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The Human Touch

July 22, 1934
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

So many readers of this column have expressed interest and curiosity in the story of the young Jewish couple who were married in Scarsdale, N. Y., by a “reverend” of unknown, but not unsuspected, denomination, that I have contrived, at enormous trouble and expense, to obtain material for a postscript, in the effort to quench, if not to sate, the curiosity which I excited by the tale of a week ago Thursday. If you are one of those who reads the Jewish Daily Bulletin only on Sunday let this be a lesson to you, and read it during the week, too. (Advt.)

Everybody knows, or should know, that after a couple is married, they go off on a honeymoon, which may last a month or more or only a week-end, or even less. And usually, so the custom goes, they go off to some recreation place, at the seashore, or to a country farm, or, if they’re country folk, to an hotel in the city, or maybe a suburban roadhouse. In any event, even if they’ve already furnished a nest or nook of their own, they stay away from it—at least for the first night.

On the celebrated Saturday afternoon on which the young man finally reached the point of resignation at which he said something like: “What d’ya say kid; let’s get married?” and she had said “O. K.,” or maybe simply “Oke”—which is one syllable less, unless some one at the print shop butts in and edits this copy—well, on that memorable Saturday afternoon on which our (practically) engaged couple decided to get hitched, they decided also to spend their first wedding night at some country place far from their usual haunts. It has been done. Some people do it after a lot of rice has been thrown and the organ has played the Wedding March from Lohengrin, and after the father has given away the bride and vast sums have been spent on gowns and publicity and wedding breakfasts, but this couple of whom I am writing, being casual members of a casual generation, decided to dispense with all that.


They were sitting in a run-down automobile when they decided to get married and, co-incidentally, spend the night together at some country place far from their customary resting place.

But they found, on investigating the flaps in the car, that they didn’t have a toothbrush between them. That wasn’t so important, after all, so much as the lack of a piece of luggage. They had not even an overnight bag between them. They did, however, have a bottle of very excellent liquor, but liquor. It might even have been a liqueur. But that wasn’t anything like an overnight bag, it was something to put into an overnight bag. So they dropped in at a relative’s and borrowed a large satchel and put the bottle within. But it rattled and, besides, there were suspicious gurglings. They wrapped the bottle in a towel, but towel and bottle rattled around together. What to do? What to do? The young groom—you must allow for a long pause at this point, during which they drove through the towns of Westchester on the Saturday afternoon of which I wrote a week ago last Thursday looking for some one qualified to perform a wedding ceremony—was equal to all emergencies.

Before bride and groom registered as man and wife at the country place for their first evening together, the young man had wrenched loose the upholstered seat from his car, and stuffed it into the satchel, thus stifling effectually the gurglings and the rattlings of the swathed liquor bottle, and thus this couple appeared before a desk clerk for the first time in their lives as man and wife. And they spent that first night without even a toothbrush between them. All of which, boys and girls, should be interpreted as a salutary lesson to young men and women who make a great fuss about wearing the right gloves and the right shoes and having a sufficiency of toilet articles and snacks of candy, and changes and changes of linen and lots of loose change and a couple of check books before they go off to get married.

If my readers are interested in the married life of this pair and will tell me so I will continue to go to my usual trouble and expense to keep in touch with the adventures and misadventures of this newly married couple the members of which, if they are full of anything, are not full of illusions about each other.


On the morning of the day on which I write this I awoke with so terrific a crick in the neck that I could honestly envy the savage with no face to wash, no teeth to brush, no beard to shave, no shoelaces to tie, no collar to button and no tie to secure and, above all, no distant place of work to which to travel, no columns to write and no general appearance to keep up.

In the effort to mitigate the ordeal of presenting myself to the world at large, I asked the lady of the house whether I could be spared the torture of shaving and she said, “No, Harry, you’ve got too heavy a growth,” and so I shaved, as I usually do when I’m told it’s necessary.

And as I took the razor over its daily course, but so gingerly this time, it seemed to me so great a pity that I could not grow a beard. I recalled that only the other day, the counter man at the drug store, in acknowledging my order for a cup of coffee, had said, “O.K., Doc,” clean-shaven as I was, and am. At the delicatessen store, when I ordered ten cents worth of potato salad, it had been the same, “All right, Doc,” and I reminisced further that whenever I enter the grocery store, on however slight a mission, there is an acceleration in the grocer’s speed to fill the orders of the preceding customer in order that I may be served the more quickly.

I know, in a general way and not meaning offense to any individual in particular, that people grow beards to achieve importance and achieve only the insignificance they had before they grew beards. Now if I, beardless as I am, am designated as “Doc” by the hoi polloi, then why not grow a beard and achieve the significance which I already seem to have—except, of course, when it comes to getting a lot of credit at the bank.

But I think of a beard only when I have to shave and don’t like to. The rest of the day I don’t really give it a thought.

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