Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pretend Husband Number Three: The Big Mack

Mack is the cornerstone of all my fake husbands, the one who leads me through the valleys of both Sex and Death, all the time saying that though he does love me, he can’t let himself be in love with me, because love is too dangerous for a person whose first daily goal is to stay clean and sober. 

Some people think of sixty as the new forty, but I think of sixty as one minute away from age ninety-nine, which my father would be today if he weren’t dead instead. Mack is the husband who keeps  my dad’s ashes, as well as the one titanium screw that survived the cremation I can’t even think about.

Indeed, Mack’s the fake husband that makes me so require the others. But the others cannot make up for his absence, nor, evidently, can making a short heinous mess of the classic poem by Andrew Marvell:

         To her Coy Cowboy 

Had we but world enough, and time,

This coyness, cowboy, were no crime.

We would sit down and think which way

To walk, and pass our long love’s day;

But at my back I always hear

Time’s winged chariot hurrying near;

And your quaint sobriety turn to dust

And into ashes all my lust.

The grave’s a fine and private place.

But none I think do there embrace. 

None I think do there embrace!  
Oh.  My.  God.  Was a line ever truer?


  1. Oh Mack, Mack, Mack, please marry us!

  2. Ms. Gonick, I feel for you. But you can have any man you want! I can't begin to understand this problem with Mack. Do you think it's a shoe issue? Do you have a great pair of cowboy boots?

  3. Perhaps that's the problem: I'm limited to brain tumor shoes. If I were more motivated, I'd probably swap them for cowgirl stilettos.

  4. Just found this. I am a heck of a fan of Jean's. Can't wait to get home tonight and read the rest. Welcome back!

  5. What size shoe do you wear? I have a bevy of boots and I'd do just about anything to get Mack to marry us.

  6. Well, I wear size 7 1/2. And I want Mack to marry us too.

  7. Rose and Linda,
    I love you gals!
    Please stay tuned for Pretend Husband #4 . . . . .

  8. Dear Ms. Gonick,

    re: 'To Her Coy Cowboy'

    That's what I get for reading while under the influence (of Hypnos..). I missed the part where you attributed the work to the poet Andrew Marvell! Sorry.. I was thinking my, my.. our little Ms. Gonick has certainly kept her light under a bushel if she can crank out this caliber of verse at the drop of a cowgirl stiletto. However, I'll still give you an A+ for transmogrifying (it's a favorite word of Calvin and Hobbes) the original.

    Excellent column, Jean.. as always!

    Jim B