Column: Marriage and monkey heads on the seas

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12/08/2011 5:00 AM |

Holy mackerel, I’ve got a daughter-in-law!

Which means, of course, that I’ve got a married son!

How did this happen?

OK, I know how it happened. The week before Thanksgiving the happy couple exchanged vows before a minister by the turquoise waters of the Caribbean on a tranquil beach in Cozumel, Mexico. (Somehow it sounds classier to pronounce that “Meh-hee-koh” when telling the tale, the resulting shaking of heads and rolling of eyes notwithstanding.)

As the father of two, I could say, “one down, one to go,” but, alas, me daughter’s boyfriend is currently at the South Pole — no, not South Pole, New Jersey. THE South Pole — where, as a Ph.D. student in astrophysics, he’s conducting research on something that makes me English major head spin. And I thought 19th century romantic poetry was hard to fathom. My daughter being a Ph.D. student herself, in biology, specifically evolution and ecology, marriage isn’t discussed, nor have I summoned the courage to ask, “Is he the one?”

Well, not with him at the South Pole he isn’t, for now anyway.

English lit was also not an educational priority for my firstborn or his new bride. Both work on Wall Street — relax, they’re most definitely part of the 99 percent, unfortunately for me and the Mrs. — so whenever I toss out a random “Full fathom five thy father lies; of his bones are coral made” or “It is an ancient mariner and he stoppeth one of three. By thy long grey beard and glittering eye, now wherefore stopp’st thou me?” I get the same look then as when I say “Meh-hee-koh.”

The kids must get their math and science smarts from their Mom. Me? I’m not allowed to touch the checkbook, not the result of any wild college freshman-type spending sprees, just the continuing creation of a jumble of numbers a team of MIT whiz kids couldn’t decode. Thank heaven for Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Uh, and the Mrs., of course. She was one of those annoying high school kids who got straight A’s in math. I mean, annoying back then, you understand. To some people.

So how did I get a daughter-in-law? I discovered on the cruise during which the wedding took place that the two had been set up and both invited to a party by folk who thought they’d be a good match. That was a good bet, given that only two years later, Lindsay Marie Lessard of Laurel and Ryan Patrick Kelly of Cutchogue tied the knot. They barely knew each other in high school. As did he, we’ve discovered that she’s smart, funny, down to earth and beautiful. We couldn’t be happier. Her folks, Diane and George, are great people, too, and we all get along quite well.

Which was a good thing, given that the wedding celebration, dominated by a sizable gathering of 20-somethings, continued during the week-long cruise through the western Caribbean. Had there been any animosity, no ship would have been big enough.

This was our first cruise, and so an eye-opener, especially when the bill arrived for all the on-board expenses, such as tropical drinks served in coconuts carved into the shape of a monkey’s head at $15 a pop. Ever see “Home Alone 2,” when the Plaza Hotel porter unfolds the many-paged room service bill? OK, so I did spend like a college freshman with his first credit card while aboard the Carnival Glory. But, hey, it was our son’s wedding, after all. And it’s not like we had to fly to the South Pole or something. ’Twas big fun, fersure. I mean, how often do you get to sit in the hot tub on the Lido Deck drinking a “chocolate getaway” (minus the coconut monkey) while watching “Kung Fu Panda II” on the big screen?

All while steaming across the wine-dark sea. “Oh, ye who have your eyeballs vexed and tired, feast them upon the wideness of the sea.”

What? No, it’s from John Keats’ “On the Sea.” It’s a poem, you know, made of words and stuff? Like “Barnacle Bill the Sailor”? Uh, not quite. What do you mean I’ve had too many monkey heads? Oh, right.

Look, someday you’ll want us to babysit your kids, so be nice to the old folk. How sharper than a serpent’s tooth is it to have a thankless child!

That’s Shakespeare. No, not shakes beer. Oh, yeah, funny. Real funny.

Tim Kelly is the editor of The Suffolk Times. He can be reached at tkelly@timesreview.com or 631-298-3200, ext. 238.