George, c’mon, seriously?!? You just said all that gushy, romantic shit on TV? At an awards ceremony no less? Dude, what the fuck, did you not read the handbook they gave you when you got married? C’mon, it’s the handbook… THE HANDBOOK… and you were supposed to read it! But obviously you didn’t. Or maybe you just skimmed through it like some kind of savant and thought “whatevs, I got this, I’m George Fucking Clooney.” But you should have read it… especially the part about not showing up all your fellow men in front of other women… especially millions of other women!
The morning after the Golden Globes my family and I were sitting around with the TV on and all the stations were recapping the highlights of the previous evening’s festivities. I didn’t watch the awards, it doesn’t really interest me. Maybe the rest of the family watched some of it, I don’t really know. But the highlight among highlights was apparently when George Clooney got up on stage to accept a Lifetime Achievement Award and after thanking a bunch of people he (more or less) said this:
“So congratulations to all of you for having a very good year. I’ve had a pretty good year myself. Listen, it’s a humbling thing when you find someone to love. Even better if you’ve been waiting your whole life and when your whole life is 53 years. Amal, whatever alchemy it is that brought us together I couldn’t be more proud to be your husband.”
Upon seeing a short recap of this part of the speech that morning, my 14 year old son turned to me and jokingly asked “Dad, how come you never do that for Mom?”
I smiled and listened closely for the inevitable chortle from my wife.
“Do what?” I answered.
“Give a romantic speech like that” he said, egging me on.
I thought for a minute and then replied with the best I could come up with. “Well, I guess because no one has ever thought I deserved to receive a really prestigious award like that.”
“That’s because you don’t” chimed in my 17 year old daughter with a smart-ass smirk on her face.
Wow, tough crowd!
Look, I can dress up nice and “product” up my hair and stand around and look handsome with the best of them. But I’ll admit, I’ve never been that great in the “romance department”. Apparently a lot of guys aren’t if you take a long stroll through the ROMANCE section at the local Barnes and Noble.
But what really is romance? Is it what you see on the screen at a movie theatre? Is it what you read in a $6.99 paperback you found in the book section of a Wal-Mart? Is it pouring your heart out at a gala event of overpriced celebrities while our materialistic, gossip driven world watches in awe?
Perhaps on rare occasion it’s those things.
Or is it climbing onto the whirling carnival ride of life with someone you love and frantically pulling down the security bar… a ride that starts slow but before you know it is moving and spinning and you’re hanging on for dear life through weeks and months and years of changing shitty diapers, not sleeping, driving to a million of your kid’s sporting events, lifting them up when they’re down and guiding them to places you’d always felt you should have gone, celebrating victories and mourning losses, working endless hours to pay endless bills, watching family and friends battle illness and tragedies and everything else the world wants to fast-pitch, 90 miles per hour at you on a daily basis… only to be the happiest two people on earth when you’re given ten minutes at the end of the day to share a glass of wine and talk about anything other than the carnival ride that’s just stopped for a short moment to let a few people off and welcome a few new people on.
“Three tickets please.”
No author or screen-writer is making a living off of that story. Maybe no one is even writing that story. But maybe that’s what romance really is.
Had I actually been watching the Golden Globes, when those words poured out of Clooney’s mouth like an oversize serving of mushy cream-of-wheat being scooped from a cast iron cauldron into a cereal bowl, I imagine I would have heard the collective swooning sighs of millions of breathless women and the sounds of flapping pages as all of the Nicholas Sparks books sitting on shelves lifted off in unison and began flying around houses like doves at a royal wedding.
That’s a tough act to follow.
But it’s fiction. He’s a celebrity. He’s not real life.
I have nothing against George Clooney. I like him as an actor. He’s probably a great guy and he gave a speech that evening that was honest and moving and inspirational. He’s certainly one of the most handsome celebrities around right now. MAN is he fucking handsome! He seems compassionate and whether you agree with his politics or not, he actively uses his fame and wealth in many philanthropic ways and I respect that.
He and his new wife have probably just climbed onto their own version of the whirling carnival ride.
The toothless “carnie” is standing in the control booth with a pocket full of tickets, ready to push the start button.
George, you need to read the damn handbook…