Talk Back: Love and marriage — Lansing style

Recovered from Halloween? Neither have we. If 8-foot-tall scarecrows with gray hoodies pulled over their jack-o’-lantern heads and looking for all the world like they’re ready to hop aboard a broomstick and dive-bomb the local sheriff while flying wildly about the jail — it happened in “Escape to Witch Mountain” – aren’t enough to give you nightmares for life, just wait till they start channeling Helen Reddy by hollering, “I am Lewis; hear me roar” at passers-by at the local store.

It's enough to drive even the bravest soul straight to the loony bin.

Yet folks just about everywhere were doing the Black Friday mad dash to be the first to plunk down 180 smackers for those wacky contraptions, leaving them with barely enough to celebrate this month’s most important holiday, which coincidentally happens to be today.

"Talk Back" with Doug Spade and Mike Clement is heard from 9 a.m. to noon on
"Talk Back" with Doug Spade and Mike Clement is heard from 9 a.m. to noon on

National Deviled Egg Day.

Yes, after dropping a cool $12.2 billion on Halloween this year — and blowing last year’s record spending total out of the water — a dozen eggs, a dollop of mustard, and a sprinkling of parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme has come today is about all anyone can afford during this month of giving thanks. Think we’re kidding? Do the math. Less than $2 on a good day for the mother and child reunion — sans the mother — vs. 70 bucks or so for turkey and all the trimmings. It’s an easy decision. Particularly if you live in Michigan.

And are also making wedding plans.

Bad enough that today’s average “I do” will set you back somewhere north of 30 grand — including $5,500 for engagement and wedding rings, $1,900 for the dress, $8,000 plus for venue and band, and about the same for food and drink because who has fun at a wedding unless they’re soused out of their gourds — but now Michigan lawmakers are getting into the act. And you know what that means, don’t you?

Hide your wallet.

For more than 60 years, getting the obligatory marriage license has been a pretty simple three-step process. The betrothed stroll hand-in-hand into the local clerk’s office, wilt under the baleful glare of the Douglas C. Neidermeyer behind the counter, and then comply with the snarling order to “Give me 20.” Only to find out after the fact he was talking about folding money with Andrew Jackson’s picture on it. Not a push-up regimen in the stables.

Clerks can be mean like that, you know.

But lately, they’ve become even more persnickety. Between the cost of paper going through the roof and spending hours upon hours crossing the I’s and dotting the T’s on each application, the complicated data entry and printing processes that are involved, making and filing certified copies, and telling the couple to come back three days later — you can’t have them tying the knot on a whim, you see — they’re all going cuckoo for cocoa puffs.

And demanding licenses be hiked to 50 bucks.

Compared to nearby states, what Michigan charges is indeed a bargain. Had it kept pace with inflation, it would be at least $150 by now. But the real problem is that $15 of the current amount — instead of staying in the clerk’s office where it belongs — goes to circuit court to pay for family counseling services. Fixing that little misappropriation fiasco is what lawmakers ought to be doing. Not leaving those poor couples short the $500 needed for the time-honored tradition that’ll guarantee a lifetime of wedded bliss. The one renowned nuptials planner Marie Antoinette invented 235 years ago.

Let ‘em smash cake.

The Chapel of Love? More like the Wedding Bell Blues.

Or D-I-V-O-R-C-E.

— Talk Back with Doug Spade and Mike Clement is heard every Saturday morning from 9 a.m.-noon Eastern Time at, Facebook Live and

This article originally appeared on The Holland Sentinel: Talk Back: Love and marriage — Lansing style