Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Mary Lou Retton and the Man On the Moon

Shortly after we got engaged, The Wife and I went to a car dealership to look for a new car. My old car, "Trusty Rusty," was getting more and more rusty, and less and less trusty.

We were newly engaged and we were holding hands as we walked on the lot towards a car in which I had some interest. That's when the used car salesman approached us and decided to open the conversation with an ill-advised attempt to guess what our relationship was.

As he walked toward us, the first thing he said was, "So...father-daughter?" We stared at him blankly. Undaunted, he continued, "Brother-sister?" Really? We were holding hands. How many sets of siblings walk onto a car lot holding hands? Finally he tried one more time, "Umm...boyfriend-girlfriend?" Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner! Unfortunately for him, his correct answer came too late. He had managed to alienate himself to us with the first words out of his mouth. (No, we did not buy a car from him.)

"So...father-daughter?" His words stung a little. Yes, there is a pretty big age gap between my wife and I, and it was a potential roadblock early in our relationship. But, by the time we were engaged I had pretty much forgotten all about it. Until a stupid used car salesman reminded me that I was old enough that I could be her father. (Well, I'm old enough to be her father if I had been sexually active at age 14. Which I wasn't.) (At 14 I was much more interested in Star Trek and The Fantastic Four than I was in girls.)

On our first date I discovered that the age difference between The Wife and I was fifteen years, three months, and four days. I thought that was a very large age difference. It was. I thought it was probably too big of an age difference. It wasn't. By the time we finished our second date I had met her family, and the general consensus was: yes, there's a big age difference, but they just seem to fit together.

Why wasn't the age difference a big deal? Well, by the time we started dating, The Wife was most definitely an adult. She was a college graduate who had already completed two years in her chosen profession as a school teacher. And she was at least as mature as I was, despite my fifteen year advantage.

15 years, 3 months, and 4 days. It really is a pretty big difference. For example, when I graduated high school in 1984, The Wife hadn't yet turned three years old. But, we've been married for over nine years now, and we rarely think of it anymore.

Oh, there have been a few times when we've been a little bit startled. Like the time I was talking about Mary Lou Retton and she had no idea who that was. I was shocked. I thought everyone knew who Mary Lou Retton was.

Meanwhile, The Wife was freaked out when she found out I was alive when man first walked on the moon. That was something that happened in the history books, not during the lifetime of the man she married!
A long, long, long time ago….

There are occasionally other things, like the fact that I voted for Ronald Reagan when I was in college, while she can barely remember him being president. (She was seven when he left office.)

And, she's more than a bit concerned that in a few months I'll be turning 50. In her mind, it's fine if I'm in my forties while she's in her thirties, but it'll become a bit much when I'm in my fifties and she's still in her thirties. (She tells me I'm not going to be 50, but instead will be turning forty-ten.)

Yes, she grew up watching Full House and I grew up watching The Brady Bunch. But when you get right down to it is there really much difference between Danny Tanner and Mike Brady?

So, I try not to be too judgmental anymore when I see couples with big age differences. Each situation is different, and who am I to see into someone else's heart? All I know is if you want to sell someone a car, don't open your mouth if you have no idea what you are talking about.

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