suits, but I’m not sure. When my little brother called to ask what, exactly, the "elegant attire" on the wedding invitation meant, I suggested that he should reconsider anything with a Montreal Expos team logo on it.

From the time you’re little, you get this playbook about life that says: you go out on a (blind) date, you fall in love, you get engaged, you get married, you have babies. A-B-C. Do-re-me. What did I think was going to happen? So now it’s actually down to the wire and I’m not nervous, because, well, I’ve been getting ready for this moment my entire life and I’m so happy it has finally come. I am truly blessed.

Listen, I hate to run, but my ride is here. I’ve got a date with the woman I’m planning on spending the rest of my life with — and I’d hate to keep her waiting.

J.D. Smith and Alison are honeymooning @