"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their consciences." ~ C.S. Lewis
The Governor Is a Harsh Mistress
So get this: I'm getting married in August. It's true. In fact, I've been planning the wedding for more than a year; I just never thought to write about it before. So why am I writing about it now? Well, because it's occurred to me I'm marrying not one but two -- yes, two -- people. The first is someone I've known and loved for almost six years. She's nice. I think you'd like her. The second, however, is someone I don't know, someone I don't love, and someone who won't even be at the wedding. His name is Jim McGreevey. He's my governor.
Twisted? Well, yeah, it's twisted, but that's the way it goes. In order to make my soon-to-be wife my actual wife, I've got to fork over 28 bucks to the government. This is so we can purchase a marriage license. Yes, like driving and hunting, marriage isn't a "right" -- like gay activists say -- but a privilege passed out by bureaucrats. So the way I figure, since my marriage will require the State of New Jersey's consent as much as my fianc'e's, the governor -- on behalf of our government -- must be part of the equation. Indeed, for her heart and mine to beat as one, Jim McGreevey will be like legal glue.
This presents me with at least three problems.
First, I'm not down with polygamy. I understand some folks are, and that's their right, but it's just a little too MTV for me. I like a nice, quaint, "Honey, I'm home" lifestyle. I can't imagine I'll have that with Third Wheel McGreevey over here. Every day will feel like a bad Stephen Baldwin picture. I've always wanted a marriage of the husband-and-wife variety. I'm not sure I could handle husband-and-wife-and-governor. Not at this point in my life, at least. It's a big responsibility. All those press briefings. All that political rhetoric at breakfast. You think crying over spilled milk is bad now, wait till it's a federal issue. "No, no, put the mop down," McGreevey will say. "I'm bringing in the National Guard. Let's leave this spilled milk business to professionals."
Second, as if thinking for two isn't tough enough, now I've got to think for three. Three cups of coffee in the morning. Three embroidered bathrobes. Three pairs of fuzzy bunny slippers. Do you realize how much money Jim McGreevey's going to cost me? My fianc'e and I were hoping to go out and get a cat after the wedding. Maybe a dog, someday. Maybe even a kid. How am I supposed to afford these things when I've got Jim McGreevey's big mouth to feed? I'm out there busting my butt all day trying to make a living. Why can't the governor get a job like the rest of us? A real job, I mean. None of this public servant stuff. If you're such a public servant, Jimmy, turn off the TV, put down the pork rinds, and serve a purpose already. Get your feet off the table. Would it kill you to get out of the house more?
My third and final problem is I don't like Jim McGreevey. I mean I just don't like him. I didn't vote for the guy. I don't need him leaving the toilet seat up any more than I need him taxing me for my own good. How am I supposed to get stuff done with the governor watching me all day? "JDM, stop stealing cable." "JDM, don't bury that body in the backyard without a permit." I'm kidding, of course. I would never steal cable. But I think you get the point. Living with Jim McGreevey is going to be a lot like driving when my mom's in the car. All of a sudden I've got to stop at stop signs and follow all those other dumb laws that otherwise wouldn't apply to me. Who needs it!
In all fairness, though, marrying the governor wouldn't be without its merits. On the one hand (i.e., my fianc'e's), for example, there's a great big diamond ring. This thing cost me a fortune. Now, that's not to say it wasn't worth every penny. It absolutely was. But, by point of comparison, the governor's $28 licensing fee looks like a real bargain, doesn't it? Advantage: Jim McGreevey.
But I'm going to stop now before I get in trouble.
Anyway, I suppose the point I'm trying to make here is I really don't want Jim McGreevey joining us in holy matrimony. To make matters worse, since it looks like we'll end up moving to Pennsylvania to take advantage of their lower property taxes, my bride and I will probably just end up swapping the Garden State's McGreevey for the Keystone State's Ed Rendell. He's a bit more down-to-earth than McGreevey, I guess, and from what I hear he's got good manners. But do I really need him reading over my shoulder or putting empty orange juice cartons back in the fridge? No. The answer is no.
But it's an inescapable problem, I'm afraid. No matter where I go, my wife and I will be unable to avoid this State-mandated m'nage ' trois. Someone will always be leeching off our incomes and stealing food off our table. If someone's going to do that, it might as well be our kids. But if McGreevey's going to do it while claiming to perform important services, I'd at least like him to perform services I could use. Like landscaping. If Jim McGreevey moves in and promises to mow my lawn and trim my hedges, he can sleep on the couch for all I care. Hell, if he waxes my car, washes my clothes, does the dishes, vacuums, and dusts, he can have the spare bedroom. I'll even give him his own slot on the toothbrush rack if he refills my drinks and answers to the sound of a bell. Failing that, however, I haven't much use for him.