WARNING – be very careful what you decide to name your i-phone in the settings menu.

During the heart of the pandemic if you wanted to apply for a marriage license from a state agency (cheapest way to get one) you could only do it on-line. I needed a license to get married to an incredibly kind, amazingly cultured, sophisticated, intelligent, beautiful, and age-appropriate amazing woman. I was married once before, but it didn’t work out. Sometimes that happens. Maybe more on that another time.

The two most important things you need to take care of to get married are the license and the tasting. The license you need to make it official and the tasting you need to make sure you are having the right meat. Having the wrong meat can break a wedding or a least be a bad omen. I needed to get the license out of the way so we could move on to the tasting.

Applying for the actual license only takes a few minutes but trying to get an appointment was ridiculous. It’s all on-line. Once you make an appointment, they send you a link and it’s all done by video conference. The problem was that it took about a month to get the appointment, and then we missed it because by that time we were knee deep into the last-minute details of making sure the flowers were coming from the right grower in Holland and whether the planner was actually going to be able to get us the Flora Danica plates by Royal Copenhagen that Paris Hilton also wanted. We were getting married on the same day.

Somehow, I got another appointment, and after the appointment fiasco, I realized how I got it. The next morning, I could not find the link to the on-line video appointment. FUCK! The actual appointment must be in person. Was the pandemic over and nobody told me? Why was the appointment now in person? The hospitals were still full of sick people. Why wasn’t this appointment still on-line? Do I now have to drive to Norwalk (50 miles from my house) and leave in the next 5 minutes? Was my finance now actually really going to kill me? Instead of just threatening to do so when we missed the first appointment.

Fortunately, her car is fast., and at the end of the day, that’s all that mattered. We got to the check-in at 8:55, but then disaster struck again. They had no record of our appointment. After about a half hour of searching they finally found some possible evidence of an appointment and let us into the building. The fast car part being the only thing that mattered wearing off fast.

All I wanted to do was get past this and move on to the tasting. But the sweet smell of glorious meat in my mind was rapidly fading away…

Just like the DMV or any other government building, the wait for everything was too long in a place that you don’t want to be. It was cavernous, annoying, dark, smelly, drab; peeling paint and mold surrounding the uncomfortable chairs in the waiting area. It was all we could do to keep from screaming out in frustration when someone finally showed up at a window to help us, they then told us that they could not help us.

HELPLESS BUREAUCRAT: I’m sorry buy your name is not on the reservation for this appointment time.

ME: Are you fucking kidding me (that’s what I was thinking)? WHAT?!?!? How could that be? I made the reservation with my phone. Look, here is the confirmation.

HELPLESS BUREAUCRAT: I’m sorry the name on your driver’s license does not match the name on the appointment.

ME: What is the name on the appointment?

HELPLESS BUREAUCRAT: J. Peterman.

ME: WHAT?!?!?!

FIANCEE: WHAT?!?!?

ME: That’s my fucking phone’s name (I thought to myself). That’s my phone’s name.

FIANCEE: J. Peterman!

HELPLESS BUREAUCRAT: The computer says J. Peterman.

ME: J. Peterman!

SWEATY/HAIRY GUY IN LINE BEHIND ME: J. Peterman? That’s not even a real person.

ME: THAT’S MY PHONE’S NAME! LOOK, MY PHONE SAYS ITS NAME IS J. PETERMAN.

HELPLESS BUREAUCRAT: I’m sorry, but I can only allow the person who made the appointment to apply for the license.

ME: I made the appointment, I filled out all the forms on-line. Look at the forms.

HELPLESS BUREAUCRAT: this has happened to others before, and we could not help them either. Our system registers the appointment by the name that you put into the phone. If the name is wrong, you cannot get a license. You must apply for another appointment.

I could feel the hair on the back of my neck rising, I turned to see the beyond exasperated expression on my fiancée’s face. If I didn’t do something quickly this marriage was over.

ME: I WANT TO TALK TO THE MANAGER, WHERE IS MANAGER!

HELPLESS BUREAUCRAT: there is no manager.

That’s basically when I lost it and got the hook by the fiancée before things got too out of control. At the end of the day, I did the right thing. I apologized for all my misdeeds, paid a private licensing company $200, and moved on to the tasting.

The venue for the tasting was an amazing hotel in Santa Barbara where we were getting married. We picked it because it reminded us of one of the first amazing vacations together. We went to Italy, spent a week on the coast of Naples and sailed to Capri. An island known for its dramatic coastal scenery where both Emperor Augustus and Tiberius had homes. It was a place where every view was breathtaking. The hotel reminded us of everything we loved about the island.

Set above the coast in Santa Barbara with all the luxurious appointments one could imagine, we sat at private dining table in a room enclosed in glass, where I decided the meat entrée should be short ribs because as a rancher in Kentucky, I had thought, that’s what J. Peterman would have done. A man I try to live my life by whenever possible. And dripping with the juicy goodness of rich beefy flavor, they were the most succulent, divine, and nimble creatures I had ever tasted. I could only imagine that Mr. J would have sauntered right into the hotel wearing his Boss Trail Suede Jacket (No. 7057):

whether it was the trail, the ranch or the factory of the early 1900s, the jacket
Was similar-tough, durable a bona-fide workhorse. Coincidentally, it also
happened to make you look like you had a 10-picture deal.

and said, “give me the short ribs my good man, I have a beautiful wife to marry.”