Special guest star, Marvin Gardens

In September 1985, I was starting my second year at Michigan State University. It was the very first week and classes hadn’t even begun yet. They had this very stupid thing called Welcome Week.

Welcome Week. Pfft. Shut up. Why did we need that, anyway? Let us continue our jobs or our summer romances till classes start. Geez.

Anyway, it was Welcome Week [pfft], and my previous-year roommate asked if I wanted to go off campus to a house rented by a bunch of guys we knew. Or more accurately, by their parents.

“Sure!” I said, and remember when you could just go do things?

(We’ll take a moment now to ignore that June has no kids and a six-minute commute. We’ll ignore how June nods knowingly with people who have three kids, a 55-minute commute and bosses who text them at 10:30 p.m.)

So, back then, when I was devil-may-care and not tied down to these toddlers and demanding husband, I went to the soon-to-be-unsanitary rental house of five untidy boys.

And that is the day I met Marvin Gardens.

I’m Marvin. I brood. I’m one of a line of broody men June will love.

I tell you all this, most of it unnecessarily, to get to the point that I eventually married Marvin Gardens.

First, he had to not like me back all fall and winter terms.

Then, he had to finally like me at the end of spring term, after I’d gotten a tanning-booth tan and had grown out my perm and you can’t blame him because I was smokin’.

Then, we had to date for three terrible months, most of it long distance because he was back home for the summer. I had to be smit-smit-smitten and he had to be sort of, eh. I think he was dating other girls while I was 50 miles away with a grown-out perm and an enlarged heart.

Then, he had to go away to Boston to college there, to get a useful music degree.

Then, we had to stay in touch after that, talking once or twice a year.

Marvin, Seattle, 1996

Then, in 1996, I had to invite him to Seattle, where I lived. He lived in Los Angeles.

Then, after just one weekend (and 11 years), he fell in love back and yay.

Then, I had to move to Los Angeles.

Then, he had to propose.

Then, in 1998, we got married. And that is what I mean by “eventually married.”

Marvin and me in the early 2000s. This is a rare shot of Marvin being drunk, a thing he never is, but it was my father’s birthday and everyone got drunk. Even Marvin.

In the early 2000s, after we’d eventually gotten married (see above), Marvin was way up in that new thing called the internet. He made a ridiculous website that made me giggle, he recorded songs right there on the computer, he joined The Facebook, and also? He blogged. I can’t even remember the names of his blogs anymore, but one was an advice column where he pretended to be Middle Eastern and his photo was him with a paintbrush for a beard.

It did not take off.

All of his blogs had an audience of two: his mom and me. “That was funny, hon,” one of us would say.

Marvin told me I should blog, and I blew him off 14 times until I didn’t. And in 2006, I started a stupid blog called Bye Bye, Buy (oh my god, it’s STILL THERE) because Marvin said I should. I sent it to 18 people. “That’s funny, hon,” they’d say.

One day I had 30 readers.

Then I had 100.

And now there are TENS of you, tens of you who from 2006 when I started till 2011 when Marvin and I got divorced, got attached to Marvin. My blog in those years was all Marvin, all the time. Then he left, and yesterday it occurred to me that those of you who were around back then might wonder what he’s been up to.

So now, 6,000 words later, we check in with Marvin Gardens, husband, fmr. When we left Marvin, or more accurately when he left me, he was a teacher and had a band and also, took the cats in the divorce.

Last we saw you was 2011-ish. Please give us a brief rundown of what you’ve been up to since.

I got tired of yelling at 5th graders, moved to Atlanta in 2014, and got back into doing sound. My main gig these days is working for Turner Classic Movies recording the hosted movie intros and outros, but I also work on films, TV shows, corporate events, etc.

Do you ever read Book of June nowadays?

I don’t read fake news. Seriously, I check it out when the mood strikes me. But I don’t keep up on the regular or anything.

Do you regret giving June the idea of becoming a blogger?

Non. Je ne regrette rien. And you shouldn’t regret rien either.

Do you still leave black cords in drawers?

Nope, I have a full bin of them now! But I mainly wear my blue or brown cords for nicer events.

If you had any advice for June or Edsel, what would it be?

Get a room!

What’s your favorite song and least-favorite color?

Puce.

I’m quite fond of  “Fuck If I Know” by Snuzz at the moment. We talked about it in my latest podcast.

A reader asks: How can we figure out when he’s joking and when he’s being serious on his Facebook posts? Some of them are obvious, but some I really sit and ponder.

I’m usually joking unless I’m seriously joking. But who knows if I’m being serious about that?

Current pets?

My Henry cat is 10 cat years old now. Ampersand (Anderson Cooper, fmr.) is still hiding under the couch. And Shuggie came along with my wife as a package deal. And you should see the package on that cat!

Another reader asks: Does he miss us? How’s his new life and we need a Make Marvin Do It Day at least once a month.

Not really! But I wish everyone well. I’d say every 11 years is plenty enough excitement for me. [Disclaimer from June. He kept joking about it being 11 years since we’ve seen him, because the year we last saw him was 2011, and I speak Marvin and get his jokes, but I was too exhausted to explain all that to you all, yet here I am.]

Another reader asks: Biggest reason he quit teaching…or biggest teacher horror story.

Every day was pretty much a horror story. Luckily, most of my students survived it and went on to torment a whole new team of teachers the following year. The teaching part was great. It was just the kids I could do without. I also don’t miss the drive-by shootings as the buses were loading, or the kids bringing knives to school to protect themselves from the kids packing pellet guns.

We want to know about Henry.

He’s fluffy. He’s orange. Get over it.

A reader asks: Did the second wife work out?

Sadly, no. We just celebrated our second anniversary a couple months ago.

A reader asks: What’s he doing now? Favorite June memory that is not TMI? How many songs has he written about June? Is she still inspiring his work?

I think my favorite memory is our Grand Canyon trip soon after we were married. You should have seen brave June mincing down those paths!

I never specifically wrote about June, but I’m sure it just naturally seeped into anything I happened to be writing at the time. Like a couple of these.

June has always inspired me to be my truest, most authentic self to myself. Of course, I could be lying.

So that wraps up our check-in with Marvin, and now you have a semblance of what it was like to be married to someone who never, ever gives a straight answer.

Talk to you all tomorrow, or in 11 years.

Luff,
Juan

31 thoughts on “Special guest star, Marvin Gardens

  1. Thanks for making a guest appearance, Marvin. I’m happy to hear that Henry and Anderson/Ampersand are still with you.

    I, too, understand the concept of loving to teach but not being so crazy about some students. Thirty years teaching middle school made me fearless in the face of most other challenges life has thrown my way.

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  2. The brooding ones. My mother likes to tell people how if I brought one more guy home who already had a noose around his neck when I was in my 20s, she was going to lose it.

    Sadz are sexy! They just are!

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  3. I always secretly hoped that y’all would reunite. I remember when you saw him at Chinese take-out and you fell right back into your humor mind meld. Perhaps I project a bit. My husband has been my humorous soulmate since 11th grade. That’s a long history of dia-rilla jokes. And just the fact that we met in a class called Problems of American Life. That alone means we can never split up. Anywho, I miss you Marvin. And I’m gonna go ahead and admit I miss Ned. Your break ups have aged me.

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  4. If my kids are bugging me about something and I’ve already told them “no” but they still keep at it, I have been known to say in a loud booming voice, “I HAVE SPOKEN ON THIS MATTER.” And then I giggle to myself because it still cracks me up that Marvin tried to shut you down with that.

    Lord knows I love a good sarcastic attitude, but never getting a straight answer would make me stabby.

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  5. I have to say I was just as excited to hear that the cats were ok as I was to hear from Marvin. I had it in my head that Anderson Cooper had died so that was nice to hear he is still kicking around. I saw his namesake on TV the other day and thought of the cat immediately.

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  6. It’s good to hear from Marvin. He could be hilarious at times. Can’t listen to Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me without thinking of him.

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  7. “[A]nd now you have a semblance of what it was like to be married to someone who never, ever gives a straight answer.”

    I can see how tiresome this might become. Day after day. Year after year . . .

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  8. Marvin, thank you for your guest appearance. Now that you are in Atlanta, did you enjoy our recent snowstorm.that.wasn’t? It was much better than our snowstorm.that.was five years ago.

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  9. Marvin is a very brave guy answering all the questions. Who knows, our paths might cross in Atlanta at the Sublime Doughnuts at 10th St., and Hemphill just a couple of blocks from Turner. Love this post.
    Tee

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  10. Marvin was ahead of his time with that selfie. Thanks Marvin for the update. I too am glad Atlanta has worked out.
    And thanks June for doing this. As a non-closure person, I slwa us eondrrff about ‘what ever happened to…’ everybody.

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  11. I loved every sentence of this! Nice of Marvin to indulge us with his answers. Thanks Marvin.
    Joon, I also lived the pictures!!

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  12. I loved this post!! I wasn’t around during your Marvin years. I’ve always wondered about him because you post about him from time to time.

    Is his current wife anything like you or is she completely opposite?

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  13. Oh, Marvin. You know you miss us. What could be better than a wife with tens of readers who always take her side in every disagreement?

    I would have asked “are you still fixated on plaid shirts” but I think the answer is obvious.

    Also – TCM? Weren’t we just talking about the innsies and outsies, or whatever he called them the other day and how ANNOYING they are? I guess we know who to blame now.

    Thanks for catching us up June – make a note: blog topic in 11 years… Where is Marvin Now?

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  14. I’m not sure what this says about me, but I still miss Henry. He may be one of the cutest kittens in the history of all kittens! This Marvin guest appearance was a day-maker!

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