Non, Je Ne Gret Rien (Nor Am I Planning to Gret Again)

Let me just say this straight out: Yes, it is exhausting to be a professional Know-It-All. From the moment I wake, people are always seeking my advice, asking me complicated, intricate questions like “What time is it, anyway?” and “Seriously, 3:15 a.m.?” and “Why the fuck don’t you ever sleep?

And it only gets worse as the day goes on, with inquiries ranging from the mathematical (“Why would you put two water bottles in my lunch, but no sandwich?”) to the philosophical (“Mother of God, are your eyes full of blood?”).

Thus, I wasn’t the least bit surprised when my new sister-in-law (whom I’ll call “Budith,” to protect her privacy) (and because it’s a really fun word to say!) (No really, say it: Budith! Budith!) (Like a tiny, adorable little religion!–


Where was I?

(<–Inside this?

Or no, maybe outside this–>) ?

(Fuck it. Let’s start over.)

Thus, I wasn’t the least bit surprised when my new sister-in-law, “Budith,” who is months away from her own second marriage, asked me last week for some important wedding advice. Specifically, she wanted to know whether there was anything about my wedding to her brother, um, “Back,” that I regret.

Now as an expert, professional Know-It-All, it’s my job to figure out when to take a question seriously (hint: no swears or exclamation marks). Clearly, this was a serious question that deserved some serious pondering before I could even attempt to answer it. So I sat myself down at my Know-It-All desk and pondered about it, really hard.

Really, really hard.

Then I closed my eyes, for just a second, because, as every professional Know-It-All knows, closing your eyes helps with your,


thinking stuff.

And also your pondering stuff, as well.

So I closed my eyes and pondered really hard, and when I woke up finished, I poured myself a cup of coffee, drank it, and suddenly knew, with certainty, two very important things: 1) that there wasn’t a single detail about my wedding to “Back” that I regret, because I never gretted anything about it in the first place, and 2) oh my God, you guys, you have to try adding vanilla syrup to your coffee, because it’s an uhMazing burst of flavorosity that allows you to just drink, like, twice the amount of coffee you would have had drunk drinken dranken before!

But then I thought: Heather, please! (and not just because I am naturally polite, but because every professional Know-It-All knows that you must treat others as you would treat yourself, and that goes double for when the others are you): you can’t tell Ju–, you mean, “Budith,” that you wouldn’t change a thing, because she’ll think you’re not taking her question seriously enough!

But then, what am I gonna do? I asked myself, and my reply didn’t surprise me, because both of us are professional Know-It-Alls (though one of us is obviously better at our work, since she wasn’t all “Oh boo-hoo, help me, what am I gonna do?”).

The answer was obvious: Make something up.

And then I laughed at myself, because clearly I was kidding. Professional Know-It-Alls can go to jail for that shit.

No, I knew that what I really meant was that it was time for what is, besides Shark Repellent, the most important tool available on a professional Know-It-All’s utility belt: Comparison/Contrast.

Because while there wasn’t anything I could think of about my second wedding that I would go back and change if I could, there were at least a shmajillion things about my first that I would have altered even as they were taking place! Thus, it struck me that I might be able to arrive at a regret about my second wedding by reviewing the many things I have gretted and regretted about the first, for years!

I started by breaking them down into categories, because as every professional Know-It-All knows, bold print helps you to stay awake organize your thoughts. So, without further ado (but with plenty of “I do!”), here is the list I came up with.

The list with which I came up.


Here is the list. Of stuff.

  1. Stupid Stuff. At my second wedding, we didn’t really have a wedding party, so we never told anyone what to wear. At my first, however, we made people wear tuxes. For an afternoon wedding! With a reception on a llama farm! On the Fourth of July! In Wisconsin, during tornado season! Which is, if you think about it, a terrible spice!
  2. Really Stupid Stuff. While we had rabbis officiating at both ceremonies, my first wedding was actually a half-Jewish/half-Quaker ceremony, even though one of us was neither of these things! Thus, while my second wedding ceremony took about 25 minutes, my first went on for twelve years in 100-degree heat in an un-airconditioned synagogue full of people who wanted to talk during the Quaker time while they sweated through their tuxes!
  3. Really, Really Stupid Stuff. At my second wedding, we didn’t even have a guest book, but at the first, we thought it would be a great idea to have everyone attending sign our kettubah! And, because we wanted to have the fanciest Jaker (Quewish?) kettubah of all, we put out an actual ink bottle with an actual quill pen, so people could sign it in an extra fancy way, just before joining the reception line! And even though the first reception line was luckily canceled by the tornado siren that went off just as we were forming it, who here can guess what got all over my actual wedding dress when the all-clear was sounded and we came up from the basement and everyone signed and lined up to hug us again? Just guess, just go ahead, just guessitty guess!
  4. Hang on. Hafta pee.
  5. And also get more coffee.
  6. Okay, I’m back! I’m back backetty BACK!
  7. Stupendously Stupid Stuff. Whereas, at my second wedding, the caterers served appetizers and drinks before the ceremony even started, so that guests wouldn’t get all cranky and anxious as the vows were going down, at my first wedding, you had to wait out three tornado evacuations before driving for twenty-five minutes from the synagogue to the llama farm, and even though the caterers had gone ahead and set out not only the appetizers, but the main course and the dessert all at the same time, at least an hour before everyone arrived, in 100-degree heat, they put all the food away about ten minutes after everyone was seated, and hid the champagne because they wanted to go home because did I mention that it was the Fourth of July? Which is a monumentally—hang on, let’s jump down a ‘graph!
  8. Monumentally Stupid Stuff. –which is a monumentally stupid day on which to get married, because just go ahead and try to go out to a restaurant and have a romantic celebration of your anniversary, I dare you, just try, especially if you mark the first one by having your water break (and then go to the hospital, where they evacuate everyone except for the laboring moms-to-be, because, did I mention, tornado season? And oh no, I’m inside another parentheses and now I don’t know how to get

) out!



Okay. Okay! That was scary, but we’re all right now. Let’s have another little cup of coffee and carry on, shall we?

  1. Fuck.
  2. Which One of You Dranken All the Coffee Up?
  3. Which One of You Dranken Up All the Coffee?
  4. As a PROFESSIONAL Know-It-ALL, I Guarangoddamntee That I Will Pretty Soon Figure it Out, So You Might as Well Go Ahead and Confess Now, and Save Us the Trouble (Not to Mention the Heartache of What is Pretty Clearly Going Oh My GOD I Forgot to Close That Last Parenthesis and Now We’ll Never Get Back to My, Um, Threat-thingie, Whatever it

was goooo—oh-oh-oh-ing toooo–ooh


Oh, hello there! You’re still here. I was worried you might have left while I was threatening pondering with my eyes closed. Aaaanyway, where were we?

Oh, right: regrets.

Look, as a professional Know-It-All, I could go on for years about the many things that were wrong about that first wedding, but I think we’ve all overlooked a very important reason as to why I should not: I’m too fucking tired I’m not getting paid.

But I think even an amateur Know-It-All could have probably figured out, thanks to the skillful application of Comparison/Contrast, the greatest gret I do have about my first wedding (one that I have gretted and gretted, again and again, for years): the date.

No? You thought I was going to say the groom?


Clearly, you’ve forgotten that this advice was specifically intended for Budith!

Who, and I’m just guessing here, probably doesn’t really want to marry her brother, “Back.”

Nope: my one big gret about my first wedding is that, instead of getting married on July 4th, 1994, we should have gotten married, um, never (provided, of course, that we still managed to have each and every one of our eleventy kids, and that each turned out exactly as they are now, despite the fact that some of them would be freakishly tall and/or inexplicably un-blue-eyed, given their parentage).

Because oddly enough, the only real gret I can come up with about my second wedding is also the date: instead of getting married on September 29th, 2013, we should have gotten married earlier.

Much earlier.

By, say, maybe twenty or twenty-five years.

(That’s it. I’m not taking any more questions at this time.)(Not even about the Shark Repellent.){Or about how Budith is supposed to make use of this advice. And oh my God what fresh hell of a punctuation is this ->[<-, and how will I ever, ever get

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