#135 The Man Who Married a Health Insurance Policy

by Paul E. Dickey

John loved JoAnn. JoAnn loved John, but JoAnn also loved Randy. Randy loved Sue and Sue, John. So they married as a quartet. Marriage was not just for couples. Their neighbor Henry however was a curmudgeon. He wondered how their health insurance worked. Was JoAnn covered under Randy’s policy or John’s? If John got laid off, was he covered by Sue’s? He figured something was immoral. He thought about asking but they might think he was kinky.

Henry had no policy, no working wife, and couldn’t work himself. He had logged jail time for selling home and auto insurance—the kind if you try to collect, the home office cancels you. This was white-collar crime then. Today no one expects differently. A guy at the laundromat said his egomaniac brother had married himself. The fellow himself married his driver’s license to prevent a judge from separating them if he came up on D.U.I. charges.

Henry drafted his policy and strutted into the courthouse. The ladies said the mayor had married his television ads. Yet they wanted him first to consider his options. Had he met the nice widow in Budgeting? She goes to church, doesn’t smoke, isn’t really that obese. He laughed. A young Henry had bought options from a stockbroker. His secretary told Henry he would retire rich in Florida. Henry thought the “he” meant himself. Now Henry had his own policy—to love him without pre-existing conditions. His fingers caressed the pages. She was a thing of beauty.

Paul Dickey's poems demonstrate perfectly how irony and wit can serve as little bits of salvation in a world that may not be entirely against us, but isn't much for us, either. The poems in They Say This Is How Death Came into the World are full of sly twists and turns, surprising nuances, and witty insights. At once profound and mischievous, wicked and accurate, serious and comic, they offer a reflection of reality that appears at first glance to be a fun-house mirror. Whether it's a poem about (or around) Mark Rothko's painting Yellow Band or a prose poem about "Mowing the Lawn" that pauses with Husserl's phenomenology, Dickey's poetry is grounded in a recognition that, to quote Sherwood Anderson, "each truth [is] a composite of a great many vague thoughts," all equally beautiful and disturbing, somber and happy.

Click on the cover to visit the book's Amazon page.


lisafobia said...

loved the story, the theme and the sarcasm!

TriciaSankey said...

entertaining and original!