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The Story Of How Brandon Phillips, Super Genius, Got Hitched

Brandon Phillips

March 01, 2009

For better or worse, this does not perhaps belong in Dates From Hell, because this is anything but. Quite the contrary: Brandon Phillips is the singer for Kansas City based The Architects, and this is his story. It's proof that as much as we all have "stories" to tell, every so often they turn out as good as can be imagined, plus Brandon knows how to tell a story like few others, and besides...The Architects ROCK.

When my then future-wife and I were dating, I used to call her “Babymamma”. Not that we have a child, but for me using “Babymamma” as a term of endearment was symbolic of  a commitment. A sub-marital commitment, but commitment none the less. I am a bit of a freak about planning and strategy, so when it became clear to me that the ante would have to be upped, rings exchanged and an honest woman made of my Babymamma, I set in motion a plan so grand in scope and refined in form and content that my nomination for the first ever Nobel Engagement Prize was a foregone conclusion.

            First and foremost- being an expert in the ways of pleasing women- I would have to get the jewelry angle covered. My time with the OSS during the Battle Of Britain came to be most useful as I resolved to secretly enlist the help of Babymamma’s best friend for finding out exactly what type of ring was most favored. Thereby, I could keep my matrimonial motives utterly hidden in a cloak of black-ops secrecy and retain the tactical element of surprise. Brillant? Yes, quite!

            “BFF” (her code-name) was quick to confer to me all available intelligence regarding the type of stone, cut and setting that was most desirable to my Babymamma as well as confirming that the mission’s cover was still well intact. I set about  making arrangements to procure a ring that would match the desired specifications exactly, enlisting the help of a third agent code-named “Mom” to scour department stores worldwide using  an electronic intelligence gathering device known only as “The Web”.

            With agent “Mom” following up on all gemological leads, I was now freed up to work on Phase II of my plan now known as “Operation Shicksa”. Phase II was a high-risk gambit to exploit a traditional practice that Babymamma and I had of going to see Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers every summer. Babymamma’s boss had given us two free tickets for the upcoming concert. Row A, Seats 8 & 9 were to be ground zero for the final stroke of my brilliant plan and the great revelation of both my love for Babymamma and my sheer fucking unfettered genius.

            As is often the case in the Clandestine Services, things do not always go entirely according to plan. The first sign of trouble was in my mounting nervousness which was most poignantly actualized in the week before the Tom Petty show with what you might call my “being a prick”. By the week of the show the ring had been located in a foreign city, purchased with money from a secret State Department account and delivered to me by a black-suited courier and a cadre of Swiss Guards who had been given leave from Vatican City to assist me in my mission to get hitched to my Babymamma.

            The night of the Tom Petty concert arrived and I raced home home from work to get cleaned up (as I would surely be getting more pussy tonight that any man had ever gotten) and go over the last minute details including trying to remember where I had hidden the ring. I sat on the couch and chainsmoked, while waiting for Babymamma to come home from work. My jeans were tight and the ring box made a huge denim blister on my upper thigh. Would she notice?? Would she?? My phone rang. It was Babymamma calling to tell me that she was on her way to a bar and grill to meet some of our mutual friends before the concert and that I should just come down there and meet up with her. DAMN! Operation Shicksa has wrinkled and I am left with no choice but to comply lest I raise suspicion. Blast it all!!

            I sat down next to Babymamma at a round table near the center of the room that was already full of friends and acquaintances who were ordering drinks and food and generally kvetching about the Tom Petty concert which would be opening it’s doors in matter of minutes. I ordered Nachos which I did not eat. My back was sweating and I was not talking to anyone. THEY KNOW! I HAVE BLOWN MY COVER!

            “Shut up you spineless pussyfish! They don’t know a thing.” Hissed my Id. Babymamma looked at me with some concern in her eyes. I smiled reassuringly. The check came at last and we all began to  muster ourselves to leave for the concert. I felt saved because Babymamma and I had tickets near the front that had been given to us by her boss and everyone else was scattered through the cheap seats. Once we were free of their prying eyes and insipid chatter I could finally lay bare the sweet fruits of my Machiavellian stratagem!

            To my absolute fucking horror, as we walked through the doors of the bar into the late afternoon sunlight, I overheard my own sweet Babymamma suggesting to three of our so-called friends that they should just pile into the car with us for the ride out to the ampetheatre and save money on parking. FUCK! We would have to drive these people back to their cars after what would undoubtedly be the single most romantic moment of either of our lives! There would be zero possibility of road-head!! My carefully constructed fantasy of a post-concert shag under the stars in the gravel parking lot was shot to hell. The metallic taste of adrenaline washed over my tongue like a breaker. My armpits went all swampy. I must not reveal my displeasure. For the sake of Operation Shicksa, I must stay in character and agree to drive these half-drunken, freeloading baboons up the mountainside in what was supposed to be my march to victory. “That’s fine. Sure thing. “ I said.

            The stop for dinner and drinks combined with the long lines at the gate of the ampetheatre to afford us the opportunity to miss Jackson Browne’s entire set which is something that I had not figured into the planning of Operation Shicksa, but took as a happy surprise. Despite my joy at not having to sit through 45 minutes of solo acoustic, eco-folk, I was still uncharacteristicly nervous and sweaty and generally short with both Babymamma and our entire group of friends making it quite a relief when we separated from them high up in the lawn-seating to locate our own seats down front. Alone at last! Now, unencumbered, I would bring down the hammer on Phase II of my beautiful, perfect scheme.

            “Ed and his girlfriend have the seats next to us.” Babymamma told me. I jerked my head sideways and looked at the two empty plastic seats adjacent to ours.

            “Are you fucking serious? “ I snapped- clearly before thinking about it.

            “What’s the matter with you?” asked my sweet Babymamma.

            “Nothing. I’m sorry.” I muttered while imagining Babymamma’s gregarious boss and his girlfriend singing along to every song loudly and trying to pass us a joint at what was, according to my operational plan, the very apex of post-modern romanticism and post-cold war counterintelligence. Operation Shicksa was in dire straits and I had to pull myself together or risk blowing the whole thing. I decided to stick to the plan as best I could and trust in my abilty to improvise in the unfortunate event that we were joined by Babymamma’s co-workers. The ring box still gaped like a sucking chest wound and it began to dawn on me that I had left the exact timing of the popping of the question heretofore unscheduled. I began to run through a mental list of Tom Petty songs to try and discern which song would be most conducive to a marriage proposal and most conducive to an answer in the affirmative should such a proposal be hypothetically made.

            Holy Living Fuck…Tom Petty has written and performed hundreds of songs but as I mentally screen them for content the horrible truth becomes as clear as day…Mary Jane’s Last Dance, Refugee, You Got Lucky, Don’t Come Around Here No More…Tom Petty hates women and pretty much all of his songs hate women and denigrate the very idea of love. Despair! Nausea takes hold. I am undone!

            Then just as my façade was about to shatter from the inside out, it comes to me as though from a guardian angel, “Here Comes My Girl” ! It is maybe the only song ever recorded by Tom Petty to affirm the basic principals of love, fidelity and wholesomeness…Eureka! I am delivered from ruin and disgrace! Now it would just be a waiting game between Mr. Petty and myself and sooner or later I was sure that I would break him and he would sing like a bird.

            What happened next was both exactly what I had planned and not at all what I had planned. The target (Babymamma) was in the kill-zone, the signal was given (Here Comes My Girl) and the ring was produced. Being that we were in the tenth row of a large ampetheatre, we were very close to the speakers and it was of course, very loud which I had not anticipated. I gave Babymamma the box containing the ring, gave her a moment to open it and then put my finger over her ear-hole and yelled,

“WILL YOU MARRY ME?”

“WHAT?!”

“WILL YOU MARRY ME??”

“WHAAT? WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!”

In near total exaspiration, I gestured wildly to the ring. Babymamma alternately stared hard at the ring and then at me before yelling,

“IF YOU’RE JOKING YOU’RE FUCKING DEAD!”

Operation Shicksa was chalked up mostly as a disaster of muddled strategic thinking and boondoggled execution. But whatever…I got married.