When looking for someone to marry, you need to throw out all of your stupid ideas of getting laid. This is another quest altogether, and one that will have much more far-reaching consequences. (Unless you're doing things you should not do. Yeah, I'm talking to you. You know who you are.)

First of all, you have to decide what you want the mother of your kids to be like. Do you want to tell the kids that you met mom in a Crisco pool with a fat guy who let you drink beer out of his navel while you did mom's best friend? Probably not. She wouldn't still be there when the kids got old enough to hear it, anyway.

No, you need to think of the future. And all that I was thinking about in the future was who would be the best mom possible for that little girl, Sarah, who was waiting out there in stardust land somewhere. She'd have to be sober and sweet and have a wonderful smile and be able to put up with my horrible, sorry, worthless ass for the rest of her life. So, as you can see, this is much harder than getting some quick action.

It took me almost five years to find her. And this type of search required the diligence of someone so stoic (think of thefez) that real life as I had known it began to feel like a blur. All the rule books had to be burned, with a vengeance. All the ideas of right and wrong had to be so totally reworked that it was quite amazing that my simple brain was able to manage it.

I'm taking a girl to an afternoon outdoor concert and I don't even know her. This is like the 50th girl I've introduced myself to since this quest began. And I know in my heart that she's no more the one than the other 49. It's like selling life insurance, for God's sake. I'm sick of it! The dream is dying. Sarah may get lost out there in the dark, dark dusts of dreamland.

I get to this afternoon concert and this girl and I sit down to enjoy the music. It's not five minutes until I see this other girl over there with a girlfriend of hers. Whoa! There's that smile! She appears to be perfectly sober and has a look that says she intends to stay that way. She's radiating love. I can see it.

I tell this girl I'm with that I see someone I know and I'll be back in a minute. I go over to this other girl and squat down beside her. She looks at me like I'm a fucking madman. (I am.) There just happens to be a little girl in front of us, around three years old, who is dancing to the music. Having a big time. I point to that little girl and say, "I'll bet you looked just like that when you were her age?" Her interest is piqued. But she's still scared to death of me. The rest is sort of hazy, but I know we walked over to the T-shirt concession and I tried to buy her something. I was sort of bragging about having more money than I knew what to do with. (I didn't.) I was obviously desperate.

She was on the verge of deciding I was a total jerk, and she was getting a bit too curious about this other girl I had left sitting over there, waiting on me. So I went for the phone number and the, "Can I call you" deal.

She said it was in the book and told me her last name. I said, "OK," and was walking away.

(Sarah, do you feel
how close you are
to remaining in the ether
right now?

It's a crucial couple of
seconds in your life.

Do you feel it?)

She yells at me as I'm walking away. "Do you know how to spell that?" I think, "Yeah, it's a common name." But I say, "Isn't it w-i-l-l-e-t-t, like the street?" (There's a street in Memphis named Willett.)

"No, it's o-u-e-l-l-e-t-t-e, like the French."

I would have never thought to spell it like that, Sarah. Thank your mom for yelling at me, like she's done for so many years now. OK? She loves you more than I do, if that's possible.

Step One

What worked for me can work for you too.

Drinking beer at a party, and competing in a "worst pickup lines" competition with a friend.

How about "Hey girly, wanna feel some friction?", I said.

"No way", said my friend.

"I've used it before and I'll use it again", I warned. And he dared me.

So I turned around and there were a couple of girls standing behind me. I had never seen any of them before. I tapped one on the shoulder and said "Hey girly, wanna feel some friction?"

She paused for just a moment before smiling and saying "OK".

That was 15 years ago. We've done the whole marriage and children thing (but not in that order), and we're still doing it, although it was the Japanese government that really made us get married.

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