Tag Archives: Fairy Tale

From Chapter 17, “Trust” of MINDWRITERS

Carl woke in the torn passenger seat of a shabby sedan, a stranger at the wheel. There was gum in the carpet, scratches in the dashboard, and a radio that looked right out of the ‘70s, lacking even a tape deck. The clock blinked ‘12:00’ in despondent rhythm, as if sorry for not knowing the time. The vehicle smelled of smoke, sweat, and worse. Surely several disappointed teenagers had lost virginity in the cramped back seat, the fairy tale of Mister Right crumbling to dust beneath the crude pawing of Mister Horny.

“Happily Ever After” is a lie.

Castle NeuschwansteinI love my wife. Far more than a simple blog post could possibly convey. In truth, I think she’s an incredible woman to put up with me, my constant rants, my acid temper, and particularly when I was plagued with chronic pain I know I was not pleasant to live with. I sure wouldn’t have put up with me.

Far more than just tolerating me, Megan makes my life amazing. She takes care of me, manages the house, and does amazing work at a full time job and takes classes. And somehow she manages to make me feel special and adored at the end of the day.

I’m telling you, it’s not fair in the slightest.

But we aren’t living “happily ever after”. Because it’s a lie. It’s a myth. A fairy tale, if you will.

In movies, in sitcoms, even in many books, if there’s a romance, how does the story end? In every happy ending, the guy gets the girl and they ride off into the sunset, literally or proverbially.

What they don’t show you on screen is that four hours later, the bride and groom are cranky and saddlesore. In reality, “happily ever after” is not the end of the story. It’s only the beginning.

Our first anniversary is less than a fortnight away, and I can now tell you (finally from experience) that marriage is work. We do far more poring over finances and schedules than we do snuggling or snogging, and I doubt we’re unique in that regard. A wife isn’t just a make-out buddy, she’s also a business partner. And a roommate. And a best friend.

So if you’ve ever felt friction between a business partner, or a roommate, or your best friend, imagine rolling them all into one.

Popular media has lied about this from verbal tradition to high definition. That’s because it’s easier to give fiction a satisfying end than it is in real life. Consider it: No matter how great triumph you experience in your life, afterwards you will still have to get up and go through the next day’s routine. Being elected President of the United States is arguably the highest prestige in the world. But the reward for it is arguably the hardest job in the world.

I chose Neuschwanstein Castle, pictured above, very deliberately for this blog post. It is often held as a paragon of fairy tale beauty, so much so that it’s the model for the Disneyland Sleeping Beauty Castle. It is featured in many other movies, and in 2007 it was a finalist for the New Seven Wonders of the World, and is now advertised as the “8th Wonder”.

It is rightly considered a work of art, but beautiful as it is, that castle is an unfinished project. Only 14 rooms were fully furnished before its commissioner, Ludwig II of Bavaria, died.

Marriage is likewise a beautiful, unfinished project.