The CES Secret to a Happy Marriage


LAS VEGAS -- Vegas is a karaoke-loving place. Respectable steakhouses turn into grim amateur hours at a moment's notice. One minute you're chewing a decent sirloin, the next some guy is shoulder thrusting his way through Warren G's "Regulate." So I shouldn't have been surprised when my quiet dinner with This American Life's Starlee Kine turned into a besotted karaoke extravaganza. But I was.

It went on and on and on with mostly predictable results, but there was one moment that spread a thin layer of sweetness over the whole proceeding. A large guy in a Baltimore Ravens tracksuit got up and confessed to the audience, "I feel like an old man singing 'My Girl.' But I've been coming to CES for years and years and I already miss my wife." This turned out to be George.

After his sterling rendition of the Motown hit, Starlee and I accosted George to find out the secrets of long-term love. After all, CES seems like the kind of place where people go to destroy marriages not affirm them (in front of a crowd of strangers).

"I'm old fashioned," he said. "I don't want nobody else." Then he told us a very Vegas story that manages to warm the heart about getting dragged to a strip club by some old business associates when he really wanted to be talking to his wife.

I've been coming to CES for so long, and all the guys would always want to go to strip clubs. So, I was on my phone a strip club and there is this girl in front of me on a pole and she's dancing. She says, "You don't like what you see? Put the phone down." Then she says, "Who you talking to?" I say, "My wife." And she goes, "Get the hell out of here." I gave her the phone, and I said, "I'm here for [my coworkers] not for this."

Your mileage may vary when you hand the phone to a stripper while talking to your partner, but the moral of the story may be a good one for CES attendees to consider. As an old friend used to say, "It's never too late to make a good decision." So, you might have been dragged to a strip club in Vegas, but you can always pay more attention to your wife than the show. It worked for George, who decamped soon after finishing his story for the nightly chat with his wife. They've been married for more than 30 years.

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