Bill and I went to a wedding out of town last weekend. One of his oldest high school friends was getting married. The drive over gave us plenty of time to talk. After we’d hashed out our finances and discussed the boys, it was time to prepare ourselves for the inevitable small talk that would come up.
For my benefit, we went over all his friends’ wives names, where they lived and worked, the approximate number of children they had, and any exciting life events that had transpired since we’d last seen them. I was ready to converse with anyone who came my way.
Then Bill turned the conversation in an unexpected direction.
“I haven’t heard anything about Madonna lately,” Bill said. “What’s she up to? Does she have any kids?”
I had to laugh. Bill is aware that we have troops in Iraq, and he can name the President. Otherwise, if you aren’t in Bicycling or Triathlon magazines and don’t play football, baseball or golf, he’s not likely to have heard of you.
Fortunately, I was able to help him out.
“Actually, she has a new album out, is about to start a tour, and she has two kids, a girl who’s Finn’s age and a boy named Rocco,” I said.
“Rocco? What the hell kind of name is that?” he asked.
“That’s the thing now,” I told him. “Celebrities give their babies crazy names like ‘Apple.’ Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes just had a baby and named her ‘Suri’ and they said that it means ‘princess’ in Hebrew, but the Israelis said it didn’t. The Japanese came along and said that in their language, ‘Suri’ means ‘pickpocket.'”
Bill shook his head. “Well, I’ll be damned,” he said.
A few miles later, he spoke up again.
“Remember that girl who was married to Brad Pitt?”
I started giggling while he struggled to recall her name.
“You know, she was on a show with a lot of other people, and they drank lots of coffee?” He started snapping his fingers, trying to come up with her name.
I put him out of his misery. “Jennifer Aniston,” I supplied helpfully.
“Yeah! That’s it. What’s she been doing?”
“She’s trying to hit it big in movies, and she’s dating the taller wedding crasher, ” I said.
“That movie was hilarious,” Bill said thoughtfully. “Now, what about Brad Pitt? Did I see that he got himself a new woman?”
I stared at him. He was serious.
Bill doesn’t lead a sheltered life. He goes to the grocery store at least once a week, where Star and The National Enquirer and People are prominently displayed. He spends time in our bedroom, where my Us Weekly often sits on the bedside table until I’ve finished it. Sometimes he walks in the kitchen while I’m cooking dinner and watching Access Hollywood.
I decided to see how much he’d inadvertently soaked up about Brad and Angelina, considering that they have probably been on four billion magazine covers in the last year. Surely the Brangelina phenomenon has been absorbed by even those people who don’t go out of their way to keep up with such things.
“Yes, he has a new woman,” I said.
“Who?” he asked.
“I’ll let you guess,” I said. “I’ll give you a hint: they’ve been all over the news, the papers and every form of media over the last twelve months. Think hard. I know you can figure it out.”
“Do I know her name?” Bill asked me.
“Unless you’re a moron,” I replied.
He drove some more, furrowing his brow.
“I got it!” he yelled after a couple of minutes.
“Give it to me,” I said skeptically.
“It’s that witchy girl with the tattoos who wore the blood around her neck and she did it in the limo with the guy from Sling Blade,” he said triumphantly.
“I’ll give you credit for that answer,” I said, “but honey, you should know that her name is Angelina Jolie.”
Unfortunately, I forgot to tell him that Brad and Angelina are expecting a baby. He learned that juicy bit of information at the reception. He was even more interested to hear that she is apparently having her baby in Africa.
“Does she have any idea what the toilets are like over there?” he asked me. “I can’t imagine having a baby under those conditions.”
“I think she’s got it under control, honey, but it’s sweet of you to care,” I told him.
That man never ceases to amaze me.