Nine years ago I wrote about what a terrrific decision we made when Laurel and I got married on St. Patrick's Day.
It's our 14th anniversary today. We had the smarts to get married on St. Patrick's Day in 1990, which means that as soon as I start seeing mention of green beer in the newspaper or on TV a small still voice in my head starts speaking... “Anniversary, anniversary, anniversary.”
The mathematically inclined will be able to calculate from the above that... today is our 23rd anniversary! I don't believe that number entitles us to any particular sort of valuable present. However, if you want to send us something lavish, feel free.
What I'm really looking forward to is our 32nd anniversary, just another mere nine years away, because then I -- but not Laurel -- will be able to celebrate a Golden Anniversary: 50 years! Gold, please! And lots of it.
I'm expecting that my Golden Anniversary well-wishers won't hold back because of a minor technicality: my 50 years of marriage will have been to two different women, as my first marriage lasted 18 years.
I feel that what counts in determining my eligibility for getting expensive gifts in 2022 is my overall commitment to marriage. If you disagree, feel free. Attach a note to the gold bullion you'll be giving me explaining why you are sending that gift reluctantly. I'll keep that in mind when I sell the gold and get myself a super-nice present.
This year's anniversary, though, didn't start out great for me.
Turning on my iPhone after waking up (I habitually weigh myself first thing in the morning, then enter the sometimes cheery and sometimes depressing figure into the nifty Weightbot app), I saw that Mint had sent me the decidedly uncheery news that a late fee had been added to our credit card bill.
Damn, damn, damn! I forgot to make the VISA payment!
This probably wasn't the most romantic thing I could have uttered first-off to my wife on our anniversary. But after 23 years of marriage we've gotten away from some of the lovey-dovey rituals that newlyweds engage in.
I rushed to my laptop. I logged into our credit card company's website.
Ah, hope. Apparently because this was just Sunday, March 17, and the payment had been due on Friday, March 15, I was greeted with a message that implied that, if I made an online payment right away, forgiveness might be forthcoming from a giant financial institution.
I believe this was, by the way, one of the giant institutions that contributed to the second greatest financial meltdown in U.S. history, and received copious taxpayer largessse. So by comparison, my being two days late with a credit card payment was utterly insignificant.
But I figured bringing politics into this issue wasn't going to play very well with the corporate worker bees who handled decisions about late credit card payments.
Clicking on the "contact" link on the company's web site, I took a different approach. Truthful, yet mildly manipulative in a charming (in my completely biased opinion) way.
It's our 23rd anniversary today. I was smart enough to get married on St. Patrick's Day so I wouldn't forget our anniversary. But wasn't smart enough to remember to pay our ____ VISA card this month -- until today. It was due Friday. I paid it as soon as I woke up.
Your online system showed that the payment (from our bank account) went through immediately, though it's Sunday. I hope you won't charge a late fee on grounds on this being our anniversary; I'm 64 and maybe getting a little forgetful; and we've been steady reliable ______ members. Thanks.
A few hours later I got a response. The $25 late fee had been erased. Sweet! Not as great an anniversary present as a gold bar, but nice. I also got an emailed lecture about the importance of paying on time, complete with tips about how to prevent future forgotten late payments.
My wife and I spend much of our time trying to figure out what is so great about the so-called "golden years." (Aside from getting all that loot on my Golden Anniversary.) So far, what we've basically experienced about growing old is...
But that's a subject for another blog post. One small benefit, which I took advantage of today, is that you can start to play the forgetful old person game. "Gosh, I'm sorry about the late payment. What do you expect from a semi-senile old codger like me?"
Anyway, mark your calendars for March 17, 2022. If you expect the price of gold to rise markedly between now and then, you might want to buy some bullion now for my Golden Anniversary present to save money.