Let’s Make a Deal

This column appeared in the October 5, 2014 edition of The St. Augustine Record.  I’m reprinting it here for those who are unable to access it on the paper’s site.  I apologize for the inconvenience, and, as always, thanks for reading!

 

I turned down a marriage proposal last week. Some of the people in my life think it a foolish choice. It was, after all, the first proposal I’d received in over two decades.

I was in Atlanta staying with a friend from my old neighborhood, a nice country club community in the suburbs that is home to several Atlanta-based rappers. I was out for a walk one morning when a very expensive Mercedes-Benz passed me. Its driver waved, and I waved back.

The car stopped. The driver’s window rolled down, and a man stuck his head out. He yelled something, but I couldn’t hear what he was saying.

I pulled my ear buds out of my ears. “What?”

“ARE YOU MARRIED?”

“Yes. I’m sorry.”

He smiled, shrugged and said, “I would have married you myself.” Then he rolled up his window and drove away.

When I told my kids the story, their responses were not what I expected. I described the young man, and they told me that he is a famous rapper. Then they chided me for squandering a chance to be the next Atlanta “Housewife.”

“Why did you lie to him?” my son even asked. “I heard he’s a nice guy.”

“I’m sure he is, but I don’t want to move back to Atlanta,” I shot back. But that wasn’t the real reason I turned him down.

Although I can’t say his rapper name with a straight face, the greater problem is the fact that this man is in his 20s. I know there are happily married couples with bigger age differences, but I think that being born 20 years apart means we come from different worlds. What could we possibly have in common?

Certainly not music. I can’t understand most rap lyrics. “Bam bam, jam jam, so tan can do a handstand” makes no sense to me. But I knew what the Oak Ridge Boys meant when they sang “Giddy Up, Oom Poppa Oom Poppa Mow Mow/High-ho Silver, away.”

Rappers are a little too ostentatious for my taste. Yes, Elvis had his Jungle Room, but he never had a giant picture of himself painted on the side of his tour bus.

Today’s rappers are fond of collaborations, which is a big word for “duets.” These duets will never match the greatness of Julio and Willie’s “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before” or even Johnny Carson’s spoof of that duet. Carson. Now, that was great television.

Today, we have reality television. The rapper is part of a reality show called “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta.” If reality television is people dressing in ridiculous costumes and doing bizarre things for money, I suppose “The Price is Right” and “Let’s Make a Deal” were my generation’s versions of it. But those shows just seemed better.

I’ll admit things might not have changed as much as I think they have. Still, what would I have to talk about with a man who wasn’t even born when Elvis died?

Although my sentimentality about the past could mean I’m throwing away my future, I can’t marry the rapper. I’d rather hold out for what Carol Merrill has behind door number three, Monty. I hope it’s not a canned ham and a ferret.

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