Thursday, August 25, 2016

License to...Something

My good friend and loyal Drunkard Riley's Mom is getting married next month. I'm really happy for her, because she and her fiance seem really happy together, and that's a good, good thing.

This good? Not gonna ask, tbh.
Riley's Mom posted on Facebook this morning that she and, uh, Riley's Stepdad got their marriage license yesterday. Which is something I vaguely remember doing 26 years ago. I also vaguely remember that giddy feeling of having GONE THERE, and OMG THIS IS REAL.

Aside: No one said OMG in 1990, because nobody spoke Internet back then. Also, squee was not yet a word. They were harsh, unenlightened times.

We didn't even know what memes were.
But I digress.

So there was some discussion on Facebook about marriage licenses and what people do with them. Some people frame theirs, did you know that? It never occurred to me to frame mine. Some places must have prettier marriage licenses than others. In Milwaukee County (where I got married), marriage licenses have all the aesthetic appeal of a mandatory sexual harassment training course certificate of completion.

Not lying.

The discussion, however, made me realize something.

I've been divorced for two months and 11 days as of this writing. As many of you know. And I owe you guys a post on this strange feeling I've been experiencing over the last couple of weeks. I believe it's called happiness. I may need to let that gel for a few more days.

Anyway, here's what I realized.

When I moved into my apartment last October, I gathered up all my important papers - my birth certificate and Precocious Daughter's, the loan paperwork for my car, the password to my U.S. Savings Bond account, etc. - and placed them in a kind of box/portfolio/case thing. They're all together and safe, because Divorced Chuck is a lot more organized and responsible than Married Chuck ever was.

In that box/portfolio/case thing is my marriage license.

Of course. I was still married last October, technically speaking. Who knows, I might have needed to prove my marital status to...someone. Somewhere. Bottom line, I was married, so a marriage license remained among my vital documents.

Like this.
But now, today, I'm not married. I'm divorced. I have a notarized copy of my divorce decree to prove it.

So where does that leave me vis a vis my marriage license?

What the hell do I do with it?

Keep it as a memento of happier times?

Keep it as a reminder of my abject failure at that whole "til death do us part" thing?

Keep it for PDaughter, who might someday consider it a keepsake from her childhood?


Do I toss it?

Because it's been legally invalidated.

Because what God hath brought together actually has been torn asunder, and for good.

Because I'm no longer married and therefore have no need of the document that proved I was, at one time, married.

Do I decoupage it onto a TV tray?

Do I place it at the bottom of my Siamese kitten's litter box?

Do I simply hang on to it, because that small piece of paper defined me for 25 years, more than half my life, and so it's kind of important?

I don't know. At all.

Advice, Drunkards?

Keep, toss, use as art supplies?

Ideas are welcome.

Thanks in advance.


  1. I have an ex from before The Hubster, and I had that marriage certificate as well as the divorce decree. I have them both boxed up, as I've found the DD was needed when The Hubster and I bought our house together. Can't recall why, but it was needed.

  2. I'm a hoarder and I'd be terrified that I would need it at some point. I'd say hang onto it. If you feel the need to be crafty, make a photocopy then turn it into an origami Titanic.

  3. I like the idea of using it as art supplies. Make a collage of of happy memories from your marriage with the certificate as the background.

    Then burn it.

    That last suggestion depends on the degree of smoldering resentment you might still feel toward your ex.

  4. I fully intend to have a bonfire w/all of my divorce & custody-wars paperwork when the weather cools off...
    Yeah s'mores! What vintage to match w/that, a nice Pinot maybe??

  5. Burn it, and count yourself lucky that you have something so inconsequential to dither about. I've been helping friends in Baton Rouge this week gut their flooded house. When you've put all your material possessions on a curb for trash pickup (these same friends helped us do the same thing to our New Orleans home after Katrina) you look at your family and friends and realize you've got the only things you need. Hug PDaughter, Drummer Boy and the kitten, and let the rest go.

    1. Incredibly wise words, thanks. I hope your friends, and everyone in LA suffering from the floods, come through this OK.


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