Five years after my wife, Bridgid, and I were married, we received our final wedding gift -- an ice-cream maker. In an attempt to cover procrastination with humor, the friend who sent it included a note: "I wanted to make sure the marriage would last."

Bridgid wasn't amused, but she thought the present deserved a thank-you note anyway, which she dutifully sent five years later. Her note read: "I wanted to be sure the ice-cream maker would last."