As of today, Linette and I have been married 20 years

On Saturday, October 2, 1999, Linette and I were married. Here, to mark the occasion, is a little something I wrote a while back, slightly updated to reflect that yet another year has passed.

Twenty years ago today, after seven years of living with one another in sin, I married my friend and collaborator Linette Lao. Sadly, as it took place in an age before smartphones, little evidence of this wondrous and magical event exists today. We are fortunate, however, in that we do have this one image, which was taken by my old high school friend, Matt Krizowsky. My memory isn’t so sharp, but, according to Matt, it was taken after leaving the bar in Plymouth, where we’d gone immediately after getting married at a small historic chapel in Northville. We were apparently on our way to the reception, which was at a Chinese restaurant that I can’t remember the name of. Matt, who’d shared the “best man” duties with our mutual friend, Dan Richardson, was riding in the back seat when we pulled in to get gas. And, when he heard Linette say that she intended to pump the gas, he got out to take a photo. I don’t remember it, but, according to Matt, people waiting at the intersection were honking their horns enthusiastically the whole time that she was pumping.


As for the truck in the photo – an old Chevy Blazer – it’s no longer with us. According to my father, who helped me acquire it, it was assembled by members of a high school auto shop class in rural Kentucky from the parts of several totaled vehicles. And, if you were ever within earshot of it, you certainly got that sense. It was like it was at war with itself. There was always a chorus of grinding and clanking… Riding in it, I always thought, was like being inside the body of a patient rejecting multiple transplants simultaneously… But Linette, being the awesome and charitable human being she is, married me anyway.

There was no diamond ring… I’d just recently been laid off from my job at a startup company in Los Angeles. And all I really had to my name was this truck built from scraps, a degree in American Studies from the University of Michigan, a pretty good work ethic, and a sense of humor that seemed to resonate reasonably well with zine readers… Things eventually fell into place for us though, as evidenced by the following two photos.

The first was taken by our friend Leisa Thompson about six years ago, when Arlo was just a baby. And the second was taken a few springs back, when our friend Doug Coombe, who had been hired to take my picture outside the local all-nude strip club for an article somewhere, decided to keep shooting as Linette and the kids just happened to come walking by.


For what it’s worth, I’m not covering their eyes here because I’m ashamed of what our kids look like. Their eyes aren’t incredibly ugly or anything. And I wouldn’t really care if they were. I just decided several years ago that, barring some kind of blogging emergency, I would’t post photos of them here. Too many bloggers, I think, cash in on the cuteness of their kids, and I didn’t want to be like that. [I’d rather my success was centered around my own cuteness.] I didn’t want to have either Clementine or Arlo look back in years to come and accuse me of exploiting them, like some kind of Mama June like character. And, more importantly, given how pervasive surveillance culture is in the world today, I thought they deserved to have at least a few years of something approaching privacy, before the floodgates opened for them. With all of that said, though, you’ll just have to trust me when I tell you that, if you were to see either of these photos without the grey bars obscuring the identities of Arlo and Clementine, you’d say, “Damn, that’s a really handsome family.”


A lot of people that I meet, who claim to be familiar with this site, seem to think that I share a lot of personal information here. The truth in, however, I don’t. Sure, I may post the occasional photo of myself, or mention that I’d just gone somewhere or done something with my family, but, really, if you think about it, I don’t get into too much detail when it comes to things that really matter. I don’t, as a rule, talk about my relationship with Linette, my professional life, or, for the most part, the kids. Sure, I may pass along a funny quote from Arlo or Clementine here or there, along with an out-of-focus photograph, but that’s about it… Well, I’m going to make a little bit of an exception right now, seeing as how Linette and I are celebrating our 20th anniversary, and share a few thoughts.

I’m pretty damn lucky to have these three people, who you can kind of see in the photos above, in my life. I knew, when I married Linette, that we’d continue to do interesting things, and make a decent life together, but I had no idea just what was in store for us as I stood there at the front of that chapel in Northville twenty years ago, watching her and her father walk down the aisle toward me. I guess I’d considered the possibility, in the abstract, that we might one day have kids, and what that might entail, but it’s not the kind of thing that you can really prepare for. Thankfully, it turned out that we were well suited for each other, and adequately equipped to work through whatever issues have arisen so far. It hasn’t always been easy, especially once the screaming kids were thrown into the mix, but, when it comes to the important stuff, we’ve always found a way to keep everything together and moving in the right direction.

Who would have thought that a relationship that started at Cross Street Station, the since condemned Ypsilanti dive bar across from the EMU campus, might still be going strong all these years later? The odds would have to be infinitesimal, right? Well, somehow we’ve not only made it work for over 25 years now, if you count the years before we became “husband and wife” before the eyes of god, but we’ve done it in such a way that we’ve been able to accomplish more than either one of us ever could have alone. We’ve not only started raising two bright, funny, inquisitive kids, but we’ve also been able to launch several ventures in the process, and still find the time to remain engaged in our community, which is what we’d hoped for when, living in California, we first started talking about the possibility of moving back and putting down roots in this community where we’d first met.

And, really, what else could you want from life? We’re happy, we’ve got healthy, smart kids, and we feel as though we’re where we’re supposed to be. Yeah, maybe it would have been nice if I’d gotten that Hollywood writing job when we were living in LA, but I doubt the outcome would have been any better in the long run. When it comes to the stuff that really matters, I don’t think either of us could have asked for a better outcome. We’ve managed to create a supportive, collaborative relationship that’s allowed us to bring a few pretty decent kids into the world, and create stuff in a community that we truly care about. Everyone should be so lucky.

[If you’re still looking for more, I posted something not too long ago about our first date, which took place here in Ypsi back in 1992, on my 25th birthday.]

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  1. EOS
    Posted October 2, 2019 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Happy Anniversary!

  2. John Brown
    Posted October 3, 2019 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    Congrats! Cross Street Station was prominent in the Browns courtship too.

  3. Oliva
    Posted October 3, 2019 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    “And, really, what else could you want from life?” Love and mighty gladness. Thanks for catapulting my heart up and over the moon.

  4. Gene
    Posted October 3, 2019 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Love! Keep on pumping!

  5. dogmatic dolt
    Posted October 3, 2019 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Aloha Mark, and happy anniversary to you and Linette. If I were you, I would stop referring to those golden days with Linette before wedlock as, “living with one another in sin”. Sin is a very bad state to be in, and I suspect those were some of the best days of your young life.
    Webster says this about Sin; : an offense against religious or moral law
    b : an action that is or is felt to be highly reprehensible
    c : an often serious shortcoming : fault
    2a : transgression of the law of God
    b : a vitiated state of human nature in which the self is estranged from God

    I lived with my future wife for nearly four years before we signed our contract. During that entire time I did not feel like I was violating any religious or moral law, and never felt it to be “highly reprehensible” or a fault–if God didn’t like it, well screw him, he never did anything for me, and which God anyway–Webster let his monothesim get the better of him.
    35 years latter it allows my wife and I to have two anniversaries a year. Our wedding (coming up in November number 31 on its way) and the first time we had sex together (after a George Thorogood and the Destroyer concert at Rackham in March).

  6. Eel
    Posted October 3, 2019 at 9:26 am | Permalink


    Your comment would have been better if it had ended with, “….during a George Thorogood and the Destroyers concert at Rackham”.

  7. dogmatic dolt
    Posted October 3, 2019 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Aloha Eel, I gave up public sex after making love on the National Mall July 4th. 1976. There were like a half a million there to watch–could never top that.

  8. Satan
    Posted October 5, 2019 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    I am very sentimental about those seven years Mark, Linette and I spent in sinful bliss. Don’t take that away from me, DD.

  9. iRobert
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 11:14 am | Permalink


  10. iRobert
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    Get it?


    Score…as in 20. Get it?

    Oh, never mind.

  11. Posted October 12, 2019 at 9:34 pm | Permalink


  12. Posted May 2, 2020 at 5:17 am | Permalink

    Here’s a heartwarming scene from the Mark & Linette movie I’m working on. It’s unauthorized, so we’ve changed some details to avoid a lawsuit. We spell Linette with a “y”

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