Note to readers: This column was written BEFORE a federal judge in a Los Angeles courtroom on Wednesday awarded actress-model Anna Nicole Smith close to $450 million from her late husband's estate. Honest.
Dear Anna Nicole,
Would you marry me?
I know this is sudden. You don't know me from Adam. And I never got to meet your ex-husband, who perhaps did know Adam.
But I am prepared to be the light of your life, the same way you obviously became the light of his.
This would be my first time lighting somebody's life. Honest. I've been lit a few times in my own life, but can't recall illuminating anybody else's.
You must be some bright bulb, though, baby. Because for even a few months of your charming company, a guy would have to be crazy if he didn't have the willpower to leave everything he's got for you.
Fourteen months. That was the entire length of your marriage to J. Howard Marshall II, the ol' Texas oil fossil.
Let's see, J. Howard was just about to turn 90 when you two got hitched in Houston on June 27, 1994, ain't that right? How did he propose? Did he get down on one knee? Could he stand back up? Did you promise to love, honor and cherish him, till next August do you part? Did you say, "I do?" Could he hear you when you said it? Where did you honeymoon? Leisure World?
Forgive me, Anna Nicole.
(Or do you prefer Anna? Or do you prefer Vickie Lynn, which is the other name you're known by, Vickie Lynn Marshall? Just tell me what to call you. Sugar plum, sweetie pie, lamb chop, anything you like.)
I can't seem to keep from making smart-alecky remarks about your marriage, my future beloved. But I'm just jealous of J. Howard's having won your heart. Honest. That enchanted night he first got to see you dance at Gigi's topless joint, how his heart (or his pacemaker) must have skipped a beat.
Why, it must have been like when Rhett first saw Scarlett, or when Heathcliff first saw Cathy, or when Roger Rabbit first saw Jessica. How radiant you must have looked, dancing around that fire pole. No wonder even J. Howard Marshall III testified in court that Daddy called you "the light of my life." I've seen torches and I've seen TapLights, baby, but take it from me. You're a floor lamp.
So, let's talk about us.
First, let me assure you that it doesn't matter where you danced the hoochie-coochie, or how you posed for Playboy, or that you did something really embarrassing, which was to make a "Naked Gun" movie with Leslie Nielsen. I would be perfectly willing to do two of these three things myself.
Furthermore, I can assure you, Anna Nicole, honey bunny, that I have absolutely no idea how your court cases are going to turn out. Honest. You could be broke. Flat busted. I want you for you, pumpkin. It won't mean a thing if a judge gives you, oh, $449,754,134 of your husband's 2 billion bucks or 50 cents. We'll live on love, snookums.
Now, a few drawbacks:
I have to acknowledge that you're a woman of 32 now. You're older, grayer, a little longer in the tooth. I don't know how many good years you've got left, frankly. So it's imperative that we not waste any more valuable time. Let's enjoy our months together while you still can. Life is precious, precious.
Also--and I admit this could be a problem--I'm not aware if you've married anybody else since your old old man died. And you might not know my situation either. But don't you go worrying your pretty head about it. These small details can be worked out. Let's just face the music and dance.
All I care about is, I am counting the days until we can become Mr. and Mrs. Anna Nicole Smith.
Now I can't promise to be the man your late husband was. He was a self-made man. I'm in newspapers, so I haven't gotten around to making anything yet. He had more oil than Jed Clampett. My car's two quarts low. He gave you a 22-carat diamond. I can't give you anything but love, baby.
But what's mine is yours, and what's yours is mine. That's what love is all about.
So, unless you're still in mourning, give me a buzz. We won't need a pre-nup. I'll stay by your side always, for richer or poorer. Because you're the one for me, exactly like ol' J. Howard Marshall II was the one for you. I just want to inherit your love.
And if I should die first, well, whatever you get out of our marriage, believe me, baby, you're worth it.
Mike Downey's column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Write to: Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org