Humor Magazine

Get Ready for the Announcement: Colored Pencils May Be Involved

By Dianelaneyfitzpatrick


I would not want to be young with my whole like ahead of me right now. This is one day and age where I’m happy to be married, past childbearing years and one broken hip away from assisted living. Not because it isn’t wonderful to have all that excitement ahead of you, God willing. But because I would never be able to compete in the announcements of significant life events.

Proposing to your bride or groom, announcing your baby’s sex, and other life moments are no simple matter. Ever since that guy put his girlfriend in the back of an SUV, cranked a boom box, and talked all of his friends and both sets of parents into white-person-lip-biting-dancing behind the moving car as his unique way of proposing marriage, it’s been one big contest.

Those people who danced behind the SUV were wise to participate, if only for the dancing practice. Because that couple, I’m sure, had their wedding party groove down the aisle too. Or break out into a flash mob during the Ave Maria. And when they wanted the world to know they were having a baby? I’ll bet Arthur Murray was called in from the grave, and someone was on a wakeboard and someone else was on the back of a boat with a video camera.

Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s cute. I watched that SUV proposal about four times. I beamed ear to ear when my cousin and his wife announced they were going to be parents with a paint ball battle (blue!) and “It’s a Boy!” painted on his stomach. I clapped out loud when I saw the photos of my niece’s boyfriend on one knee holding a ring box in front of my niece on the top of a snowy mountaintop. I could see her joy despite the fact they were both dressed like the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man and the only part of her exposed was half of her bottom lip (it was smile shaped).  And I got teary-eyed when two friends announced additions to their families with clever photos of baby shoes and ribbons around their dogs’ necks.

Sometimes it takes me a few minutes to figure out the message. The pictures and presentations are so clever. Maybe a little too clever for me. I’m just not programmed to hear news this way. OK, Dad’s shoes, Mom’s heels, 5-year-old daughter’s sneakers, tiny pair of baby sneakers . . . tiny pair of baby sneakers . . . tiny . . . pair . . OH! 

What happened to just getting drunk and blurting out the news? Sometimes I miss the ’80s.

When my husband and I learned that I was pregnant, we called people and said, “We’re having a baby.”  If we forgot to tell them, they figured it out when they saw me without a wine glass in my hand. And when we got engaged, , here’s what went down: We went to Pizza Hut with our friends Nolan and Karen, went back to my apartment and he looked at me and said, “What would you say if I asked you to marry me?”

“Um, I’d say yes. But are you actually asking me or just wondering? ‘Cause it sounds like you’re just curious.”

It was months before we told anyone. When we did make the announcement, it involved a few phone calls. No puzzle solving or prop buying required.

But again, I like the new, dramatic way to telling news. And I’m trying hard to keep up. A few months ago, we were asked to participate in a friend’s marriage proposal. The idea was this: All of her friends were asked to make a sign that said, SAY YES! and take a picture or a short video of ourselves holding the sign, send it to our friend Kathy and she would give it to the boyfriend and he would make a video compilation of all the friends and their signs. Then the happy couple was going to the beach on vacation. He would leave letters and messages along the beach on their way to a romantic dinner. Each stop would mark a significant date or point in their relationship. Then, upon arrival at the restaurant, he would have a big screen there with the photo-video montage playing with the Bruno Mars song “Marry Me.” At that point, her family would come crawling out of the walls with SAY YES! signs, he would drop to one knee and boom. Proposal accomplished.

Our part was that we had to make a sign and take a picture.

I had a hard time finding a marker that wasn’t closing in on the end of its life. I had to scrounge around in the basement to find an old paint sample board to write SAY YES! on the back. It was kind of drab, so I added a smiling girl with a flip and a conversation bubble. She looked like an 8-year-old with a metabolism problem. But I figured if a little fat girl can’t order you to say yes, who can?  We snapped the photo and sent it to Kathy and waited.

The beach vacation was cancelled last minute, but the video and all the props were already there, so the fiance had to scramble to get everything back and send it all to the Plan B location: Vegas. Bruno Mars was doing a concert there at the time, so he double scrambled to get permission to do the proposal and show the video montage onstage.  I don’t know any details, but according to Facebook, they are now engaged, so apparently all of the effort worked out, regardless of snags.

I don’t know about her, but I was drained just doing my part in this. Finding that marker and poster board was overwhelming. I haven’t seen hide nor hair from the fiance. He must be exhausted. Or gearing up for the wedding aisle flash mob. And a baby announcement? Better start stocking up on sleep and supplies now.

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Read more of Diane’s Just Humor Me columns old and new.  Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter to get new blog post notifications. And if you like her blog, you’ll love her book, Home Sweet Homes: How Bundt Cakes, Bubble Wrap, and My Accent Helped Me Survive Nine Moves.

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