Good morning, brothers and sisters. Don’t you all look so nice in your Sunday finery! I see Sister Rosenthal picked up some of that charming purple lipstick she noticed on my collar last week. I feel obliged to admit that same purple mark is there this week as well, but it has nothing to do with Sister Rosenthal who, as the credit-card record will doubtless prove, purchased hers this week on my collar’s recommendation. My own shirt remains unlaundered because putting it in the laundry is my own treasured responsibility and last week, as with every week, I rushed home after Church, removed my white shirt, and shoved it in the back of the closet where I would not have to see its blinding whiteness each morning as I stumble through my new coffee-free, white-shirt wearing existence.
Which, by tidy coincidence, brings us to this week’s topic given to me by that most marvelous of men, that giant of spirituality, that titan of tithing-observance, that glutton for goodness, that stallion on . . . of . . . . I say, Brother Marshall, what was it you wrote here? (Laughter.) I would apologize, but even old gags deserve a night on the town now and then.
Which again brings us back to my topic today, fidelity in marriage. I would like to address my comments to the unmarried members of our ward who I suspect may otherwise feel a bit left out, fidelity rhyming, as it does, with gelati, the plural of gelato, being the preferred vice of my fellow teetotalers in the crowd today. That said, I should admit that fidelity in marriage is certainly something Sister Benchley and I have always gotten a real kick out of. In fact, the only reason I’ve never joined the Marines to get away from her is I’ve got semper fidelis enough already, thank you very much, and I understand the Corps does not offer recruits the more interesting flavors of gelato such as cardamom and burnt hazelnut and tuna.
So fidelity in marriage is terrific, just terrific, and something to keep working towards if you feel you must, but for those of you young and old without marriage to fidel to, let me tell you the story of the orangutan. Until modern zoology showed up in Borneo to get their story straight, orangutans were understood by themselves and other not to be red apes at all, but red men with long arms who lived sober, solitary lives in the jungle. Sober, solitary and wise. Wise probably because of the solitude, and solitary no doubt due to the sobriety. Presumably there were orangutan women as well, but such hair would give them enough to talk about that the whole solitude part of the equation might have broken down immediately. In my experience, excepting purple lipstick, nothing excites feminine conversation like bounteous red hair, particularly when it covers the body entire. Which is getting to my primary thesis that if you live in the tops of trees, people are less likely to ask annoying questions of you such as which half of the future baby do you keep in your trousers. Not that arboreal life is for all of us—I’m much too fond of a gin and tonic for that lifestyle (a joke I now see will need to be recalibrated for this particular audience)—but the metaphor remains a certain beauty all the same.
Trees being, of course, God’s favorite metaphor, whether it’s knowledge for Eve or no figs for Jesus or shiny lightbulbs for Lehi to prank his children with, God likes to put his best ideas at the end of a nice limb, if you know what I mean. And this is why fidelity in marriage is exactly what it’s cracked up to be, and so am I.
In conclusion, as long as we have fidelity in marriage we will never have to ask whose purple lipstick that is, and I think we can all agree that leaving that particular question unasked can only be the best for everyone.