“Wait, the wedding’s in Cincinnati!” I said.
“The Cincinnati airport is in Kentucky,” my wife Kara replied, shattering the foundations of everything I thought I knew about Cincinnati, namely that it is in Ohio, somewhere between Pittsburgh and Denver.
Snobs sometimes refer to this region as Flyover Country, but the last time I was in Ohio, back when I was a poor student at Penn State making my way west for the summer, Drivethrough Country was a much more accurate term, handily describing both my mode of travel and my culinary proclivities.
Cincinnati was a source of mild annoyance for me through much of my childhood, since that city dressed up its professional baseball players to impersonate my favorite team.
“Hey, the Phillies are on!” I’d yell, flipping through the channels.
“Wait, never mind,” I’d say, noticing that the fans weren’t booing.
Beyond hosting the parallel-universe version of my baseball team, though, Cincinnati hadn’t really entered into my consciousness since the days of WKRP. On the plane, as I thought about that show, I realized that the men of the world can be divided into young and old by whether or not they have, at any point in their lives, thought that Loni Anderson was hot.
“Who?” Kara asked as I explained my theory.
“From ‘WKRP in Cincinnati,’” I said.
“What’s that?” she said.
“Exactly,” I replied. Sometimes, the three years between us are a chasm that cannot be crossed, especially when it comes to old sitcom references. Don’t even get me started on her lack of “What’s Happening!!” awareness. You might as well be saying, “Hey, hey, hey,” into the wind.
When we landed in Kentucky, I was most excited to see if their local fried chicken restaurants were abbreviated as just “FC.” But Cincinnati was only a short drive away, so I didn’t get a chance to find out, though I did have the opportunity to grab a local toast-topping delicacy in the airport. It was a big disappointment, though. Like Australians and their vegemite, I think I'll leave Kentuckians with their KY Jelly. That stuff just can't compete with Smucker's.
As it turned out, we found Cincinnati to be a beautiful city with friendly people, interesting architecture, picturesque bridges and even a few hills. It was a perfect setting for Kara’s cousin Shawn to get married, and for all the young couples in the family to get grilled on their future plans, which might not be what a wedding is really all about, but it certainly is a popular pastime.
If you have a significant other, are you getting married? If you’re married, are you having kids? If you have kids, are you having more? If you had a vasectomy, are you getting a dog?
“I have a scientific theory that explains how our species survives,” my cousin-in-law Roscoe said as we passed the ravioli around the table at the rehearsal dinner, after the topic of babies came up.
“You store long-term memories when you sleep,” he continued, “So after you have a baby, a year or two later, you forget all the bad stuff that happened because you didn’t sleep for more than three hours the whole time. That’s when you decide to have another kid.”
Roscoe’s Unified Theory of the Propagation of Humankind may not have been published anywhere yet, but it easily passed the peer review at our table.
In any event, I’d like to dedicate this week’s column to Shawn, Amy and a lifetime of happiness together. And also to my spellchecker. I still have no idea how to spell Cincinnati.
You can assure Mike Todd that you’ve at least heard of Burt Reynolds at email@example.com.