This week is my 10th anniversary, or my 10-year warranty is about to expire, depending on your point of view. I’ve experienced the normal wear and tear (I’m grayer and fatter) but still functioning. My wife, unfortunately, has a front-row seat to the kind of nonsense that you readers only experience once a week.

For example, she told me the other day she was going to fix some key lime cookies to put in the Tupperware containers our neighbors had sent over with food last week while she was sick. She told me a lesson she learned long ago was never to send a container back empty. I asked if that included bedpans. She replied, “What the BLEEP is wrong with you?”

These types of conversations are fairly common in our household. So, you can empathize with her that she’s earned some type of reward for sticking it out.

We were going to celebrate with a trip to some beachy kind of destination outside the U.S. But then COVID had a resurgence and restrictions in places with beaches and rum-focused beverages became a little unsettling. So, we decided to postpone that idea until next year. (Which actually worked out, because if you read last week’s letter, my wife got COVID. She’s better now.)

According to the Nuptial Industrial Complex, the proper gift for the 10th anniversary is tin or aluminum. That’s the “traditional” gift. Now there’s a modern gift chart as well. The modern chart says that the 10th anniversary is diamonds. This made me suspicious, so I put the traditional and modern charts side by side.

What I discovered is that the modern chart is completely derived from the concept of “expensive upgrades.” It’s not just going from aluminum to diamonds. Consider year 13. The traditional gift is linen. Modern is fur. (They didn’t specify whether it’s supposed to be real or fake fur. Just one more thing for a guy to get wrong.)

Year 5 is wood on the traditional chart, but silverware on the modern one. Year 12, it’s home décor for you traditionalists in the US, but pearls if you’re following the modern chart. So, as you can see, most retailers have a vested interest in getting you to slide over to the modern chart, especially if they work on commission.

I should note that in years 16 – 19, the charts converge. I guess the people who made the modern list got lazy, or they didn’t think modern marriages would make it that far. Then in year 20, they inserted platinum instead of the traditional china.

Year twenty-four is my favorite on the modern chart: musical instruments. I can’t believe I have to wait 14 years for that! I can’t decide if I should ask for a guitar or a triangle. I wonder what kind of instrument she will want. And if I will be able to hear it over the guitar.

Carry on, Citizens!