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Guest Column: Celebrating Humour in a 40-Year Marriage


Tracy Morey, former CBC radio producer and resident of Ottawa (Ont., Canada), shares how laughter plays a role in her long marriage.

My husband says our marital union has endured because of "laughs and lethargy." Maybe we were lethargic because we spent all out time trying to be funny, and Philip is the best at it.

The jokes are getting harsher in elderhood, but I still like the spirit.

"Trace I want you, I need you, I love you . . . I just don't want to have to do anything about it."

"You know, you really are a trophy wife . . . or is that atrophy?"

Playing it positive

The good lines started in the early 70s, when we were dating. Since it wasn't much of a topic then, I asked Philip how he felt about homosexuality. "Well," he pontificated, "I believe in polymorphous sexuality. People should make love to the trees if they want to."

Another factor linked us. I was a fervent nationalist and he was the only Canadian I'd ever met who knitted a rope hammock with hockey sticks.

When I met him, he drove a red pick-up truck (I think it was a small town thing). Then we got married and started a family. He put it this way: "My life has changed a lot in the last few years. I sold my truck . . . got married . . . had a baby . . . and boy, do I miss that truck."

A determinedly positive attitude supports most of his wit (at his retirement party, one colleague said: "I never heard him say a negative thing about anybody.") Philip's take on road rage is to say: "That guy who just cut us off? He got a call from the hospital. His mother's in emergency and he's got to get there right away."

Parental spoofs

Our children called us "hippie parents." One of their father's just for laughs illustrations of this was: "There are three rules in this house. First, no wet towels on the bathroom floor, second, no dancing on the dining room table, and . . . I forget the third rule."

Rather than chastising our children, he dealt with their dangerous behaviour by saying things like: "You know there's a whole wing at the Civic Hospital for kids who skate-board backwards." Later, it became a whole wing at the Civic for kids who dabbled in street drugs. On that issue, Philip's advice was: "You know there's a little pharmacist in your head . . . he'll take care of your needs if you let him."

His advice to new parents: "Look, the child is 80 per cent made when he or she is born. You've only got a 20 per cent window of opportunity, so don't sweat too much."

Philip's children liked lines like, "If you're ever blue and down in the dumps . . . pick me up a fender for a Ford." He also wanted to write a self-help book called "Less Misérables." His advice to the guys about oil fracking: "It'll bit u men."

Grand finale

Questionable humour is in the category of "anything for a laugh." That would include the following, an obituary that Philip has written for me. Poor taste maybe, but I like it!

"Tracy Morey died at home with her family after a courageous battle with dessert."

Editor's note: This column first appeared in the May/June 2015 issue of AHB.