Hello, Failure

Of all the enemies of literature, success is the most insidious

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Failure of the Day: Cotton, Ceramics

Hey, so does anybody know who’s in charge of deciding what the traditional and modern wedding anniversary symbols are? Because they’re really kind of random, and meant, I think, almost entirely to make people feel like unimaginative shoppers.

I did a miserable job on our anniversary last year trying to figure out what on earth to get Chris. We limit it to one gift because it was just my birthday and it’s about to be xmas and Chris has a wee tendency to go hog wild when buying me stuff. But still, it didn’t even occur to me to find out what the wedding anniversary symbols were for the first year (because I am what you a “romance dud”) whereas Chris had it all worked out. The symbols for the first anniversary are paper and clocks. (Why? Why? Does anybody know?) In addition to a really sweet bride and groom handmade mobile (that I’m doing a crappy job of describing but that is one of the coolest things in our house), he got me a sparkly writing book and the coolest itty bitty robot with a clock in its belly. What happened to the “only one gift” rule, you may ask? Join the club.

Me, I had nothing. I had no idea what to get and so while Chris was showering me with tokens of affection, I literally had nothing to give him. (Tokens, that is. Affection I’ve got.) I wound up buying his comics for the week, shamefacedly pointing out that it was at least paper, so it fit the symbol.

This year I’m prepared, though. I know that the second wedding anniversary symbols are cotton and ceramics, neither of which make any kind of metaphorical sense but it’s all we’ve got and I’m pretty sure we’ve got no choice but to abide by them. And I have a supercool thing for him. (One supercool thing. Why? Because I follow the rules.)

I’m not even complaining that the symbols are dictated by authorities who have reached the cultural heights of, say, Ann Landers. Frankly, I appreciate the help because I usually suck at this kind of thing. I just want to know who decided what the symbols should be. Because they did a terrible job. Plus they only did years 1-15 and then skip to every five years. And then, the symbol for the 60th anniversary is he same as it is for the 75th! Although this is not without its logic (if you are old enough to be celebrating your 75th wedding anniversary, chances are you won’t remember that you got a diamond 15 years ago, too), it smacks of laziness. Also, the 14th anniversary is gold jewelry, whereas the 50th is just gold, which makes me wonder if we shouldn’t be exchanging bullion at 50 since we’ve already specified jewelry was for 14.

Next year, the symbols are leather, crystal, and glass. Pray for me. And that Chris will really need a new belt.


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