The 16,810 Days

My mom just commented that my dad has a “cute butt,” and I threw up in my mouth a little. 

~ My diary entry from 1998

My parents just celebrated 46 years of marriage last week. That’s 16,810 days, including leap years.

I just want you to close your eyes for few seconds, and just imagine waking up next to the same person, every single day for 16,810 days…

You open your eyes, stretch your arms out, yawn, and then roll over to see… the same person you’ve seen for the last 16, 809 days.

The drool spot.

The snoring.

The breath that smells like expired milk. 

The face…

(Are you freaking out yet?)

I imagine it would feel a lot like the movie Groundhog Day… You may feel trapped in a cycle of forever. You may also get drunk, get thrown in jail, feel very depressed and contemplate suicide (like Bill Murray’s character Phil Connors in Groundhog Day).

And who could blame you?

Okay sure, you either asked or agreed to be married, you purchased a ring, you planned an event and invited friends and family, you showed up to the ceremony, said: “I do,” placed the ring on his or her finger, and signed a legal, binding contract which was recognized by an issuing authority…

But when you get married, you really do not know what you’re signing up for.

Before marriage it’s all long walks near bodies of water, staring into each other’s eyes dramatically, and exchanging mouth (and other) fluids. There is really no opportunity to find out if the other person is a decent human being because you are too busy sucking face.

After you get married it’s arguing about why he said he cleaned the bathroom, but there are still toothpaste splatters on the mirror! …and his nose is making that sound again! …and he forgot to put out the recycling and now it’s going to be really full for the week and now the neighbors will see your wine bottles and think you have a problem! …Stuff like that.

When you say, “I do,” there is definitely potential for a Groundhog Day-type situation.

If you don’t like the person you married, this could be a problem. If you don’t like yourself, it’s an even bigger one.

In Groundhog Day, Phil Connors finally breaks the cycle when he reflects on his behavior, changes his attitude, becomes less selfish, and focuses on becoming a better person…

In the movie, and in marriage… This breaks the cycle.

So, if you want to be happy for 16,810 days, or even a week…

Be like Phil.


After 16,810 days my parents seem to still genuinely like each other. They laugh, kiss, cuddle and by all accounts, appear to enjoy one another’s company. But maybe (like Bill Murray) they’re just acting?

Happy Anniversary Linda Lou Hou and Yelnats!








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